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Issue Date: June 2009

Bug City

Aug. 8 | Cleveland Metroparks Garfield Park Nature Center
11 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Matt Beargie
There's nothing quite like a sizzling side of sautéed mealworms, right? Even if chowing down on insects isn’t your idea of a good time, there’s plenty left for you and the kids to explore as the Cleveland Metroparks transforms its Garfield Park Nature Center into Bug City on Aug. 8. But first, may we entice you with a little taste from the menu?

“We have a chef from Michigan who comes down to cook the bugs,” says the Cleveland Metroparks’ Dan Crandall. “He makes sautéed mealworms, breakfast bug-ritos, chocolate-chirp cookies and buggy brownies.”

More than 5,000 people usually attend this annual event, and Crandall says about 1,000 sample bites from the creepy-crawly cuisine. That means at least 80 percent of visitors opt to take in the event using their other senses, and there’s plenty to enjoy.

Displays will feature bugs native to Ohio and as far away as Africa, and a separate area will focus on the lives of bees and butterflies. For those who’d like to get a glimpse of the extra-creepy, Bug City also offers close-up encounters with tarantulas, Madagascar cockroaches and millipedes.

Demonstrations throughout the day teach how bugs benefit home gardens, and for a hands-on approach, the Bug City bug hunt allows visitors to catch bugs in nets and learn about them from Garfield Park naturalists.

There’s even bug-themed entertainment, including a musician who recorded an entire album about bugs, bingo and puppet shows.

“It’s a crazy event that’s been going on for years,” Crandall says. “And people love it."

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