Welcome Back Monarchs

Male Monarch Butterfly (1/15/06) © John Poimiroo

Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz, CA celebrates the return of the Monarch butterflies on Sunday, October 10 (10/10/10) from 10 a.m. (of course) to 4 p.m.

Children will be dressing up in butterfly costumes for the annual parade, with live music by the 5M’s Band (does M stand for Monarch?), hand-cranked “Monarch” ice cream (we’re sure no butterflies are in it, cause they say it’s made from pumpkins, active learning games for kids, butterfly crafts, Monarch stories and science and guided tours of the Monarch grove.

Other locations along the California Coast to see wintering Monarch butterflies (they usually hang around to early March) are Lighthouse Point in Santa Cruz, Ardenwood Farm Park in Fremont, Pacific Grove and Pismo Beach.

What amazes visitors and biologists alike is that the Monarchs (danaus plexippus) have so short a life span (six weeks to six months) that it is their progeny (great, great grandchildren) who return to the same winter roosting sites.  Why they do this is no mystery, but how they return to the same locations is puzzling.

For more about Natural Bridges State Park’s Welcome Back Monarchs Day, call 831-423-4609.

Photo Credit: © 2006, John Poimiroo