The Pink Palace's "Twice Bitten" exhibit spills outside the door of the exhibition space and into the museum. To the right of the door, a giant animatronic mosquito head looks hungrily down at a piece of magnified skin. With the push of a button, the bloodsucker goes into action, dipping its needle and catheter mouth parts into the victim. Two kids were making the mosquito bite over and over again, and their shouted response to the mosquito's meal is a fair summary of the "Twice Bitten" experience: "Ooh gross! Awesome!"
"Twice Bitten: Robotic Insects and Live Tarantulas" delivers exactly what the title promises. The dark hall with its massive robotic bugs and projected spider webs feels like the most educational attraction on a carnival midway. Like something out of a Godzilla feature, a monster locust leaps out over visitors and spread its wings. A pair of armored Atlas beatles attack one another with their huge, antler-like protrusions. A car-sized caterpillar ooches along, and a praying mantis threatens to bite some heads. And speaking of heads, the magnified faces of a honey bee and a dragonfly give visitors a closeup look at how these bugs eat.
The deeper one wanders into the exhibit the hairier things become. The exhibit's live tarantula component lets visitors get up close with a diverse selection of fur-covered spiders ranging from the Goliath Birdeater to the docile Mexican Redknee and the adorable Pinktoe tarantula.
Upping the ick-factor, there's a black widow, too. So gross. So awesome.