Monarch Butterflies of Pismo Beach

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Written By: Savannah Meetze

Have you ever gazed up at a fluttering butterfly and wondered where it settles down to sleep? I think about these things and was excited to finally find out where. Thousands of monarch butterflies travel each year to Pismo State Beach Butterfly Grove, clustering up in  the shady cypress and pine trees for a winter rest from November to February.

These butterflies travel thousands of miles from places like Canada, Mexico, Oregon, Washington, and even the East Rocky Mountains to land here on the central coast. All I had to do was drive 15 minutes down the 101 South to see them. The grove has free parking , free entry, and is staffed by super friendly docents from 10am-4pm who are well versed on the butterflies’ habits. More informative talks are given at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

I got there pretty early in the morning, so, because of the cold, the butterflies were clumped higher in the tops of the trees. From afar, the butterflies are hard to see, they appear to be darker clumps of leaves on the trees. Definitely be sure to take a look in the telescopes for a better view! The docents set these up, giving you a zoomed in view of the butterflies. Once I saw the individual wings I was amazed at how many there were up there. It was quite difficult, but I managed to get a photo through the telescope. So beautiful!

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Check out this video produced by Rylin Lindahl, Agricultural Communication student.


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