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For the love bugs

Bugs are at the heart of a special R18 Valentine’s evening at Auckland Zoo this Valentine’s Day, where lovers of their fellow humans and wildlife will be wined, dined, entertained. 

If you’re looking for an extraordinary date night this Valentine’s Day, ‘Love Bugs’ at Auckland Zoo is definitely worth considering. 

Love Bugs is set to be an evening of wining and dining whilst being wowed by the genius stars of nature: bugs, and is inspired by the magical blockbuster science exhibition Bug Lab, the co-creation of Te Papa and Weta Workshop which is now showing at Auckland Zoo.

The evening, which is to support all the conservation work of Auckland Zoo, features a five-course degustation menu, live performances by bug lover and one of New Zealand’s most talented singer-song writers – Julia Deans, exclusive entry to Bug Lab, and the opportunity to check out one of New Zealand’s most intriguing giant bugs.

Kiwi singer/songwriter Julia Deans with a Goliath stick insect

The evening will also feature special guest, Te Papa’s irrepressible ‘bug man,’ Dr Phil Sirvid, one of the scientists behind Bug Lab, who will sharing his guide to the love lives of some of the world’s most extraordinary bugs.

In addition, an Auckland Zoo bug expert will talk about the Zoo’s love-affair with one of Aotearoa’s most threatened bugs, the wētāpunga, for which it is leading a successful recovery programme.

As well seeing and hearing about bugs, they will also feature on the five-course degustation menu, as one of nature’s greatest, most sustainable and increasingly popular super foods. Guests will also have vegetarian options to choose from.

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

“We’re simply reflecting this and are excited to be giving Love Bug guests the opportunity to treat their taste buds to some of these extremely tasty and sustainable foods.

“We’re also very keen to make people aware that bugs require significantly less resources to grow, so they’re much kinder to the environment, than traditional livestock. Bugs that are not in any way threatened, that are farmed sustainably and treated humanely, just as we’d treat any other animal we might choose to eat (cows, chicken, crayfish, prawns, etc), are a very good and valuable food source,” she says. 

Love Bugs is an R18 event where everyone from couples to friends and family or work colleague groups are welcome. Tickets are $170 per person (maximum 120 guests). For full details, visit aucklandzoo.co.nz

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