Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary Is Home To Southern California's Largest Butterfly House
Pacific Grove, Southern California, is dubbed “Butterfly Town, U.S.A” due to thousands of monarchs that overwinter in the region each year. Residents of the community are so protective and welcoming of these winged creatures that they voted to pay an additional tax to establish the Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary. And not to be outdone, the Pacific Grove Police Department implemented a $1000 fine to prohibit the “molestation of butterflies.”
Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary is a municipal park located in Monterey County, at 250 Ridge Road off the Lighthouse Avenue in downtown Pacific Grove. It’s open for public viewing from sunrise to sunset, at no cost to visitors.
We recommend that you visit between noon and 3 p.m., weather permitting, when a docent is present to answer questions about the monarchs, their migration, clustering behavior, nature, and lifespan. The knowledge they impart can enhance your viewing experience.
You can join the audio-guided tour that runs along a trail equipped with interpretive signs, helping you to learn more about the monarchs in their natural habitat. You can also visit the in-house gallery for themed gifts, vintage artifacts, live-specimen exhibitions, and educational videos.
Monarchs migrate to the sanctuary in October and cluster in overwintering sites on cypress, pine, and eucalyptus trees. Their population peaks exponentially toward late November and early December. February ushers the monarchs into the mating season; they leave the sanctuary around early March.
When clustered high in the trees, monarchs resemble dead leaves to the untrained eye. But when the sun is high, they spread their wings and cruise the wind, a stunning sight that is worth waiting all afternoon to capture and enjoy.
Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary accepts donations as it’s run by a team of volunteers, from the grounds caretakers to the docent.
It’s essential to observe the monarch viewing etiquette of the sanctuary to create a better experience for all. Have you been to this butterfly sanctuary? Let us know your experience in the comments!
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250 Ridge Rd, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, USA