GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Join John Ball Zoo as they celebrate monarchs in the fall before they take flight for their migration south to Mexico for the winter. 

Learn about this amazing journey with a public release of tagged Monarchs, crafts and information about how you can help the Monarchs on their journey. 

Monarch releases will occur on the hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on August 24. Enter your name for a chance to release a Monarch (entries are collected 15 minutes prior to each release at Central Plaza in the Zoo) or purchase a Monarch to guarantee your chance to release one of these amazing butterflies. 

To purchase your Monarch Butterfly to Release at John Ball Zoo visit here

Monarch releases tickets are $6 each. 

To help Monarch butterflies for folks at home, monarchs need habitat to find food, lay eggs and be a caterpillar. 

You can help these butterflies by adding milkweed to your gardens or by creating a full butterfly way-station. A way-station has everything butterflies need for their entire life cycle.

Milkweed plants play a vital role in the life cycle of a monarch as it is the only plant that eggs will be laid on and that caterpillars will eat! After forming a chrysalis and emerging as a butterfly, they will need nectar producing flowers to feed on until they are able to start the cycle again. To find out more about how you can help visit a Journey North Monarch Butterflies.  

Butterfly lovers can also sponsor a Monarch butterfly through Animals! Animals!, John Ball Zoo's animal sponsorship program. 

John Ball Zoo's mission is to inspire people to be active participants in the conservation of wildlife and our natural environment. The zoo cares for more than 1,300 animals representing 200 species. 

By sponsoring a Monarch today, your sponsorship will support animals at John Ball Zoo as well as animals around the world through our Conservation Fund. 

John Ball Zoo also offers a variety of fall classes for kids and families. The zoo has sprout classes that meet on Thursdays and Fridays for 3 and 4 year-old children. 

For kids ages 4-10 can enjoy an evening of Zoo tours, fun, and games at a Kid's Night Out program. Wizard fans in grades 3-8 can spend the night at the Zoo while learning how to take care of magical creatures during a youth overnight. 

Families can enjoy a small group tour as well of nocturnal animals on a Twilight Tour. 

But the Zoo isn't just for kids anymore! On Aug. 22 is Rock, Roar, and Pour, a 21 and over evening event that gives you the opportunity to experience the Zoo like you never have before, at night, with adult beverages, and without any kids. 

There will be beer, wine, and cider for purchase, savory foods from the grill as well as delicious concession options, live music from The WhatNots, animal encounters, and much more!

Tickets are $20 and available online at or can be purchased at the gate. 

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