What do you fear?
Is it death? snakes? flying? loosing loved ones? ketchup (I have a friend, it’s real!)
For me, it’s cockroaches and large larvae (like the one Bear Grylls had the audacity to…consume!)
Can’t say that I’ve ever come across them in my regular life until I visited Daejeon’s Insect Eco Center (대전 곤충 생태관).
It was opened back in 2016 with the intention to provide knowledge and experience with insects for Daejeon citizens (a very PG version of what Bear Grylls is used to). For me, though, it was still kinda nerve-racking, PG or not, I’m a wuss!
“Thinking will not overcome fear, but action will.” – W. Clement Stone
Unfortunately for me, I went there while hosting a photography workshop with some students, who turned out to be a lot more fearless. Holding or petting of the open container insects is allowed and that’s what they freely did. I had to man up real fast and contain my wimpy screams like the bravest 33-year-old would. Here is the evidence:
All are my hands, I swear!
And just like that my fear of large larvae, also known as Rhinocerous Beetle, disappeared (as long as I didn’t have to put them in my mouth or sit in a large tub covered in them, aka Fear Factor-style).
Walking around, we came across a lot of other notable species, which you can’t touch, but who would want to?
While a lot of the interactive and informative parts of the center are all in Korean, it is important to note that this center was created and acts as Hub for Insect Distribution Industry in Korea.
It was estimated back in 2015 that the insect industry in Korea would grow more than two-fold by 2020 “thanks to active R&D related to food, new materials from insects, and the usage of insects or byproducts in new drugs” Choi, John.
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Guidelines while at the center
Don’t make a lot of noise or run
Don’t wear wheeled shoes while inside the center
Kickboards, strollers, etc. can be safely parked at the entrance of the center
Admission may be denied for persons disturbing other visitors; does not follow the instructions and directions of the staff
Be careful not to touch or damage the exhibits
To protect exhibits and ensure a pleasant environment, smoking, food, and pets are not allowed
Three types of educational programs are on offer: Early Childhood, Family Experience, and Insect Ecology Commentary Program. More information can be viewed here (Korean only).
There are different types of insects, which are on proud display, on the 2nd floor of the research lab of the center, or live in other centers around Korea.
Insects that bring people the gift of enjoyment + natural understanding + psychological stability.
Insect type: Longevity scarab, king beetle, broad-legged beetle, cabbage white butterfly, swallowtail butterfly, large scarlet beetle butterfly, fireflies, rattlesnake, uldo sky cow, mulberry sky cow, king cricket, large insect.
Pests that directly or indirectly damage human-grown crops, creating economic losses.
Pollen-mediated pollination insects are useful insects that help crops. As it is an economical insect that can produce eco-friendly agriculture, reduce labor, and produce high-quality agricultural products, the importance of pollen-mediated insects in the agricultural field will become even greater in the future.
Insect type: back bee, bee, horn shears
Food and Medicinal Insects
The development of the medicinal insect industry using the insects, which are higher in protein than existing animal proteins, as food, solves future food problems and utilizes insects that have been overlooked in the past.
Insect types: grasshopper, silkworm pupae, white nap, brown larvae, twin-star cricket, longevity scarab larvae, white-spotted flower larvae
It can be used as feed for chickens, algae, fish, frogs, and fishing lures.
Insect type: larvae (mil worms, super wheat worms), dried crickets, dried grasshoppers, larvae, pupae (including pupa larvae), larvae, fly larvae, mixed insects
Environmental purification insects
Dongae are used for animal feed, food, and medicinal purposes, and decomposition products can be applied to crops with high-quality compost to create a new added value.
Insect type: dung beetle, dongae, flies.
Things to do around the Insect Eco Center
A huge, 95-acre park, which is divided into two sections with a cycling/rollerblading/concert section in the middle. Great for walking, observing plants, photography, children’s playgrounds, and picnics.
It is Hanbat Arboretum’s latest project located to the South of the Eastern part and North of the Daejeon Performance Center. It houses 200 tropical plants in it’s 5,200 square feet round pavilion made almost entirely of glass. At times quite humid, it’s a great place to relax, walk around and observe unique plants such as Coffee Arabica tree, Mangosteen, or Pineapple.
A slightly hidden location, which houses a large variety of stuffed animals, plants, rocks, and information about Korea’s indigenous flora and fauna.
It is a modern art museum operated by Daejeon Metropolitan City. It is equipped with facilities such as exhibition hall, photo room, seminar room, data room, auditorium, conference room, school garden, water sculpture park, and lawn sculpture park. There are five exhibition rooms, which collect and display only artworks and materials related to modern culture and society.
Open since 1981, this center offers over 100 concerts a year, which help to promote and maintain Korean traditions of dance and music. It also offers classes to interested youth and holds a collection of 12,000 books and 3,000 musical disks.
A museum, dedicated to the paintings and calligraphy of Lee Ungno, who co-founded the Academy of Oriental Painting in Paris and became the first Korean painter to teach Eastern art in Europe. The museum also offers educational events, artists programs, cafeteria, and an art shop.
It is a general performance hall in Daejeon, where you can fully enjoy performances such as music, dance, and theater. Mostly known for its classical music concerts and performances by Korean and International musicians.
대전 곤충 생태관
Address: 191 Dunsan-daero 117beon-gil, Mannyeon-dong, Seo-gu, Daejeon
대전광역시 서구 만년동 둔산대로117번길 191
Open 10 am – 5 pm
Closed on Mondays
To make a reservation for larger groups and special educational programs, visit here
By local bus:
Bus #606, 618, 911: Hanbat Arboretum stop + 4 to 5 minutes on foot
Bus #606, 618, 911: Daejeon Arts Center stop + 7 to 8 minutes on foot
Get off at Government Complex Station, Exit 3. Walk north for about 15-20 minutes. Walk behind the Daejeon Yeongjeong Traditional Music Center. Insect Eco Center is located across the large round glass-covered building, which is the Tropical Plants Garden.
Stay near the Insect Eco Center
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