Search The
Visit Minnesota Website

Minnesota State Butterfly
The Monarch

The Minnesota State Butterfly is the Monarch butterfly. The Monarch is one of our Minnesota State Symbols. The Monarch is also called the milkweed butterfy because the milkweed is its favorite food. The Monarch was designated as the state butterfly in 1998.

We raised our five kids on a hobby farm in central Minnesota. Milkweed plants were abundant on the farm therefore Monarch butterflies were everywhere in summer.

Sadly, that is no longer the case. The Monarch population has decreased by 90% since the 1990's. This is due to increased population growth in their breeding areas as well as environmental threats.

A good book to help us understand what Monarchs need to survive and thrive is Monarchs and Milkweed

Raise Monarch Butterflys

Minnesota State Butterfly

A favorite activity of our children was to "raise butterflies." Here is how we did this:

  • Use a large 1 quart size glass jar with a lid.
  • Poke holes in the lid.
  • Fill the jar with milkweed.
  • Find a couple of Monarch catterpillars and place them in the jar with the milkweed.
  • Make sure the lid is on tightly. (We had a few escapees over the years.)
Monarch Butterfly
  • The caterpillars will soon spin cocoons (anywhere from 1 - 2 weeks after you place them in the jar.)
  • It will be about another 2 weeks before the Monarch butterlies "hatch."
  • As the Monarch butterfly develops within the cocoon, you will see the chrysalis darken and become somewhat transparent. You will be able to see the orange and black wings.
  • At this point it is just a day or so until the butterfly will emerge.
  • Keep a close watch and, when your butterfly does emerge, give it a while to rest and allow its wings to dry.
  • You can now release your butterfly into the outdoors and enjoy watching it fly.

This photo was taken in September, 2016 by our niece.

You can help save Monarch Butterflys by planting Milkweek in your garden. Learn how: Save Our Monarchs

The Minnesota State Butterfly does what some other residents of the state do in winter. It heads south! While most species of butterfly live their lives in one location, the Monarch is famous for being a migrating butterfly.

They are found as far north as Canada, yet migrate south to Mexico and Baja California.

A Monarch butterfly lives about four weeks so, obviously they do not all make the trip south. Usually there are four cycles, or generations, of Monarchs that hatch during a Minnesota summer. Those who come last are the ones who migrate to a warmer climate. These butterflies fly at a height of up to 400 feet and for up to eighty miles a day to reach the mountains of Mexico. They then spend the winter in semi-hibernation.

Minnesota State Butterfly - The Monarch

We snapped this photo at Dunton Locks recreation area near Detroit Lakes.

Related Pages:

Minnesota State Bird

Minnesota State Fish

Minnesota State Flower

Minnesota State Tree

Minnesota State Flag

Minnesota State Motto

Minnesota State Song

Back to Minnesota State Symbols

Plan Your Minnesota Vacation

Trip Planning - Reviews of all “the best of” deals, prices and attractions for your Minnesota Vacations.

Shop the Largest Collection of Bed and Breakfast Inns at

Minnesota Vacation Rentals by VRBO - Choose a vacation rental in a specific area or get ideas about some of the best Minnesota vacation destinations before you decide. Take a look at some of these fantastic properties and locations for your group of any size.

You'll Find Great Prices on Minnesota Hotels at Hotels.Com

Travel in style. For less than a hotel. Vacation rentals in over 12,000 destinations.

Find Top Vacation Package Deals on


Subscribe to Minnesota Monthly

Only in Minnesota

Minnesota Nice: Adult Coloring Book Full of Minnesota Love

Minnesota Travel Books

Minnesota Entertainment 

Ticket Liquidator: Minnesota Events Tickets and Venues Get deeply discounted tickets on top Minnesota sporting events, concerts, and shows. Timberwolves, Golden Gophers, Top Concerts ....More. Continuously Updated with current ticket offers.

Made in Minnesota

Minnesota Entertainment: Discount tickets to sporting events, concerts and shows. Save up to 50%.

Lodging in Minnesota - Hotels - Resorts - Bed & Breakfast Inns - Vacation Rentals

Minnesota Gifts & Souvenirs

Minnesota Visitor Site Map

About Me

Contact Us

Minnesota Visitor Home Page


For personalized travel information call 888-VISITMN (847-4866)

Minnesota Department of Natural resources 888-646-6367

Minnesota Historical Society 888-777-8386

Judith Ramsey - Publisher
Copyright © 2005 ~ 2018
All Rights Reserved

Amazon Associates Disclosure
 - We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Minnesota State Parks: From Afton to Zippel Bay

Advertise On Visit Minnesota

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Minnesota Explorer.

Advertising Disclosure

Privacy Policy