NORMAN — Plans to erect a 20-foot inflatable spider atop the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History were thwarted this week by high winds and rain.
The spider's dramatic appearance was designed to highlight two new exhibits that open Friday featuring spiders and other creepy-crawlies.
“The weather just didn't cooperate,” said spokeswoman Jennifer Tregarthen.
Crews finally inflated the spider for temporary display on a museum plaza. If weather conditions improve, the spider will be mounted on the roof next week, Tregarthen said.
A public reception set for 6 to 8 p.m. Friday will celebrate the opening of “Bugs … Outside the Box” and “Beautiful Beasts: The Unseen Life of Oklahoma Spiders and Insects.”
Each exhibit showcases the wonder and beauty of bugs in different ways.
“Bugs … Outside the Box” presents a selection of greatly enlarged insect sculptures, each designed to reveal the beauty hidden within the mini-beasts of the natural world.
Butterflies with 5-foot wingspans and 4-foot-long beetles are just two examples of the unique sculptures included in the exhibit.
Using powerful magnification and actual specimens of each animal, artist Lorenzo Possenti painstakingly created each sculpture with remarkable accuracy.
“Beautiful Beasts: The Unseen Life of Oklahoma Spiders and Insects” features immense color macro photographs by Thomas Shahan along with descriptions of where and how the photographs were taken.
The exhibit chronicles Shahan's tireless search for arthropods, a venture that has made him an advocate for education about the role these tiny beasts play in our lives.
Entertainment will be provided by the “Bug Chicks,” a group of insect scientists who will inform and enlighten audiences on the secret life of bugs through performances and anecdotes.
Other bug-themed activities are planned, including edible bugs and bug products, bug sounds and a table for children to build their own bugs.
Summit Toys has provided a donation of Backyard Safari gear to hand out to children during the reception.
The celebration will continue throughout the weekend with free admission to the museum on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is always free on Mondays.
Admission prices on other days are $5 for adults; $4 for seniors 65 and up and $3 for ages 6 to 17. Children 5 and under are admitted free. Discounts are available for military personnel and their immediate families.
The museum on the University of Oklahoma campus at Timberdell Road and Chautauqua Avenue is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays.