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may museum bugs

Whether you find them creepy or cool, there’s no doubt that everyone finds bugs fascinating — which is why the May Natural History Museum in Colorado Springs has been a favorite of families, insect enthusiasts and curiosity seekers for decades.

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These tiny critters fill our world and while some are definitely a nuisance (we’re looking at you, mosquitos), most are critical to the ecosystem — yes, even spiders. Colorado Springs has the privilege of being home to the May Natural History Museum, which boasts the largest private insect collection on the planet.

Affectionately known as the “bug museum”, you’ll be enchanted from the moment you cruise past Herkimer, the gigantic black Hercules beetle that greets all insect-seekers. As you wander case after case of carefully preserved specimens from all over the world, you’ll be treated to a new view of the spaces around you and the tiny creatures that fill them. The museum atmosphere is charming, with antique cases, historic newspaper articles and vintage light fixtures that make you feel like you’ve drifted back in time to an old-school road show. The science behind the collection, however, is anything but antique.

Over 8,000 insects, arachnids, beautiful butterflies, and beetles await you, ready to inspire awe and maybe a little bit of fear for those who aren’t big fans of bugs. However, even the biggest entomophobes will soon be drifting excitedly from case to case to see just what rests beyond the glass.  Walking sticks the size of your hand, gigantic, colorful moths, beetles with a majestic, metallic sheen on their carapace and so much more await you in neatly labeled, rustic cases. The range of size and color in the butterfly collection alone is enough to make the trip completely worthwhile.

Museum founder, the late James May, traveled the world for 80 years to collect each specimen, sending the creatures he found from locations like Africa and South America. He collected more than 100,000 specimens in his travels, which is no small feat! Before settling in its final location just a touch south of Colorado Springs, the May Natural History Museum, which operates as a family business, took its worldly bugs on the road. The family’s nifty traveling collection was enormously popular with anyone who encountered it. After a brief stint in Florida, the family realized that Colorado’s dry climate was the only place the bug museum could sustain and protect its enormous — and some say priceless — collection. Lucky us, right?

In addition to the amazing museum, the May family also runs one of the most stunning campgrounds in the Pikes Peak region. Like noted earlier, the land is just a bit south of Colorado Springs proper, which means you’ll have a comfortable, cozy home base that’s close to everything fun (including the May Museum) but also far enough to relax after a day of play in Colorado. Rates are reasonable, long-term stays are available and there are great options for RV hookups so you can enjoy the comforts of home. Speaking of comforts, the whole park has free wifi, making it easy to upload all your favorite bug selfies at the end of the day. There’s also a rad gift shop, a fishing pond and weekend events for you to hang out with your fellow travelers.

The May Natural History Museum brings the wide world of insects home to Colorado, offering lots of fun, family-friendly entertainment. Whether you’re a sightseer, a scientist or just along for the ride, you’ll never forget your trip to Colorado Springs’ own unique and totally awesome bug museum.

Things to know

$12 / adult

9am - 6pm Daily

Average time

1 hour

Exertion level
Attraction type


They will accept reservations for groups of 10 or more during the months that they are closed for the Winter (October- April).

They have the world's largest private insect collection consisting of over 8,000 bugs!

A bug is simply a TYPE of insect that has a straw shaped mouth (called a stylet) and no teeth; like dragonflies and butterflies. Insects usually have 2 pairs of wings and 3 pairs of legs; like mosquitos and flies.

Depending on where, in Colorado Springs, you’re driving from, it can take between 20-30 minutes.


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