Plant.Grow.Fly.

Blank Park Zoo’s Plant.Grow.Fly. pollinator conservation project, its partners, and the Latino Heritage Festival are pleased to announce the 2016 Monarch Festival. The Festival, to be held at Blank Park Zoo on Sunday, September 18 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,” said Jessie Lowry, conservation manager at Blank Park Zoo. “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.”

 "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).

Monarch Festival Activities:

  • 3rd 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 a Monarch Tagging event. 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 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 Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge (limited supply) for Festival-goers so you can create your own butterfly oasis in your yard.
  • The Latino Heritage Festival is Sept. 24 and 25 in Des Moines. Stop by their booth to find out more about the Iowa-Latino connection.
  • Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie and Nevada Mayor Lynn Lathrop will be recognized for signing the Mayors for Monarchs Pledge.

Thank you to our sponsors and supporters: Brevard Zoo, Polk County Conservation, REAP, Wit’s End Gardens, Latino Heritage Festival.

For more information, visit the Plant.Grow.Fly. website. The Leopold Center is a partner of this campaign to increase pollinators in Iowa.