Bugging Out in Puerto Rico
Right on the grounds of the UPR Botanical Garden in Rio Piedras is a little-known museum all about insects. Called the the Museum of Entomology and Tropical Biodiversity (of the UPR Mayaguez campus), it houses the largest collection of insects in Puerto Rico.
While I am not a big lover of insects, I understand their place in the world. So while we were visiting the botanical garden, we thought we would check out the "bug museum".
It is a small museum — it only has 3 rooms — and it can only be visited with a museum guide. The tour they offer (for free!) is educational and fun, and is geared to the age and interests of the visitors.
They have display cases with some of the beetles, butterflies and moths that we have here in Puerto Rico. They also have some of the more exotic (which means really pretty, large or ugly) insects from around the world.
The collection consists of larvae in jars, winged insects pinned to trays, and prepared microscopic slides. Also on display are amber jewerly with insects in it, insects prepared as food from around the world, and other insect-related items.
The mission of the museum (besides to facilitate research) is to educate people about the insects of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean region, and to inspire in everyone a respect for nature and the environment. Our guide was really excited to share the world of insects with us. I learned a few things and got a few laughs — and even a booklet of insect recipes! But the research they do at the school and the collection is very serious and important for all of us.
There is no admission charge. It’s free!
The museum is open Wednesday 1pm to 4:30pm, and Thursday & Friday 8am to 11:30am & 1pm 4:30pm.
It is best to call for a tour, just to make sure a guide is available. Tours are available in Spanish or English. If you are a researcher, you must call for an appointment to view the collection.
Allow 45-60 minutes.
You can call 787-767-9705 ext 2174 or ext 2025 for more information, or to make sure that they will be open when you plan to visit.
You can visit their website for more information.
Located in the UPR Botanical Garden, which is hidden off the south side of the intersections of Highway 1 and Road 847 in Rio Piedras. Look for the signs for "Jardin Botanico". The museum is located on the second floor of the Agronomy Building (the first school building on the left, after the parking lot).
Use this map to locate places mentioned in this article. You can click on a placemark to view the GPS coordinates for that place.