In celebration of monarch butterflies, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Bob Moore Subaru are putting their wings together to provide a unique opportunity to learn about, raise awareness for and conserve monarch butterflies and other pollinators, and their natural habitat.
Monarch Awareness Day activities will be held near the Zoo’s Devon picnic areas on Saturday, September 16, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the importance of monarch butterflies and participate in family-friendly activities, including helping the Zoo’s horticulture team create much needed habitat for pollinators in the park, bringing home your own milkweed plant (while supplies last) in exchange for taking the Okies for Monarchs pledge, receiving a free wildflower seed pack (while supplies last) and much more. All event festivities are included with regular Zoo admission.
Monarch butterflies are an imperiled species in need of our help. Over the last 20 years, monarch populations have decreased by about 90%. In 2014, monarchs were petitioned to be listed under the federal Endangered Species Act and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature classified the migratory monarch population as endangered. Monarchs face a number of threats to their populations including habitat loss and the use of pesticides. These butterflies are the first insect to have an Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction program and the Zoo’s Senior Director of Conservation, Science and Education serves on the steering committee for the North American Monarch SAFE program. One way the OKC Zoo is helping monarch populations is by creating habitat for pollinators throughout the park as a monarch waystation. The Zoo also provides the OKC Living Classroom Grant Program encouraging local schools to apply for funds to create pollinator gardens at the schools, which are used as living classrooms to connect students with nature. The OKC Zoo has funded the creation of 28 school gardens to support monarchs on their annual migration and to serve over 13,000 students annually.
OKC ZOO’S MONARCH AWARENESS DAY FACTS
- A single female monarch can lay an average of 300 to 500 eggs in a lifetime.
- The Zoo has funded the creation of over 28 school gardens to support monarchs, and these gardens serve over 13,000 students annually.
- Monarchs have declined by over 90% since the 1970s due to habitat loss and pesticide use.
- A single monarch caterpillar can eat a large milkweed leaf in 5 minutes or less.
- Monarchs taste with their feet and antennae, and the more toxic a milkweed is, the tastier!
- Planting milkweed is an easy way to create habitat for monarchs.
- Oklahoma is in the monarch migratory pathway, and millions of monarchs will migrate through the state every spring and fall.
- Monarchs have true color vision and can see all the colors we can as well as colors in infrared and ultraviolet spectrum.
- Monarchs have been to space! In 2009, caterpillars were brought abroad the International Space Station.
- Pesticides, especially those with neonicotinoids, have contributed to monarch butterfly decline.
Migrate to the OKC Zoo for Monarch Awareness Day! The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with the last entry at 4 p.m. Purchase advance Zoo admission tickets at okczoo.org/tickets and avoid the entry lines. Located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, the OKC Zoo is a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Alliance of Museums, Oklahoma City’s Adventure District and an Adventure Road partner. Regular admission is $16 for adults and $13 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Stay connected with the Zoo on Facebook, X, Instagram, Linktree, Threads and TikTok, and by visiting our blog stories. Looking for a year of Zoo adventures? Consider a 12-month, ZOOfriends Membership Passport to the OKC Zoo providing general admission year-round and exclusive offers while supporting the Zoo’s ongoing animal care and conservation programs. Memberships can be purchased at okczoo.org/membership.