Amazing Arachnids

Location: West Mall

Date: May 26 - September 3

Dig Box presented by   

Join us for an aMAZEing time weaving your way through a new temporary exhibit—Amazing Arachnids! The interactive and engaging experience opens May 26 and continues through September 3, featuring two components: The Art and Science of Arachnids and Mission Safari.

Art and Science of Arachnids

Art and Science of Arachnids invites guests to discover the cultural connections of these eight-legged creatures that have weaved their way into a variety of genres, including music, art, folklore, medicine, conservation, film, and literature. In addition to engaging hands-on interactives, the exhibit features 100 live arachnids found around the world, making it the largest public collection of arachnids in North America.

Arachnid Species

The live collection is primarily composed of tarantulas and scorpions with a sampling of whip scorpions and true spiders. Species include:

  • Blue femur beauty tarantula
  • Brazilian blue violet tarantula
  • Brazilian pink bloom tarantula
  • Brazilian red and white tarantula
  • Burgundy goliath birdeater
  • Columbian pumpkin patch tarantula
  • Chaco golden knee
  • Chilean gold dust spider
  • Chiricahuan grey
  • Curly hair tarantula
  • Desert hairy scorpion
  • Dictator scorpion
  • Dwarf Philippine tangerine
  • Emperor scorpion
  • Entre Rios tarantula
  • Feather leg baboon tarantula
  • Giant flat rock scorpion
  • Ghost ornamental Tarantula
  • Goliath bird-eating tarantula
  • Goliath pinkfoot tarantula
  • Guatemalan tiger rump tarantula
  • Mahogany tree spider
  • Metallic pink toe tarantula
  • Mexican fireleg tarantula
  • Mexican red knee tarantula
  • Mozambique golden baboon tarantula
  • Olive keeled flat rock scorpion
  • Ornamental baboon tarantula
  • Peacock tarantula
  • Purple earth tarantula
  • Purple tree spider
  • Rameshwaram Temple tarantula
  • Skeleton leg tarantula
  • South Vietnam blue tarantula
  • Stripe knee tarantula
  • Tailless whip scorpion
  • Tiger rump tarantula
  • Venezuelan suntiger tarantula
  • Vinegaroon
  • Wolf spider
  • Yellow-backed ornamental tiger tarantula

The Cubes

The exhibit is divided three “cubes” or sections—science, art, and culture—that highlight the various ways arachnids have influenced our lives.

  • “The “Science” Cube (green)
    • 34 arachnids
    • Showcases arachnids in science and medicine and features graphics that include:
    • “Arachnids that are not Spiders or Scorpions”
    • “Deadly Spiders in North America” (i.e. widow and recluse spiders)
    • “Arachnids in Medicine” (current and historical medical uses of arachnids and silk)
  • “The Arts” Cube (purple)
    • 31 arachnids
    • Showcases arachnids film, literature, and music and features graphics that include:
    • “Arachnids in Film” (history of arachnid-themed films and arachnids that have starred in films, such as “Charlotte’s Web”)
    • “Arachnids in Literature” (flip panels inviting guests to test their knowledge)
    • “Musical Arachnids” (“Itsy Bitsy Spider” song, historical music, and modern references to music starring arachnids is highlighted.
  • The Culture” Cube (blue)
    • 35 arachnids
    • Showcases how arachnids have shaped our culture and features graphics that include:
    • “Arachnid Conservation” (efforts to preserve arachnids and their habitats are illustrated as are endangered and threatened and newly documented species of arachnids)
    • “Arachnid Folklore and Culture” (arachnid traditions in different cultures are highlighted)
    • “Arachnids as Food” (arthropods—shrimp, crab, lobster, spiders, and scorpions—as food and what cultures eat them as part of their normal diet)


The exhibit features a variety of hands-on and engaging interactives for guests of all ages that enhance the experience. They include:

  • Weave a Web—a welcoming 7-foot-tall spider with a 10-foot leg span that invites guests to weave their very own web between its front legs. Guests can create their own artwork weaving to take home.
  • Arachnid Mobility—guests use a computer to observe a spider walking and are able to control its direction and speed.
  • Tarantella—guests can learn the history of this fun folk dance from Italy and give it a spin on the dance floor. A virtual curator explains the dance and its cultural importance.
  • Spider Silk—an oversized, interactive graphic panel illustrates spider silk. A Kevlar vest is displayed as an example of material that is nearly as strong as spider silk.
  • Fangs, Claws, and Stingers—an oversized graphic panel that educates guests about arachnids’ various characteristics.
  • Molting—an oversized graphic panel called “How Do Arachnids Grow?” has interactive flip panels that illustrate examples of molting. A slow-motion video shows a tarantula molting.
  • Arachnid Anatomy—guests can test their knowledge on how well they know the body parts of an arachnid by matching puzzle pieces together on a magnetized wall.
  • How Do You Measure Up?—guests can compare their size to that of modern day and prehistoric arachnids on a life-sized 6-foot by 8-foot banner.
  • Arachnid Art Gallery—10 beautiful images by world-renown German arachnid photographer, Julian Kamzol, are displayed.

Mission Safari Maze

An immersive experience that introduces different themes of species’ survival and protection through play-and-learn interactives. The attraction features:

  • 3,500-square-foot neon green modular-design maze
  • Four giant colorful spinning wheels that highlight 48 missions or tasks that link guests to an animal. After spinning one of the wheel, guests are then challenged to move through the maze. Youngsters and families can play over and over again with a new adventure each time, all the while lending more and more meaning to their subsequent journey around the zoo to see the animals with which they now have a personal connection.
  • Sixteen featured species, all which can all be seen at Brookfield Zoo. Animals include the bison, Amur tiger, Andean condor, bald eagle, black rhinoceros, black widow spider, Blanding’s turtle, Bornean orangutan, emperor scorpion, green-winged macaw, Indian peafowl, Orinoco crocodile, peacock tarantula, red knee tarantula, reticulated giraffe, and white-bellied pangolin.
  • After spinning the wheel, zoogoers are then challenged to move through the attraction that features the following activities:
    • climb-on spider web
    • jungle vines
    • swinging bars
    • monorail zip slide

Backstage Adventures at Brookfield Zoo

New Penguin Encounters!

Join us for a unique close encounter with Humboldt penguins at Brookfield Zoo.

Sign Up for Zoo Classes

Parents and young explorers can experience serious fun at one of our Family Play Classes!

Free Admission for Military Personnel

To show appreciation for the hard work and dedication of the men and women in the United States Armed Forces, the Chicago Zoological Society is offering free admission to Brookfield Zoo to all active, reservist, and retired members of the military. Qualified personnel who present a valid ID at one of the zoo's admission booths will be admitted free of charge.