The Sam Noble Museum will host a three-day event to celebrate the migration of monarch butterflies starting Sept. 23.
“Monarchs at the Museum” will pay homage to the endangered monarch butterfly who travels 3,000 miles south every fall, as well as the bronze bison at the front of the museum titled “The Monarch of the Prairie." Visitors of all ages will have the opportunity to learn about butterflies native to Oklahoma while enjoying an interactive experience.
Attendees can participate in a butterfly-themed scavenger hunt, a create-your-own suncatcher craft and a photo booth, and will receive a packet of wildflower seeds while supplies last, according to the press release.
Robbie Coyner, the museum’s public programs and facility rentals office coordinator, said this event is the perfect way to kick off the Sam Noble Museum's fall season.
“Migration occurs during the beginning of the fall season and puts everybody into the fall spirit,” Coyner said. “I think, if the weather is beautiful, that this event will encourage people … to appreciate Oklahoma’s nature and the native plants, animals and species that we have around them.”
The event will encourage visitors to register monarch butterfly sightings through Journey North, an organization encouraging scientific thought and appreciation through real-time mappings of animals. Coyner stressed the importance of recording sightings as it helps fuel monarch butterfly conservation efforts.
“(Monarch butterfly maps) allow researchers to better study migration patterns … because their migration patterns show us where we could maybe plant more milkweed seeds … or where we should be doing conservation work,” Coyner said. “It’s an opportunity for the community to give feedback.”
Coyner will also share butterfly facts during the museum’s Storytime at the Sam, which will be held at 11:15 a.m. Sept. 23-24 and at 9:45 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 2:45 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. Sept. 26 in the Great Hall.
“My favorite fact is that the scientific name for monarch butterflies — plexippus — means sleepy transformation,” Coyner said. “It refers to their transformation process that happens in the chrysalis, which is just one reason why I think they are cool.”
The museum will require visitors who are three years or older to wear surgical style masks, per OU’s mandatory masking policy, and will enforce capacity limits within time slots. Time slots will include 9-10:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. to noon, 2-3:30 p.m. and 3:30-5 p.m. Sept. 23-24 and 26.
The 9 a.m. time slots Sept. 24 and 26 will be limited to 25 people for more vulnerable individuals, and the entire building will be disinfected from noon to 2 p.m. each day while the museum is closed.
All activities, including Storytime at the Sam, are free with general admission. Visitors are required to register in advance and can book tickets on the Sam Noble Museum website or by calling Visitor Services at (405) 325-1008.