Kids ewww and aaah over animal exhibit at Museum of Discovery and Science

Justin Barzakay, 4, popped the spiced worm into his mouth and puckered his face as if he’d sucked on a lemon.

“Justin, do you like it?” his mother asked.

Justin clapped his hand over his mouth, shut his eyes tight and shook his head hard.

Behind the desk at the Museum of Discovery and Science’s “Edible Bugs” exhibit, volunteer Jessica Coombs, 17, told Justin and his mother, Alana Barzakay, a bit about what he’d just eaten.

“Wait,” said Barzakay as Justin reached for a BBQ-flavored worm, “you mean they’re REAL?”

The Barzakay family was at the Museum of Discovery and Science’s “Meet the Animals” weekend, where kids can get up close and personal with critters — live, dead and edible.

The worms are perfectly safe for anyone without a shellfish allergy, Coombs assured Barzakay.

“You can actually find these in stores,” she said. “I mean, maybe not Publix.”

Across from the edible bugs table, children ewwed and aaahed at jars of slimy dead creatures floating in preservatives, gaping at the horseshoe crab, the mouse, the chicken embryo and the salamander with its face smushed against the glass.

Nicole Beezely, who works on the educational exhibits and helps with the museum’s summer camp, said the kids like the yucky stuff, especially munching on the worms.

“This week in camp we had ‘grossology,’ and we had the kids eat bugs,” said Beezely, 27. “And they loved it.”

Steve Zuluaga and his wife, Jenise Zuluaga, brought daughter Audrey to the museum to learn about animals.

The Zuluagas tried the worms, then debated their texture as they watched Audrey explore the exhibits.

He called them crunchy; she called them soft.

“I think they taste like flavored popcorn,” Jenise Zuluaga said. “It’s like the outside is a hard shell, and then it’s soft inside.”

Not all of the museum’s “Meet the Animals” exhibits were so icky.

Beezely showed kids how to use found objects to make pet toys, and outside at the “poacher’s tent,” kids ran their fingers over zebra and leopard skins and a taxidermied lion as volunteers told them about the impact of poaching.

At the otter enclosure, children pressed their noses against the glass tank of water where four river otters zipped back and forth, streaming toward the glass, then pressing their webbed hind feet against it to launch themselves away as the kids squealed.

“Meet the Animals Weekend” events will continue on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. at the Museum of Discovery and Science at 401 SW Second St. in Fort Lauderdale.

Read more Broward stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category