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Headline: Zoo brings Auckland Bug Lab for Christmas

Published Monday 27 November 2017

The blockbuster science exhibition Bug Lab, created by New Zealand’s world-famous museum Te Papa and the Academy Award© winning Weta Workshop, opens at Auckland Zoo on 20 December for a special season.

This will be Bug Lab’s first showing in Auckland City, only its second hosting in New Zealand following its inaugural run at Te Papa last December, and the final opportunity to see it here in Aotearoa before it tours overseas.

“Auckland Zoo is delighted and proud to be working with world-leading creators Te Papa and Weta Workshop to bring this amazing wildlife exhibition to Auckland,” says Auckland Zoo’s Head of Visitor Experiences, Phil McGowan.

“In just four months the Zoo has created a wonderful 1000sm five-domed undercover multi-purpose exhibition space. It’s the perfect venue for Bug Lab – a spectacularly immersive and interactive experience. It will feature giant scale bug models that give people of all ages the opportunity to gain an extraordinary bugs-eye view of the world and learn about their weird and wonderfully clever ways.”  

Te Papa’s Chief Executive, Geraint Martin is thrilled more New Zealanders will get to experience this blockbuster exhibition.

“Visitors can expect a high impact, hands-on exhibition which is great fun.  From magical and colourful environments to up-close encounters this is a great way to learn and explore the world of bugs and their amazing science,” says Mr Martin.

Co-creator Richard Taylor, Creative Director at Weta Workshop, says: “Bugs are incredible!  Humans are already adapting bug technology: from drones inspired by the humble housefly, to spider venom being used to treat cancer.  Bug Lab is an insight into their incredible genius.” 

Along with the exhibition, Auckland Zoo will be celebrating bugs, their super powers and starring roles in nature across the Zoo with specialist keepers giving visitors the opportunity to get up-close and personal with some live bugs.

“Look forward to encountering everything from our unique endemic wētā and stick insects, to praying mantis, giant centipedes, spiders and more,” says the Zoo’s curator of Ectotherms & Birds, Richard Gibson.

Over summer (Fridays, 12 January – 23 March, 6pm – 9pm) the Zoo will also be offering Bug Lab Lates (R18) – an opportunity for adults to see the exhibition and also enjoy live entertainment and a diverse offering of urban street food in its entry plaza. This will include the Zoo’s own Wētāpunga Café offering foodies the opportunity to treat their taste buds to some of nature’s greatest (and most sustainable) super foods. On the menu will be everything from award-winning protein-packed Otago locusts (‘sky prawns’) and meal worms to other edible (and sweet) treats featuring bug or bug-derived ingredients.

In addition, Zoo Lates (Thursdays from 1 February – 22 March, 5pm – 8pm) are an opportunity for families to take in Bug Lab and an evening Zoo visit.

Tickets to Bug Lab go on sale today (27 November). Bug Lab-only or Bug Lab/Zoo visit combo tickets available. To book online and view all prices, visit

Bug Lab at Auckland Zoo is generously supported by Auckland Co-op, Camel Space, Mazda New Zealand, NZME, QMS and Val Morgan.