Two giant atlas beetles are ready for battle at the Depot. Beginning Saturday in the Great Hall, the Duluth arts and history center is hosting a six-week exhibit devoted to insects. The animatronic giant insects came to Duluth this week, courtesy of Kokoro Exhibits out of California. Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com

By Duluth News Tribune

The leadership of Duluth’s Depot hopes it has another Jurassic-sized event on its hands. Only this time, it won’t be dinosaurs but bugs. Big bugs with moving parts.

Beginning Saturday in the Great Hall, the Depot will host a six-week exhibit devoted to insects.

“We’ll have six giant insects โ€” each one the size of a compact car,” said Ken Buehler, executive director of the Depot. “It’s a national traveling exhibit that’s been all over the country.”

A giant swallowtail caterpillar is on display at the Duluth Depot. Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com

The animatronic giant insects came to Duluth this week, courtesy of Kokoro Exhibits out of California. For visitors, the exhibit will come with standard Depot admission. Additionally, several classrooms from throughout the Northland already have arranged to visit, Buehler said.

The roster of giant bugs includes a cicada, two fighting Atlas beetles, a caterpillar, a praying mantis and a dragonfly.

A giant praying mantis is on display at Duluth’s Depot on Thursday. Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com

“It’s really neat and the appeal is these giant insects move,” Buehler said. “It’s going to be very educational. The world of insects is such that there’s more of them than us. We may find mosquitoes annoying, but bats find them sustaining. The exhibit shows the importance of insects to our ecosystem.”

Buehler also hopes it will be a boon at the Depot gate. In 1992, the Depot drew a then-record 136,000 visitors, largely due to a dinosaur exhibit similar to what visitors will see with the insects.

A giant locus grasshopper sits on display at the Depot. Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com

Kiyo Yanagihashi of Los Angeles adjust the antennae on the head of a bee at the Depot on Thursday afternoon. The bee head on display is 200 times life size. Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com

Well-known for its train museum, the Depot’s dinosaur exhibit was finally surpassed in 2016 by the popularity of an exact replica of the President Lincoln funeral car.

“Dinosaurs were the benchmark until the Lincoln funeral car,” Buehler said. “This is our next big swing at that kind of exhibit.”

The giant insect exhibit will be on display through April 15. Find more information about the Depot, including hours and admission prices, at www.duluthdepot.org.

A mosquito head that is 600 times life size is on display Thursday. Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com

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