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Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove reopens soon for winter season

Monarch butterflies wintering in Pismo Beach, south of the campground on Highway 1, in January 2015.
Monarch butterflies wintering in Pismo Beach, south of the campground on Highway 1, in January 2015. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

The Pismo State Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove will reopen Nov. 1 with a free special event.

Butterfly grove docents and volunteers will hold “A Brush with Butterflies” to provide local artists, craftspeople and photographers an opportunity to share their butterfly-inspired work, the California Department of Parks and Recreation said.

The event will also feature local musicians, face painting and artwork from Nipomo High School students. It begins at 10 a.m. and closes at 4 p.m., with docents talks at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and a raffle at 3 p.m.

Increasing numbers of butterflies have been arriving at the site, with the season peaking around Thanksgiving and beginning to taper off in early January. Most of the butterflies will be gone by the end of February.

In recent years, the Pismo Beach grove has attracted between 28,000 and 34,000 butterflies, making it one of the premier monarch viewing sites in California. Monarch wintering sites also are found in other areas of coastal San Luis Obispo County, including eucalyptus groves in Nipomo and Morro Bay.

The Monarch Butterfly Grove is located on Highway 1 in southern Pismo Beach and is open through February from 10 am. to 4 p.m. State Parks docents staff the Pismo grove seven days a week to talk with visitors about the monarchs. Lectures are given at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

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