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Arts and Entertainment

Walk Among Arachnids: Spider Pavilion to Open Later this Month

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Photo by Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging

Photo by Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging
There may be no better way to get over your fear of spiders by entering a room full of them. Hundreds of them. And did we mention there were no barriers between you and the arachnids?

Now in its sixth year, the Spider Pavilion at the Natural History Museum is gearing up to launch at the end of this month. Visitors can walk through the 3,200 square foot habitat, check out 15 local and exotic spider species -- mostly orb weavers -- and their webs up close, watch them feed on crickets and roaches, and take tours to learn about web architecture and engineering.

Outside the building, which has a footprint of about 90 by 36 feet, will be a mini bug-zoo with other arachnids --think tarantulas and scorpions -- in enclosed cases.

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Photo by Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging
The goal of the Pavilion is to convey how harmless and gentle spiders actually are. "This is the attempt to talk about ecology from a spider's point of view, and doing so people will start to see these as living animals, not the monsters they think they are," said Brent "The Bug Guy" Karner, who manages the museum's invertebrate collection.

"They don't drop down and bite you and they are not inclined to bite us," he added. "They don't want to be seen, don't want to be touched and don't want to be handled."

Karner said there are 40,000 species in the world and only about 27 are potentially dangerous. In Los Angeles County, only two are among that group: black and brown widows.

The exhibit runs September 26th through November 7th. Timed tickets are sold in half-hour intervals throughout the day for up to $3. Visitors do not have to pay museum general admission as the pavilion is located on the South Lawn. On two Saturday nights -- October 9 on October 23 -- the exhibit will be opened for flashlight tours.

- Discovering L.A.'s Local Spiders through the Natural History Museum's Citizen Scientist Project
- Citizen Scientists Sought for Spider Survey in the Santa Monica Mountains