Larger-Than-Life Bugs Invade Shangri La Gardens

Published 4:05 pm Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Special to The Leader

ORANGE — David Rogers’ Big Bugs, an exhibition of epic proportions, is scheduled to invade Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, March 5, 2016. David Rogers’ creatures are handcrafted from fallen or found wood, raw branches, sustainably harvested saplings and other natural materials. Their enormous size calls attention to some of nature’s smallest and yet most important critters in the web of life…at a delightfully intimidating scale!

From March 5 through May 28, 2016, Shangri La Gardens and the Stark Museum of Art will offer a one-of-a-kind perspective into the fascinating world of these David Rogers’ creatures by exploring the art and science of insects in order to connect people of all ages to the natural world in a variety of unexpected ways.

At the peak season of flowering displays, guests can discover firsthand the amazing work of David Rogers that is one part landscape art, one part recycled art, and two parts environmental art. Ten gargantuan Big Bugs can be found seeking shelter in their habitats throughout the gardens, ranging from the intimidating Praying Mantis and delicate Dragonfly to the giant lumbering Ants.

While in the garden, one can Build a Bug, take a Photo Scavenger Hunt challenge, interact with live insects in the Butterfly House, pose for a silly photo at one of the Bug Boards and experience so much more by observing the surrounding nature.

Access to the David Rogers’ Big Bugs exhibition is included with the price of admission. Other attractions, such as, the Outpost Tour and entrance to the Butterfly House, are available for an additional charge.

After exploring through the gardens at Shangri La, guests are encouraged to scurry over to the Stark Museum of Art to experience BUGS, a companion exhibition to David Rogers’ Big Bugs. BUGS is comprised of four separate mini-exhibitions that round out the entire bug experience. Included are David Rogers Deconstructed, an overview of the origins and process of David Rogers’ artistic inspiration; Insects Deconstructed, an opportunity to learn and test one’s knowledge about bugs and insects; Buggin’ Out Juried Student Art Exhibition, an exhibition of local student artwork depicting insects or arachnids in their natural habitats; and Bound Bugs, an exhibition of insects and arachnids found in the rare natural history books from the Stark Museum of Art.

Access to the BUGS exhibition is included with the price of admission.

David Rogers is a self-taught artist based in Glen Cove, New York with a life-long passion for transforming wood and other found objects into his unique art forms. He created his first artworks in 1973 at the age of thirteen, when he learned to weld steel sculptures and experiment with forest materials. Later, David produced home furnishings and garden structures from wood and saplings, combining natural materials with new construction methods to develop a design sensibility he calls “Victorian Rustic.”

In 1990 David’s perception of what could be conceived and created using all natural materials began to take shape with his first large-scale dinosaur sculptures. From these early works emerged the concept for what would become Big Bugs.

Combining the array of skills and talents he honed over several years, David’s hard work culminated in the debut exhibit of his first ten giant bug sculptures in 1994 at the Dallas Arboretum. Since then David has tapped his inner creative inspiration, sense of discovery, and eye for invention to construct nearly 40 sculptures based on 14 different subjects.

David Rogers’ Big Bugs has delighted hundreds of thousands of visitors at more than 70 botanical gardens throughout the U.S. over the past 20 years. David’s colossal collection of creepy crawlers has clearly hit upon a magical formula of making art fun and engaging. Even so, he maintains that his Big Bugs are much more than art. They serve a greater purpose of teaching all of us to value and protect our natural world – down to its tiniest creatures.

Related Events Too Big To Miss!

March 5, 2016   Big Bugs Bonanza: Grand Opening – Shangri La Gardens

Opening day of David Rogers’ Big Bugs. Walk through, under, and around 10 enormous Big Bugs sculptures and meet artist, David Rogers. Surround yourself with butterflies in Shangri La’s first Butterfly House. Enjoy insect tasting, live music, and so much more!

BUGS Exhibition Grand Opening – Stark Museum of Art

Opening day of BUGS, a companion exhibit to David Rogers’ Big Bugs. Experience David Rogers Deconstructed, Insects Deconstructed, Buggin’ Out Juried Student Art Exhibition, and Bound Bugs.

March 25, 2016 Ladybug Day – Shangri La Gardens

Celebrate all things ladybug with ladybug releases throughout the day to delight children of all ages. Make your own antennae, create ladybug greeting cards, take in in a ladybug story in the Children’s Garden, and more.

April 2, 2016   BUGS Exhibition Celebration – Stark Museum of Art

Celebrate BUGS with presentations by Shangri La and The W.H. Stark House staff as well as bug artist, Greg LeWallen, who will bring his own incredible collection of insect specimens from around the world. Participate in face painting, bug science games, scavenger hunts, bug-themed shadow art, insect optical art, and more!

April 23, 2016 Eco-Fest – Shangri La Gardens

Celebrate Earth Day by releasing a live butterfly in the afternoon. Discover earth friendly practices, products, and services from our exhibitors. Enjoy the gardens in full bloom, view baby birds in their nests on Ruby Lake, and relax during an Outpost Tour along Adams Bayou.

May 7, 2016 Movie Night in the Garden – Shangri La Gardens

Join us for a delightful spring evening at Shangri La for a very special garden and movie experience. Bring the entire family for an evening stroll through the gardens at dusk to enjoy David Rogers’ Big Bugs as the last light of the day fades. Then, set up your lawn chair, have some popcorn, and enjoy an outdoor family movie.

May 28, 2016   Big Bugs Grand Finale – Shangri La Gardens, Stark Museum of Art

Don’t miss your last chance to swarm with the David Rogers’ Big Bugs and flutter with the live butterflies at Shangri La. Create unforgettable family moments as you discover beneficial bugs and explore the world of bees and butterflies. Houston Museum of Natural Science staff will join us with hissing cockroaches, giant millipedes, and more!

Shangri La is located at 2111 W. Park Avenue in Orange, Texas, and is open Tuesday – Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Open Sundays, March 5 – May 28, 2016, 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. For more information, visit