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John Ball Zoo to release monarch butterflies

The John Ball Zoo is releasing monarch butterflies and hosting family-friendly learning activities on Sept. 9.
Credit: John Ball Zoo

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The John Ball Zoo will release monarch butterflies into the wild for Monarch Day, a special part of its wildlife conservation celebration, on Sept. 9. 

Visitors are welcome to join in viewing the butterflies being released at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the zoo. 

The release is being done as a way to improve the monarchs' population and support conservation of their species. 

“We are so excited to welcome guests to experience the wonder of releasing monarch butterflies into the wild so their population can improve, and they can migrate to wintering grounds in Mexico,” said Dan Hemmann, area curator at John Ball Zoo. “People of all ages can enjoy the events of Monarch Day while learning about why this species is so important.” 

The zoo will also have monarch-related family-friendly activities and learning opportunities from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. to help visitors better understand how pollinators help support the natural environment. 

Disney characters Mirabelle, Rapunzel, Tinkerbell and Fawn will be visiting the zoo to help spread the message on conservation efforts everyone can take to help pollinators.

Other events taking place at the zoo on Monarch Day will include story time with Circle Theatre at 11 a.m., aerial performances by Gemini Circus from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and live music from Kohns from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

There will also be face painting and animal activities throughout the day. 

Tickets for Monarch Day are available online or at the zoo. 

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