Goliaths of the insect world

Giant stick insects and double helix slides are just a few of the latest additions to the Otago Museum's $2.5 million revamp of the former Discovery World Tropical Forest which will open next month.

The public will be let in the doors of the Tuhura Otago Community Trust Science Centre on December 16 after four years of planning and five months of construction.

It will include more than 45 new "science interactives'' and a refreshed Tropical Forest butterfly house.

Otago Museum living environments communicator Eden Gray becomes familiar with the Tropical Forest...
Otago Museum living environments communicator Eden Gray becomes familiar with the Tropical Forest's new Goliath stick insects. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
The digitally interactive Beautiful Science Gallery and Perpetual Guardian Planetarium, both of which were both completed in December 2015 during stage one of the project, will become part of the centre.

Tuhura Science Centre manager Sam Botting said staff were "radiating with passion'' and this would be reflected in the experience visitors could expect.

The Tropical Forest would house more than 1000 exotic butterflies and a variety of other species including tarantulas, terrapins and birds.

Its newest residents were four female Goliath stick insects, native to northern Australia, which arrived last week from Wellington Zoo.

Museum living environments communicator Eden Gray said the creatures could grow up to 30cm long and could still reproduce in the absence of a male.

They would be mostly held in a glass enclosure, but the museum would hopefully get them out for visitor interactions, she said.

Museum project manager Margot Deveraux said the new centre was "starting to really come to life''.

"With the last of the [German made] Huttinger interactives currently being installed, we can finally see what was imagined in the earlier stages of planning.''


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