The Portland Insectarium

Sure, Portland is known for having OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) dominate the science-centric exhibits, events, and lectures of the city, but there are a few other museums hidden away that also spotlight the weird and the wonderful. One bizarre and delightful example: The Portland Insectarium.

The project is the work of two friends and former Portland State University classmates, and it’s a deep dive into the crawly and sometimes creepy world of bugs, explored through the lenses of culture, nature, art, and science. The Insectarium has a diverse collection of insects both alive and persevered, including beetles, scorpions, tarantulas, butterflies, centipedes, and more.

Jessica Szabo and Molly Radany originally hoped to create a nomadic kind of a bug museum hosted inside a vintage RV, but when their 1976 Dodge Sportsman ran into unsolvable mechanical issues, they turned the Portland Insectarium into a pop-up natural history experience.

It’s a playful alternative to mainstream museum and science outreach initiates, in that it’s a transient project reaching communities where they’re at, rather than being housed in a long-established center. And on top of educational efforts, the Portland Insectarium also hosts clever pop-up events such as nature walks, bug hunts, and drink-and-draw events. Folks can also book the Portland Insectarium for private events, classroom visits, and parties.

Check out their website for upcoming pop-up events, and to book a visit!

Rates for private events are as follow:

  • $150 first hour for up to 15 people, then $50/hour for each additional hour
  • Extra $2/hour for each additional person past 15
  • Transportation costs if outside of Portland, OR

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