Toms River, New Jersey
Calling itself an "insect learning center" and "the bugseum of New Jersey," this insect-themed attraction is one of several that have been opened by exterminating companies across the country. Although less homespun than cross-river rival Insectarium, this one has the best art design of all. Hand-painted murals of giant bugs fill the walls, and professional-caliber big bug models enliven many of the exhibits, for the scrutiny of the studious or just to gross out potential extermination customers.
Mostly this is a place for kids, with a furry crawl-through "Mud Tube" that allows them to be a termite, and insects assigned categories such as "Six-Armed Bandits," and "Top Cops." "Mass Murderers" are oversized models of a fly, mosquito, and tick -- which have transmitted diseases fatal to humans -- and are displayed in "solitary confinement" within fake cages.
Older bug enthusiasts can enjoy the indoor glass-sided beehive, and case after case of beetles, moths, and butterflies impaled on pins. A wall-mounted display of giant insect heads is simply titled "Mouthparts." One case, filled with thousands of black rubber cockroaches, illustrates insect fertility.
"Live Touching Stations" scattered throughout allow you handle non-deadly furry spiders and scorpions; handy-wipes are provided, although it isn't clear if they're for the benefit of you or the bug.
At the end of the attraction, a table of handouts warn of the perils of West Nile Virus and invite you to sign up for a free termite inspection.