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Arboretum invites public to flutter by Monarch celebration

The vibrant colors of fall at The North Carolina Arboretum would not be complete without the annual visitation of monarch butterflies, and on Saturday, Sept. 30, the Arboretum will welcome these fascinating creatures with the return of Monarch Butterfly Day.

The arboretum’s first Monarch celebration since 2019, the event features fun and informative activities for children and adults alike. 

Monarch butterflies are especially visible and identifiable due to their striking coloration and patterns, and are famous for their annual migration, traveling thousands of miles from the northern United States and Canada to their wintering grounds in Mexico. Because of the arboretum’s location along the eastern migratory route, and its abundance of important pollinators like milkweed, the garden is an ideal rest stop for traveling monarchs.

Guests at Monarch Butterfly Day will be able to observe monarch butterflies in various life stages as well as connect with organizations devoted to preservation and support of monarch butterflies, while learning how they themselves can participate in conservation. Kids can enjoy art and craft activities while the Arboretum’s Adult Education program will offer a free class from Blue Ridge Naturalist Instructor Dan Lazar on this amazing migration.

Inside the Baker Exhibit Center, attendees can get a first look at “Monarchs and Milkweed,” an immersive, multimedia experience running Sept. 30 through Jan. 7 that examines the relationship between these two species and how they have developed to depend on one another for survival. 

This year’s festivities also coincide with the second day of the Fall Plant Sale and Market on Sept. 29 and 30. The twice-a-year plant sale has become a special destination not only for exploring unique plants grown by dozens of local farmers and from the arboretum’s greenhouses, but also for enjoying live music, food, and fellowship.

The plant sale, as well as all Monarch Butterfly Day activities, classes and talks, are included with an Arboretum parking pass, with no pre-registration required. As always, North Carolina Arboretum Society members get in free. For more information about Monarch Butterfly Day, as well as all of the North Carolina Arboretum’s displays, events, programming and more, please visit