Free family fun at the Bee & Butterfly Festival

Photo of a child with a butterfly mask on

The live monarch tagging is always a hit at the annual Bee & Butterfly Festival at the Dickinson County Nature Center, and this year’s festival will feature live animals as well.

The Great Plains Zoomobile from Sioux Falls, SD, will bring four live animals for a featured presentation during the Friday, Sept. 1, festival.

“Adapted to the Habitat is a program when we discuss four different habitats and the adaptations animals have to survive in that habitat,” said Leigh Spencer, education services manager for the Great Plains Zoo.

An education specialist with the zoo will bring four animals from four different habitats — whether that be desert, wetland, forest, ocean, prairie or urban — and will discuss how those animals survive. Then the audience will have the opportunity to come forward to touch one of the featured animals.

“They will get an idea of the habitats in our world and how each animal survives,” Spencer said.

The Adapted to the Habitat program will be at 6:30 p.m. in the outdoor amphitheater, and although it is tailored to elementary-aged children, Spencer said the program has been given to all ages, and even adults love learning about and getting up close to the live animals.

Many other speakers and events will also be happening during Bee & Butterfly Festival which runs from 4-8 p.m. Sept. 1.

The entertainment schedule will begin with a presentation at 4:30 p.m. by Anita Westphal, the butterfly wing assistant at Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University in Ames. Then at 5:30 p.m. Jessie Lowry, the conservation manager at Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, will talk about their Plant.Grow.Fly. pollinator program and how we can all make a difference in bringing back pollinator populations.

“Monarch butterfly populations have decreased up to 90 percent in the last few decades, and we’re working hard to bring about awareness to this fact and about how we can all help our butterfly and bee friends,” said Kiley Roth, community relations coordinator with the Dickinson County Conservation Board. “We’re so excited to have Anita and Jessie talk to our audiences about their involvement with butterflies and pollinators in general and also to have the up-close experience with animals that the Great Plains Zoomobile provides.”

Photo of a little girl holding a monarch

Also from 4-7 p.m. will be monarch butterfly tagging, bee- and butterfly-themed crafts in the outdoor tent, vendor tables, tours through Pollinator Paradise and outdoor games. The Farm to Fork food truck will be on site for those who want to purchase dinner, and cotton candy will also be for sale with proceeds going to the Pollinator Paradise addition at the Dickinson County Nature Center.

Plus, Sweetie the Bee will take pictures with kids and adults throughout the event, and anyone who meets her will get a free honeystick.

The Bee & Butterfly Festival will culminate with a honey extraction demonstration by Boernsen Bees at 7:15 p.m. in the lower level of the Dickinson County Nature Center. Seating will be limited and will be allowed on first come, first served basis.

For more information on the Bee & Butterfly Festival and other Dickinson County Nature Center programming, visit our environmental education page or call 712-336-6352. You can also keep up with the latest happenings on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Graphic about the Bee & Butterfly Festival

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