New Orleans

We'll be honest: if you're not a fan of bugs and creepy-crawlies, you may be happier elsewhere, because at this lively museum, you'll do more than stare at insects: you'll listen to them, touch them and, if you dare, even taste them. It's a multisensory adventure that’s especially fun for kids. Our favorite exhibit? The Japanese-inspired Butterfly Garden, a tranquil slice of Zen pathways where clouds of butterflies hover over pools of koi fish.

Adventurous visitors can munch on 'chocolate-chirp cookies' (topped with crickets) or mango chutney with waxworms in the Bug Appetit room. The Louisiana Swamp Gallery and Insects of New Orleans display highlight regional creepy-crawlies. The latter exhibit examines yellow fever, a mosquito-borne virus that killed more than 40,000 people in the city between 1805 and 1905. Other fascinating exhibits include the mesmerizing leaf-cutter ants, toiling daily for their queen and for your viewing enjoyment.

The museum is located inside the carriageway of the city’s historic US Custom House. Construction of the building began in 1848, but it took 33 years and nine architects to complete it. Confederate soldiers were imprisoned on the site when Union forces occupied New Orleans during the Civil War. Today, because it is a federal building, visitors’ bags will be searched.

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