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Blank Park Zoo Monarch Festival


Blank Park Zoo’s Plant.Grow.Fly. pollinator conservation project, its partners, and the Latino Heritage Festival are pleased to announce the 2017 Monarch Festival. The Festival, to be held at Blank Park Zoo on Sunday, September 17 from 12-4 p.m., will be a celebration of the monarch’s journey from Canada, through Iowa, to Mexico.

“Each fall, the iconic monarch butterfly sets it sights on the mountains of Mexico. They travel, en masse, through our state on a journey that can be over 2,000 miles long. We are honored to partner with the Latino Heritage Festival, to highlight the importance of this butterfly to our two countries,” said Jessie Lowry, conservation manager, Blank Park Zoo.

“We are excited to partner with Blank Park Zoo to bless the monarch butterflies on their long journey to Mexico. According to local legend, the monarchs arriving in Mexico this time of year are believed to be the souls of our ancestors returning home,” said Joe Gonzalez, executive director, Latino Resources (oversees Latino Heritage Festival).

This year, a giant “Chinese dragon” style caterpillar will appear in the Festival’s signature Bug Parade at 2 p.m.. 

Monarch Festival Activities:

Prep Iowa
  • 4th Annual Children’s Bug Parade Come dressed as your favorite insect, wear your wings, your orange and black, antennae or make your costume at the Zoo. There will be special prizes for First and Second place Best Costumes.
  • Polk County Conservation will be leading Insect Hunts and Monarch Tagging. They will demonstrate how to safely catch monarch butterflies to attach a tag. If these special monarchs are found in Mexico, they can help scientists track the migration.
  • Numerous Plant.Grow.Fly. partners will be represented at the Festival offering hands-on activities, demonstrations and crafts for the whole family.
  • Los Ninos del Tepeyac – Danza Folklorica is a dance group dedicated to learning and teaching about the Mexican culture through dance.  This group will be performing at the Festival.
  • Spend time exploring our Butterfly Garden and experience traditional Mexican music by Mariachi Azteca.
  • Families and kids of all ages will be encouraged to take part in an interactive performance workshop called “Follow That Monarch!” by Carol Taylor’s Patchwork Puppets. 
  • There will be free milkweed seeds available provided by Blank Park Zoo and People for Pollinators  (limited supply) for Festival-goers.
  • The Latino Heritage Festival is Sept. 24 and 25 in Des Moines

Thank you to our sponsors and supporters: Wit’s End Gardens, Blooming Prairie Nursery, Art Junkie, Latino Heritage Festival.

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