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Art Featured Lifestyle February 10, 2018

Summer Nights at the Zoo: Food, Music, Bugs!

The spectacular science exhibition Bug Lab, co-created by Te Papa and Weta Workshop that’s now showing at Auckland Zoo, is the inspiration for a series of zoo evening events that celebrate these genius stars of nature.


Love Bugs – Valentine’s 14 February  (7pm till late)

Love Bugs is an R18 event for all who love, from couples and friends to family groups and work colleagues, and one where the zoo hopes every guest will fall in love with bugs!


Spectacular food, live performances from Julia Deans – one of New Zealand’s most talented singer-songwriters; the opportunity to hear Te Papa’s irrepressible ‘bug man’ Dr Phil Sirvid speak about the love life of some of the world’s most extraordinary bugs; and exclusive all-evening entry to the Bug Lab exhibition, is all on offer.


Guests will also get the chance to see some live bugs, and hear about the zoo’s love affair with some of Aotearoa’s most iconic invertebrates, including the spectacular wetapunga for which we’re leading an exciting and very successful recovery programme.


This leisurely evening that is supporting all the vital conservation work of Auckland Zoo, features a five-course menu. Some dishes will also feature some of nature’s greatest, and most sustainable, super foods — bugs, including New Zealand’s award-winning protein-packed Otago locusts. To please all palates, guests will also have vegetarian options to choose from.


Tickets are $170 per person for this exclusive Love Bugs evening which is limited to 120 people. Book your tickets at


Bug Lab Lates

R18 event Bug Lab Lates (every Friday, 6pm-9pm till 23 March) is an opportunity for adults to enjoy a night of cocktails, street food, live entertainment and explore the magical and highly interactive world of Bug Lab.


Start your evening with a complimentary cocktail while you feast on the diverse range of Auckland’s best street food provided by the wonderful Auckland Food Truck Collective in the zoo’s entry plaza.


The zoo’s own Wētāpunga café will also offer foodies a diverse menu including the opportunity to treat their taste buds to some of nature’s greatest and most sustainable super foods: bugs.


“Bugs are simply another food source that people have consumed for centuries. In New Zealand there are now a growing number of bug foods and bug-derived ingredients (like cricket flour) for sale and on menus in cafes and restaurants,” says the zoo’s retail and commercial partnerships manager, Angela Clarke.


“Among bug cuisine will be dishes such as green salad with award-winning Otago sky prawns (locusts), cricket battered mac and cheese bites with peri-peri aioli and New Zealand premium smoked salmon with crème fraiche on buckwheat blinis with ant sprinkle, as well as  and sweet treats like cricket muffins.”


Photography: Auckland Zoo/Grace Watson

Tickets to Bug Lab Lates are $25 per person (includes complimentary cocktail and entry to the Bug Lab exhibition). Book online at

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