Visitors flocked to the Desert Botanical Garden’s Mariposa Monarca Monarch Butterfly Exhibit, which opened Saturday Sept. 29, and will run through Nov. 25. The exhibit is located inside of the “Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Butterfly Pavilion” where visitors can walk through the butterfly garden and see hundreds of orange and black Monarchs fluttering overhead. The interactive exhibit works to educate visitors about the migration patterns and life of a monarch butterfly.
Monarch butterflies migrate in the millions every year all over North America. They migrate as the seasons change and temperatures drop. Monarchs that live in the Western areas of North America migrate to the California coast for the winter. It takes them around six weeks to make the journey, and they usually arrive to the coast in late October.
While the butterflies in the exhibit are not migrating, they allow an up-close and personal view of them in a warmer environment.
Visitors enter the pavilion through double doors; the second door isn’t opened until the first closes, which prevents the butterflies from leaving the exhibit. Once inside, the garden is filled with a number of different plant species, including different flowers and trees. There is also a small pond dotted with lily pads for the butterflies to enjoy. While the visitors are not supposed to touch the butterflies, they occasionally land on people’s shoulders. As visitors leave they are advised to “check for hitchhiking butterflies” that may have perched on them, unnoticed, as they move through the pavilion.
The Desert Botanical Garden receives shipments of monarch butterflies every week, to keep their population numbers up. Volunteers of the park are located throughout the pavilion where they can answer any questions relating to the butterflies and their habits.
The exhibit is open from Sept. 29 through Nov. 25 and is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. Admission to the exhibit is free for members and children under three, and is $3.50 for the general public along with paid admission to the Desert Botanical Garden.