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Audubon Community Nature Center
The magic of live butterflies makes their exhibits major attractions at botanical gardens and tourist destinations.
You can experience an indoor butterfly garden and many more delights at Audubon Community Nature Center’s (ACNC) Monarch Butterfly Festival on Saturday, August 25.
Beginning at 10 a.m., you can hand-feed the butterflies or wander over to see how citizen scientists tag them to track their migration to Mexico. Observe their life cycle as you examine Monarch eggs, hold caterpillars, and perhaps even see a butterfly emerge from its chrysalis.
Keep in mind that colorful clothes tend to attract the Monarchs, and be prepared for activities both inside and out.
Tour the outdoor butterfly garden and learn how to create one of your own. Then use a net to catch insects around the pond, take a nature hike or self-guided walk, or get a Monarch tattoo.
You can purchase great food from 3 C’s Food Truck.
At 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. you can take a nature walk led by a naturalist. If you stay till the Festival’s close at 4 p.m., you can watch the Monarchs when they are released to fly to Mexico.
Be sure to bring your camera: Getting your picture taken as a giant caterpillar or butterfly is just one of many photo opportunities you won’t want to miss.
Scouts and other children can earn the right to purchase a Monarch Butterfly Fun Patch, available on a first come first served basis. Visit the Welcome Desk at the Nature Center when you arrive for a list of requirements.
You can also explore the Ted Grisez arboretum and additional gardens, exhibits of live fish, reptiles, and amphibians, and Liberty, Audubon’s resident Bald Eagle, in her outdoor home.
The Blue Heron Gift Shop will feature butterfly items from books to t-shirts in addition to the usual treasure trove of puppets, puzzles, jewelry, notecards, handcrafted walking sticks, books and field guides, bird feeders and seed, and locally-produced soaps and edibles.
The once abundant Monarch Butterfly has been disappearing from the landscape in recent years, though it is slowly recovering from record low populations. All Monarchs were hand-raised at ACNC for this event and to increase the local Monarch population.
Festival admission is $8, $6 for Nature Center members and children ages 3–15, and free for two and under. Parking is free.
Groups of ten and more are eligible for special pricing if arrangements are made by Thursday, August 24. Stop by or call (716) 569-2345 during business hours with credit card in hand to register your group. Group rates are not available at the door.
Monarchs and Margaritas, an adult preview of the Festival, is on Friday evening, August 24.
Details of the Festival are at auduboncnc.org/monarchfestival, where reservations for Monarchs and Margaritas can also be made.
Wegmans and Frewsburger Pizza Shop are sponsors of this year’s Monarch Butterfly Festival.
This event is made possible by the dedication of many volunteers, some of whom are registered with RSVP, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program.