I was excited when I drove down Trimble Road recently and saw a banner advertising the Big Bugs Exhibit at Kingwood Center Gardens several weeks prior to its arrival. My husband and I visited last summer to see the adorable frogs of Ribbit the Exhibit and I loved it. I’ve always appreciated Kingwood Center, but I’m especially impressed with the efforts made to integrate art into the natural settings of the gardens.
About the Big Bugs Exhibit at Kingwood Center Gardens
A background in welding and carpentry along with a desire to use rustic design and all-natural materials to express his creativity led David Rogers to begin creating bugs- big bugs- in the early 1990’s.
The first Big Bugs exhibit debuted in 1994 at the Dallas Arboretum and since, variations of David’s collection has traveled to 40 states and some of the most well-known public and private botanical gardens and nature centers in the United States. Kingwood Center Gardens in Mansfield, Ohio now joins the ranks of gardens to have welcomed the Big Bugs which includes the US National Arboretum, the United States Botanical Garden, Disney World Epcot Center, New York Botanical Garden and Chicago Botanical Garden.
The Big Bugs exhibit will be at Kingwood Center and on display until August 19th. There are eight bugs featured in the collection: A Ladybug, Dragonfly, Spider, Daddy Long Legs, Praying Mantis, Damselfly and Assassin Bug and Ants. The latter are visible through the gates if you’re passing the estate on Park Avenue.
A map of the exhibit is available at the admission gate, so you’ll know exactly where to find the creations once you’re inside the park. Information about each exhibit is also on the map and includes a few details about each bug, including the dimensions (which is BIG, by the way), weight, and materials each insect or arachnid is created from.
Tips for visiting Kingwood Center and the Big Bug Exhibit
1. Download the Kingwood Center Gardens App before you arrive. The app is designed to enhance your visit by providing you more information about the gardens including the history, horticultural practices, and fun facts while keeping you up to date with upcoming events, etc.
2. Pay attention to hours of operation before arriving.
3. Wear comfortable walking shoes.
4. Visit during the evening if possible for cooler temperatures and better lighting for photos- though if you want to take a self-guided tour of Kingwood Hall, you’ll need to be mindful of their limited daytime hours.
5. Plan to spend a minimum of one hour to explore the gardens- allow more time if you plan to feed the ducks, visit the greenhouse and tour the home.
6. Pack a lunch or snack to enjoy on the lawn or at one of the tables located on the property.
7. Take a few quarters to purchase feed for the ducks at the duck pond (though keep in mind, if Kingwood Center has had a lot of visitors, they may not be hungry).
8. Keep an eye open for the resident peacocks and peahens.
9. Consider purchasing a membership to help support Kingwood Center.
10. Don’t touch the items in the exhibit. While it will be tempting for visitors of all ages to touch the bugs, keep in mind that they are works of art and the brochure specifically requests that you don’t touch them or climb on them.
Kingwood Center Contact Information
Address: 50 Trimble Road Mansfield, Ohio 44906
Admission: $5 per person, children under 12 are free.
© 2018, Tonya Prater. All rights reserved.