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Best time to travel to Oklahoma

Monarch Butterfly Migration

Watch swarms of monarchs make a stop in Oklahoma on their way south

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Monarchs, or Danaus plexippus, are among the most recognized butterflies in the U.S., due to their beautiful orange and black wings. Every year these tiny creatures cover amazing distances traveling from their breeding sites in the north to their wintering sites in Mexico and California. Oklahoma lies on monarch migration routes as they head to Mexico. The eastern part of the state is where you have the best chance to spot swarms of beautiful butterflies every fall. Their route runs along Interstate 35 which is jokingly called "the monarch highway".

Monarchs usually pass through Oklahoma from late September to early October, making stops in various parks and gardens. Check out Oxley Nature Center in Tulsa with a monarch nursery and pollinator gardens. The garden offers butterfly walks at 9:30 in the morning on the third Saturday of each month from May through October. Nearby Mohawk Park is another suitable spot to look for butterflies in Tulsa. You can also celebrate the arrival of butterflies with Monarchs on the Mountain, a festival held at the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area in Tulsa. Honor Heights Park Butterfly House and Gardens in Muskogee is another location with a large open-air butterfly sanctuary and plenty of educational displays.

In Oklahoma City, butterflies can often be spotted at the Butterfly Garden in OKC Zoo or at Myriad Gardens, a 15-acre park that hosts butterfly garden tours during the monarch season. Monarchs in the Park is another annual festival in Blanchard, held in the local park. This community festival features art displays, demonstrations, a butterfly plant sale, and a Parade of Butterflies as well as other butterfly-themed kids' activities.

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Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen