Presented by Bob Moore Subaru, the third annual Monarch Madness 5K/Fun Run and the annual Monarch Festival are set for Saturday at the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden. Monarch butterflies are in peril as their population has declined by more than 80 percent over the last two decades, due to habitat loss and pesticide use.

Instead of circling the zoo like previous Monarch Madness runs, this year’s 5K course will take runners into and through the OKC Zoo with several surprises along the course. 

The 5K is an officially timed run that includes a course simulating the epic journey monarchs take from Canada to Mexico, with themed stops along the way. The zoo also encourages runners to come dressed in butterfly costumes and accessories — the crazier the better! 

The timing of the event coincides with the period of time when monarch butterflies migrate south through Oklahoma to their overwintering grounds in Mexico. 

All participants receive a T-shirt, a timed bib number, a finisher medal, OKC Zoo Poo compost and free general admission to the zoo that day. Check-in begins at 6 a.m., the 5K starts at 7:50 a.m. and the Fun Run kicks off at 8 a.m.  In addition to presenting sponsor Bob Moore Subaru, Monarch Madness sponsors include News9, Tyler Media, COOP Ale Works, OG&E, Pepsi and Red Coyote Running and Fitness.

The day’s festivities continue with the Monarch Festival from 9 a.m. to noon.

The goal of the Monarch Festival is to educate zoo guests about the decline of monarchs and to inspire them to take action to save this iconic species by learning to create habitat for them in public gardens, neighborhoods or their own backyard. Festival activities are free with Zoo admission.

Festival activities will take place in the entry plaza and around the zoo’s Butterfly Garden, a 20,000-square-foot habitat designed to host monarchs and other pollinators. As the largest, walk-through outdoor butterfly garden in Oklahoma, the garden is a beautiful collection of more than 15,000 plants which sustain the complete life cycle of butterflies.

Community partners participating in the festival include: Oklahoma Native Plant Society, Okies for Monarchs, Oklahoma Conservation Commission, Oklahoma Garden Clubs Inc., Oklahoma Sierra Club, OK Compost, ibleedheART and illustrator Joshua Brunet.

At the ZooZeum through Saturday, Follow the Monarchs is a traveling art display featuring thousands of paper butterflies mimicking the monarch migration. The exhibit also features butterfly-themed art created by local artists. The ZooZeum is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily.

Run so they can fly! Located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, the zoo is a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Alliance of Museums, Oklahoma City’s Adventure District and an Adventure Road partner. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Regular admission is $11 for adults and $8 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children 2 and under are admitted free.

Stay up to date with the zoo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and by visiting Our Stories. Zoo fans can support the OKC Zoo by becoming Oklahoma Zoological Society members at ZOOfriends.org or in person at the zoo! To learn more about these and other happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit okczoo.org.

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