The seventh annual Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival, a month-long celebration inspired by the monarch butterfly during its peak migration season in San Antonio, takes flight this October.

The FREE festival returns this fall with more than a dozen events that culminate in a live celebration at Brackenridge Park October 8, 10 AM – 2 PM.

The family friendly celebration salutes science, community, art and education and includes monarch butterfly tagging demos, a Forever Journey altar built by local artist Terry Ybañez, a story walk, a hands-on monarch butterfly migration obstacle course, native plant and tree adoptions, and dozens of educational booths and vendors.

The Caterpillar Train will kick off the celebration. With help from MP Studios, the beloved San Antonio Zoo locomotive that many San Antonians will recall riding as children, has been recast as a distinctive black-white- and yellow-striped monarch butterfly caterpillar. The train will roll through the park for an inaugural ride at 10 AM on Festival day October 8, followed by a People for Pollinators Parade. Participants are encouraged to “get their wings on.”

“Brackenridge Park is thrilled to host the 2022 Monarch Butterfly & Pollinator Festival,” said Brackenridge Park Conservancy Director of Development and Special Events Lynn Osborne Bobbitt. “The Park means so much to the people, plants and animals in this city so we look forward to being a home to free and fun educational events like this.”

“Just as San Antonio sits in the heart of the migratory flyway for monarch butterflies and other wildlife, Brackenridge sits in the heart of our city. It makes for an ideal roost for this year’s Festival,” said Monika Maeckle, Festival founder and director of the Texas Butterfly Ranch.

She added that forecasts for this year’s monarch butterfly migration, which is already underway, are sobering. “Between the late freeze and the scorching drought, the monarchs will be tapping their resilience this season,” she said.

Since its founding in 2016, the Festival’s goal has been to raise understanding and appreciation of the insect pollinators that make one of every three bites of our food possible, underscore our inherent interconnectedness, encourage the use of native nectar and host plants in gardens and landscapes, and reinforce San Antonio’s strategic role in the monarchs’ annual migration as the First Monarch Butterfly Champion City in the nation.

The Festival was celebrated for four years at the Pearl, went virtual in 2020 because of the pandemic, and last year took flight at Confluence Park. Each year thousands turn out for Festival day and many more enjoy virtual and live events throughout what has become “Pollinator Month” in San Antonio.

The Festival is made possible by the generous support of the The Brackenridge Park Conservancy, the John and Florence Newman Foundation, the Winkler Family Foundation, the Joan and Herb Kelleher Charitable Foundation, San Antonio River Authority, SAWS, San Antonio Creative City of Gastronomy/WHO, the San Antonio Zoo, Rainbow Gardens, Pollinatives, Brush Country Photo Safari, CPS Energy, and Katy and Ted Flato. In-kind supporters include MP Studios, Douglass King Seeds Company, and the DoSeum.

Check the Texas Butterfly Ranch Festival page for a complete schedule of this year’s events.

Festival Highlights Below:

Caterpillar Condos for Classrooms

“Caterpillar condos” will be awarded to 75 Title-1 classrooms in San Antonio following a monarch teacher training on Sept. 24 at the Witte Museum. Videos developed by Blooming with Birdie will help students understand the monarch’s metamorphosis as it moves through its life cycle. Students will then tag and release the butterfly to join the migration in October.

Want your own condo or to help get this program into more classrooms? Read more here.

Sponsored by Valero

Forever Journey: a Celebration of our Loved Ones
Each fall, monarch butterflies arrive in the high altitude forests west of Mexico City in time for Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos. We’ll honor this tradition by tagging hundreds of butterflies in the names of loved ones who died. Those names will be entered on the data sheets sent to citizen science project Monarch Watch with the hope that the butterflies are recovered in Mexico.

Those interested in honoring someone who died by having a monarch tagged in their name, please fill out this form. If your loved one’s butterfly makes it to Mexico, is recovered, and reported, we’ll let you know.

Sponsored by HEB

THANK YOU EVENT: Deep in the Heart Screening and Mezcal Tasting 
Thursday,  Oct. 6, 5:30 – 9 PM

Japanese Tea Garden

This event thanks the dozens of community members who make our Festival happen each year. Festival partners and sponsors will enjoy a Q&A with Skip Hobbie, chief photographer of Deep in the Heart, a wildlife documentary narrated by Matthew McConaughey, as well as insights from bat ecologist Nathan Fuller on the role of bats in the ecosystem and a sip of Mezcal. San Antonio Report founder Robert Rivard will moderate, followed by a screening of the film.  INVITATION ONLY

Underwritten by the Winkler Foundation and UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy

Monarch Butterfly & Pollinator Festival at Brackenridge Park 
Saturday,  Oct. 8, 10 AM -2 PM at the Pecan Grove, south of the Train Depot


After an inaugural Caterpillar Train ride and a People for Pollinators Parade kick off the festivities, monarch butterfly tagging will take place throughout the day.  Festival goers can tag a butterfly for citizen science in honor of someone who died, run the monarch migration obstacle course, pay our respects at the Forever Journey altar and enjoy myriad educational events and family fun by our education partners.

Started in 2016 in response to the City of San Antonio taking the National Wildlife Federation’s Mayor’s Monarch Pledge, the Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival is a community wide collaboration of private sector companies, government and nonprofit agencies, and devoted volunteers.

Sponsored by Brackenridge Park Conservancy