Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary, Pacific Grove, CA

A couple of days back, we decided to get our lazy selves outdoors and took a quick trip to Monterey - Big Sur and the 17-mile drive - nothing really too out of the way of the usual tourist places nearby.  While in Monterey, though, we read about the Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary in Pacific Grove and we just had to check out the place.

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monarch butterfly grove sanctuary pacific monterey bay city california tourism places to go tourism trips weekend

What's special about this place are butterflies - and there just so many of them, they hang in clumps from tall pine trees!  Every year from October to February,, monarch butterflies migrate into the Pacific Grove area to tide over the winter.  How these butterflies travel nearly 2000 miles and know to find the way to this place every year is one of nature's many mysteries (scientists believe they follow the earth's magnetic fields), but we seemed to have landed there at the right time :D

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It is quite easy to miss noticing these butterflies, especially if you land there early morning, since they hang in clumps from really tall trees - clumping together helps them stay warm, and they start flying around by around noon when the sun is out with its warmth.  The butterflies with their wings closed look like dried brownish leaves and blend in with their surroundings.  I was lucky to be able to zoom in with my camera to see a bit more clearly.  I added a few more photos, but if seeing butterflies up close creeps you out, you would be better off not scrolling down :P :P

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monarch butterfly grove sanctuary pacific monterey bay city california tourism places to go tourism trips weekend

While I amn't too fond of insects in general, these were quite far away, and it's quite an amazing sight to see so many butterflies together.  The photos might seem a bit too close for comfort, but in reality the only way you can see them so close is if you get to watch them through telescopes.  If you are in the Monterey area during October-February, do take the time to go to the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary - you will definitely come back a bit awed :)

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Directions:  Are a bit iffy, and it's best to just look for the Butterfly Grove Inn that is right next to this small grove.
1073 Lighthouse Avenue,
Pacific Grove,
CA 93950 USA

Best time to go:  October-February (12 - 3 there will be volunteers there with telescopes, so it's easier to spot the butterflies).  Wear some warm clothes, is quite cold under the trees.  Oh, and it's a $1000 fine if you "molest a butterfly in anyway."