The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History is about to unleash insects of all sizes on its visitors. That’s because the museum is hosting two new exhibits devoted to one particular fear many of us face: bugs.

Beginning with a free opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 1, the museum is featuring “Bugs...Outside the Box and Beautiful Beasts: The Unseen Life of Oklahoma Spiders and Insects.”

Each exhibit showcases the wonder and beauty of our small friends in different ways. “Bugs...Outside the Box” presents a selection of greatly enlarged insect sculptures, each showcasing the beauty hidden within the (mini) beasts of the natural world. Butterflies with 5-foot wingspans and beetles, 4 feet long, which can stare you square in the eye, are only two examples of the unique sculptures on display in this unique exhibition. Using powerful magnification and actual specimens of each animal, artist Lorenzo Possenti painstakingly creates each sculpture with remarkable accuracy.

“Beautiful Beasts “depicts incredibly stunning images of insects through immense color macrophotographs alongside descriptions of where and how the photographs were taken. The exhibit chronicles the photographer, Thomas Shahan’s tireless search for arthropods, a venture that has made him into an outspoken advocate for education about the role they play in our lives. Beautiful Beasts is made possible, in part, by the Norman Arts Council Grant Program.

The world of insects is all around us. Cleverly camouflaged or flamboyant in their displays, their diminutive size frequently keeps them from attracting our attention. During the opening reception, the Sam Noble Museum hopes to turn fear into fascination with entertainment from the Bug Chicks, insect scientists whose mission is to provide a fresh look on insects and spiders. The Bug Chicks are sure to change the way people think about spiders, insects and other anthropods with performances and silly anecdotes about bugs.

Other activities throughout the museum include a multitude of bug-themed fun, including edible bugs and bug products, bug sounds and a table for children to build their own bug. Summit Toys has provided a generous donation of Backyard Safari gear to hand out to children during the reception.

The celebration continues with complimentary admission to the museum on Feb. 2, and Feb. 3.

As always, the museum also will be free on Feb. 4 for “Free First Monday,” sponsored by OU Outreach. While visitors are enjoying free admission on Saturday, the Bug Chicks will continue their entertainment with two additional performances. For more information,

The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History is located on the University of Oklahoma Norman campus at Timberdell Road and Chautauqua Avenue.

Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors 65 and up, and $3 for youth ages 6 to 17. Children ages 5 and under are admitted free. Discounts are available for military personnel and their immediate families. For accommodations on the basis of disability, call (405) 325-4712.