By Sarah Thomas
“Is that a real spider?” These words were heard over and over last weekend at Explorit Science Center’s Spider Spectacular. It was a weekend all about the itsy bitsy spiders, and the not so itsy bitsy tarantulas.
Twenty different live species were on display, many on loan from the Bohart Museum of Entomology, including native California tarantulas, common garden and house spiders and a Brazilian salmon pink birdeater tarantula — one of the largest tarantulas in the world!
Families from all over the Davis-Sacramento region learned about the many different kinds of webs spiders make, the way they eat and what makes spiders so unique and important to our ecosystem. The exhibit featured many take-home projects for children of all ages including a spaghetti spider web, handprint spider and an edible (anatomically correct) spider.
The Spider Spectacular weekends are just one part of Explorit’s new Community Science Project. Explorit hopes to research spiders in Yolo County by enlisting the public and bringing an awareness and interest of spiders to the community. In addition to the spider exhibit, the project includes attitude surveys, home experiments and a website for posting spider sightings. Learn more at www.explorit.org/csp.
Explorit would like to thank the many sponsors and volunteers who helped make the first Spider Spectacular a huge success. Woodstock’s Pizza, Trader Joe’s and the Russell Boulevard Starbucks all generously donated supplies, while Davis Waste Removal, Alan and Madeline Brattesani and Novozymes Inc. are sponsors of the Community Science Project.
Local artist Damian Patterson donated a spider drawing, and we couldn’t have done it without the support of volunteers from the UC Davis Entomology Club, the Bohart Museum and our dedicated Summer Science camp volunteers.
Thank you to all who attended the Spider Spectacular exhibit. If you missed it last weekend, Explorit will host the Spider Spectacular again from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 4-5, at 3141 Fifth St. Admission is $5 general and free for Explorit members and children age 2 and younger. Next month will feature many of the same activities as well as some new additions!
Explorit’s coming events:
* Spider Photography Show opening reception: Spider pictures from local photographers will be on display at the Davis Art Center, 1919 F St., through Sept. 14. The opening reception is Friday from 5 to 7 p.m.
* Vote for Explorit: Explorit is one of three finalists in the sixth annual Brooks Painting Charity Paint Giveaway. Please help us get a much-needed new coat of paint by visiting the link to vote: www.brookspainting.com/vote2012.html
* Sign up for Explorit Summer Camp 2012 online at www.explorit.org/camp. Camp runs through Aug. 17.
Explorit Science Center is at 3141 Fifth St. and features a hands-on science exhibit open to the public the first full weekend of the month from October to June. For more information, call (530) 756-0191 or visit www.explorit.org, or “like” Explorit on Facebook at www.facebook.com/explorit.fb.