The Art and Science of Arachnids exhibit is now at the Swaner EcoCenter giving locals and visitors the opportunity to learn more about and maybe even overcome their fear of spiders.
The exhibit is here through December 9. Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter Executive Director Nell Larson introduces the exhibit.
“It’s not meant to be creepy or scary. It looks at all different aspects of arachnids. Arachnids, which are primarily spiders but also things like scorpions or vinegaroons, actually have a really long history with people. There’s a lot of folk lore and story telling about them. They make some amazing appearances in our popular culture. The exhibit also looks at some of the films that these species have been featured in. That’s in addition to of course the science piece so learn about what an arachnid is, where they live, some of the cool features they have and most interestingly—I think—see 100 live arachnids from all around the world.”
The exhibit features the spiders doubly enclosed so that patrons can enjoy the spiders from a comfortable distance.
“They’re each in a terrarium and then the terrariums are in what we call these cubes essentially self-enclosed rooms, so you’re looking at them through a thick layer of plexiglass. One of the things that I think is so interesting that I’ve learned from this exhibit is that spiders create seven different kinds of silk. Each of those different kinds of silk comes from a different gland. Silk for a web is different from silk for transportation or for protecting eggs or building a nest. They’re so much more complex than I think most of us think.”
Larson says the exhibit also has some arachnids common to the region.
“In the exhibit there are a few that live here in the southwest that are featured. There’s the desert hairy scorpion, the new river tarantula, the Arizona blonde tarantula and then also a vinegaroon. You can see all of these, but you also asked about deadly spiders here in this area we don’t have those in the exhibit. The recluses, like the brown recluse and then the black widow. Each of those have very characteristic markings on their back. So you can learn a little bit about what to look for there as well.
The exhibit also has something for younger kids as well.
“There’s kind of an interactive play area which is great for families and kids. There’s opportunity for kids to weave their own spider-web underneath this 12-foot spider arachnid. There’s a play table, kind of like a lab, and an opportunity to build your own arachnid from the different body parts and kind of customize your own. The exhibit is also available to listen to and to read in both English and Spanish. If that’s something that you would prefer to do rather than reading lots of text we have an app available you can look at it on your phone or you can check out an iPad at the front desk.”
Larson also says they have a few free days for locals, including November 3rd and December 5th for more info you can visit Swaner Eco Center dot org.