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Monarch Butterfly Program


Note: The Monarch Butterfly Program is moving to El Cajon.
         They are currently closed. Stay tuned for updates.


monarch butterfly

The Monarch Butterfly Program in Encinitas was established in 1991 and, since then, has wow'ed thousands of school-aged children. The modest facility hosts educational programs, field trips, and on-site visits. It's a small facility, but adults love it too.



monarch butterfly

What to Expect

Call to make an appointment: a docent will be there to show you around. First the docent will show you the different kinds of butterflies found in the San Diego area. There are over 100 butterfly species here including the Western Pygmy Blue which is the smallest butterfly in North America.



monarch butterfly

Next, you can see (and hold) live caterpillars. This is followed by a 15 minute instructional video depicting the life cycle of a butterfly. There is a revealing, time-lapsed footage of a caterpillar as it metamorphosizes into a chrysalis and then into a butterfly.



monarch butterfly

After the show, you are led to the vivarium. The vivarium is an enclosure with a netted roof (so the butterflies don't escape). The enclosure is prettily landscaped with flowers, plants, a small pond, a walking path, and benches. You may walk around or sit and enjoy the fluttering butterflies. More photo.



monarch butterfly

Watermelon or similar fruits are strategically placed and butterflies will visit these to drink the sugar water. This is one of the best times to photograph the butterflies. If you like, you can hold a watermelon and a butterfly may land on it - a great photo op!

Generally, butterflies are more active on warm days, this makes them hard to photograph. On cool days, butterflies are more restive.



monarch butterfly

Look up along the framework: chrysalids are attached to the undersides of wooden posts. If you are lucky, you may see a butterfly emerge from its chrysalis. Note that a "cocoon" is a term used for moths whereas the term "chrysalis" is used for butterflies.



monarch butterfly

monarch butterfly

monarch butterfly

monarch butterfly



The Monarch Program also has a 2,200 sq. ft. greenhouse where plants that sustain a butterfly's life cycle are grown. These include flowering plants for adult butterflies and host plants for a variety of caterpillars. More photos.

The Monarch butterfly program sells butterflies and plants that sustain them. The Monarch butterflies are available all year round but the other species are available in spring, summer, & autumn.
Larvae are $2 - $5 each.
Pupae are $4 - $7.
Plants are $2 - $18.

All in all, the Monarch Butterfly Program in Encinitas makes for a pleasant day trip. You can easily finish the entire tour in one hour. But don't stop there: walk or drive to the local park and let the kids run and play. Orpheus Park is a well-groomed playground with a view of the Pacific Ocean in the distance. Pack a lunch or snack and make a day of it! More photo.


Location

Monarch Butterfly Program
450 Ocean View Ave. (map)
Encinitas, CA 92024
(760) 944-7113, (619) 466-0689

Note: this facility is located in a residential area with limited parking. Please be respectful of neighborhood and do not park illegally.


Hours of Operation

Summer: open to the public: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday
11 am to 3 pm by appointment only

Winter: open to the public on Saturdays
11 am to 3 pm by appointment only


Cost

adults $6  :  teens $5  :  children $4
toddlers under 2 are free
The sale of butterflies & plants, and the price of admission are treated as a donation to the Monarch Program.



Did you know that Southern California is the overwintering site for thousands of Monarch Butterflies? So, if know where & when to look AND you are lucky, you can see clusters of wild Monarchs hibernating on tree branches. Read more about this phenomena here.










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Information is accurate at time of publication but can change without notice.