One of the only things I adore about the deep winter is the lack of insects. But when I find myself being bugged by the creatures during the warmer months, I remind myself that the strange-to-us insects each play an important role in the world's ecosystems. Besides their usefulness, insects are truly fascinating to learn about, and that helps minimize fear and annoyance. Teach the kids how to cohabitate with insects this weekend at Buggy Bonanza, held at The Strong National Museum of Play (One Manhattan Square) on Saturday, June 16.

Get up close and personal with live creepy crawlers from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. A museum expert will teach facts about tarantulas (which can grow to the size of dinner plates), hissing cockroaches, scorpions, and more. If that's a little too intense for you, make a butterfly craft and meet Marti the Monarch, the museum's butterfly mascot, before visiting the Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden, where you can walk among a thousand butterflies in a tropical rainforest environment along with birds, turtles, and more.

Buggy Bonanza is included in general admission to the museum, which is $13 for adults, $12 for seniors, $11 for children ages 2-15, and free to members and kids under 2. Admission to the butterfly garden requires purchase of an individual, timed ticket at $4 or $2 for members. For more information, call 263-2700 or visit