The Harrell House Bug Museum is a unique attraction located inside the DeVargas Center mall in Santa Fe, New Mexico. We seek to create an exciting and educational experience for both visitors and local Santa Feans. Our location inside DeVargas Center allows us to be affordable and accessible.
Harrell House started as a kiosk in the mall in 2012, where Wade Harrell sold nature and science toys and gifts but he dreamed of creating an educational exhibit featuring his collection of unusual live animals. One of the items he had on display was a large dead emperor scorpion mounted in a shadow box. This attracted the attention of insect collector Oliver Greer, who wanted to buy it for his collection because the specimen was one of the largest he had ever seen. Oliver purchased the specimen, and this transaction led to Wade and Oliver discussing the possibility of creating an attraction featuring Wade's live creatures and Oliver's mounted collection, and the Harrell House Bug Museum was born.
The first version of the Museum opened in May of 2013 in a very small store at DeVargas Center. Despite the small size (around 1,000 sq feet) the museum proved popular among DeVargas shoppers and we soon began accumulating great reviews on Trip Advisor and Yelp. In October of 2014, we moved into a somewhat larger space at DeVargas where we remained until early 2016 when we were able to move to our biggest and best space yet, nearly 3 times the size of our original space. This move enabled us to make the museum more spacious and we tripled the space of live animals on exhibit and began including more reptiles and amphibians.
Today, our current exhibits include Oliver Greer's CRAWLYWOOD COLLECTION, a world-class insect collection featuring 2,400 mounted arthropods. Oliver began collecting insects at age ten when he found a dead tarantula hawk wasp in his back yard. Since then his collection has grown steadily and now includes a stunning variety of insects, spiders, scorpions, centipedes and other astounding arthropods, ranging in size from tiny insects that are barely visible up to truly gigantic specimens such as his TWO FOOT whipspider and beetles bigger than your face!
We also feature Wade's Wildlife, an amazing display of 150+ LIVE animals belonging to Harrell House owner and founder Wade Harrell. Wade has been keeping weird animals as pets since he was eight years old when he found an eastern Hercules beetle while camping with his family in Virginia. Since then he has kept and cared for a wide range of arthropods, reptiles and fish. When we first opened the museum in 2013 we primarily had insects and spiders on display but we have since adopted a number of reptiles and amphibians. Our live collection now includes giant lizards, bizarre fish, turtles, snakes and more!
Museum visitors are encouraged to use the flashlights and magnifiers we provide to explore the museum, and they even get a chance to touch and hold some of our friendly and harmless LIVE bugs.
We are also a great resource for schools and educators, and we offer a very affordable group rate for schools, birthday parties and other groups. We can also travel to your location for special programs and displays, please call (505) 695-8569 with questions!