Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary
Your group is in for a special treat with this stop, the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Pacific Grove one of the most naturally beautiful and educational places you can visit in the area.
It should be noted, before we go any further, that the butterflies are only here during overwintering/migration season each October - March. Also, during that time, the best viewing times are 12-3 pm daily, when it is the warmest and sunniest.
This sanctuary doubles as a free city municipal park, the preserve filled with pine, cypress, and eucalyptus trees that the monarchs love to cluster together on. There will be thousands of butterflies throughout the sanctuary, these monarchs all a part of the population that lives west of the Rockies. They migrate to the central California coast, and the monarch butterflies east of the Rockies head to the mountains of Central Mexico. The monarchs can fly up to 100 miles a day to get here, at up to 10,000 feet in the air! The most impressive part? They have never been here before, there have been several lifespans since last year during the overwintering season. You can learn much more about the migration process and life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly in general through a free (donations welcome) docent Habitat Chat during your visit.
This spot in Pacific Grove has been ranked the 6th most important overwintering site (2016 study by Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation) out of a whopping 400 sites throughout California. That’s why Pacific Grove has earned the nickname ‘Butterfly Town USA’. There is even a Butterfly Parade each October in honor of their return, a tradition since 1939, and police will fine anybody $1000 for ‘butterfly molestation’.