Lodi resident Lola Luvianos glanced skeptically at the cockroach sitting in the palm of Clark Pest Control's Patty Smith.
Luvianos, 2, did not seem to care that Smith was reassuring her the insect would not bite or that it was a vegetarian. Luvianos saw one thing and one thing only: a huge, brown bug.
Stiffly sticking her pointer finger at the cockroach, she tapped it once, twice before glancing back at Smith, still obviously wondering why a bug that was the same size as Luvianos's hand was scary even though it was just sitting there.
Luvianos was one of hundreds of children who wandered the World of Wonders Science Museum's second annual Insectfest to get "bugged" for the day.
Everything from turtles to tarantulas sat and wiggled about as children and their parents awed and even screeched as they learned about insect species hands-on, literally.
For those who were brave enough to spare a hand or two, Naomi Abdaljawad of GBU Enterprises gave kids a lesson about arachnids while they got to touch or hold Pandora, a Chaco Golden Knee tarantula.
Pandora was docile and generally did not mind being touched, Abdaljawad assured those who were not necessarily gun-ho to have a hairy spider slink up their arm.
"Can she bite?" Lodi resident Samantha Lee asked.
"Yes, she can, but I have a mouth too and I can also bite you," Abdaljawad said as she explained that spiders were not as different from humans as some may think.
With the day only half over, museum president Sally Snyde said 600 people had already come into the museum to see the wide array of insects, get their faces painted and check out the different exhibits also on display during the event.
"Everyone seems to love it," she said. "Nothing has escaped, thankfully. They are keeping a pretty good eye on the bugs."
Contact reporter Katie Nelson at firstname.lastname@example.org.