Monarch Tagging in Des Moines

Des Moines Monarch Tagging 2018

Early fall is the time of year to tag monarchs. There are several programs and events happening in the Des Moines area so you and your family can learn why people tag monarchs, how to do it and actually do it yourself. Take a look at this list of Monarch tagging in Des Moines.

Monarch Tagging, Monarch, Des Moines

Monarch Festival 

Blank Park Zoo

Sunday, September 16; Noon to 4 p.m. 

Have you been monarch tagging? Join the Festival will highlight the miraculous migration of the monarch butterfly and will offer everything from traditional Mexican dancing, monarch tagging and crafts and activities for the whole family. We will even have a Bug Parade, so dress the kids up in their favorite insect costume!

Join the Blank Park Zoo as they celebrate the monarch’s journey from Canada, through Iowa, to the mountains of Mexico!

Des Moines Parks and Recreation 

Thursday, September 6 at 10:30 a.m. at Union Park 

Wednesday, September 12 at 10:30 a.m. at Franklin Community Gardens

Friday, September 14 at Noon at Gray’s Lake Terrace Area

Saturday, September 15 at 10:30 a.m. at Greenwood Park/Sylvan Theater 

Saturday, September 15 at 1 p.m. at Ashby Park 

Sunday, September 16 at Noon at Blank Park Zoo 

Saturday, September 22 at 10:30 a.m. at Water Works Park 

Saturday, September 22 at 1 p.m. at Pappajohn Sculpture Garden

As part of Monarch education and conservation, monarch tagging events will be held at various parks. Learn about Monarch Butterflies, their migration then help tag some butterflies. Monarchs will be captured, tagged with a special identification sticker and released to continue on their journey. The event is free and no registration is required. Everyone is invited to join in and help.

Polk County Conservation

Nature Center

Saturday, September 8 at 10: 30 a.m. 

Learn about one of the world’s most talked about butterflies and what makes them so unique! We will also try our hand at catching and monarch tagging as they migrate to their winter home in Mexico. Come prepared to move around and have some fun! FREE. No registration required.

Butterflies and Brews

Peace Tree – Des Moines

Sunday, September 9

2 to 6 p.m. 

This family-friendly event will be held on the patio at Peace Tree – Des Moines Branch.

Live Monarchs! Activities for all ages! Learn to build a pollinator garden! Make your own seed balls to take home! Face painting! Plant or seed giveaways from Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge.

Monarch Madness

Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge

Saturday, September 15 

9 to 11 a.m. 

Calling citizen scientists of all ages! Neal Smith NWR is looking for volunteers to assist Refuge staff in capturing, tagging, and releasing monarch butterflies. Tagging monarchs help scientists learn more about their fascinating migration. Pre-registration is required and limited to the first 100 participants. Please call
515-994-3400 or email

Warren County Conservation

Buxton Park 

Saturday, September 15 at 1 p.m. 

Come to Buxton Park and discover all about Monarch butterflies, their unusual lifestyle and life cycle and their miraculous migration to Mexico. A Warren County Conservation naturalist will teach you how to catch and handle a monarch, determine gender, and properly tag them in the wild as part of a national research project. All monarchs will be released after they are tagged. Bring a butterfly net if you have one, or share a park net if you don’t.

Fun for the whole family! (under age 12 must be accompanied by an adult). This activity is free, but please pre-register by Friday, September 14, at (515) 961-6169 or visit

**All of these events are also listed on our extensive Des Moines Parent event calendar.


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