Best time to travel to Oklahoma

Monarch Butterfly Migration in Oklahoma

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

Monarch Butterfly Migration
Monarchs in Oklahoma City Zoo
See accommodations nearby

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.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Oklahoma for the monarch butterfly migration?

Late September and early October is the ideal time to visit Oklahoma and witness the monarch butterfly migration. Parks and gardens along the migration route of monarchs, such as in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, provide opportunities to see the beautiful butterflies in swarms. These stops are part of the journey that the monarchs take from their breeding grounds to their overwintering habitats. Show more

Where are the best spots to see the monarch butterfly migration in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma City and Tulsa are the best spots for observing the monarch butterfly migration. Mohawk Park, Oxley Nature Center, Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area, and Honor Heights Park Butterfly House and Gardens in Muskogee are popular locations to see the butterflies. Displays in the Muskogee sanctuary offer knowledge about butterfly species, habitats, and migratory habits as well as how important they are to the ecosystem. Show more

What is the monarch highway in Oklahoma?

Interstate 35 is the monarch highway in Oklahoma where the butterflies travel during their migration. As the butterflies fly from their breeding grounds in the north to their overwintering habitats in Mexico, they take periodic rests at various parks and gardens along the interstate, including Oxley Nature Center, Mohawk Park, and Myriad Gardens. These stops make it a great opportunity for enthusiasts to observe these winged creatures. Show more

Are there any events or festivals dedicated to the monarch butterfly migration in Oklahoma?

Several events and festivals celebrate the monarch butterfly migration season in Oklahoma. Monarchs on the Mountain Festival, held at Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Area in Tulsa, observes the arrival of the monarchs. Blanchard's Monarchs in the Park festival includes activities for children, butterfly plant sale, art exhibitions, demonstrations, and a Parade of Butterflies to celebrate the butterfly season. Show more

Can visitors get educational displays about monarch butterflies in Oklahoma?

Oklahoma has many opportunities for visitors to learn about monarch butterflies. Oxley Nature Center in Tulsa and the Honor Heights Park Butterfly House and Gardens in Muskogee both have exhibitions offering knowledge about the butterfly species, their migration, and their ecological significance. Visitors can join butterfly garden tours at the Myriad Gardens in Oklahoma City during the monarch butterfly season to deepen their understanding about these vibrant creatures. Show more

Ask a question
Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen