Ocean Breeze Park
Monarch Butterflies in New York City - Ocean Breeze Park
The monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) may seem to be one of the most delicate creatures alive. But despite its frail appearance, every year the monarch makes a long and perilous journey thousands of miles south to escape the harsh winters of the North. While on this journey, the monarch can often be seen at Ocean Breeze Park.
The monarch butterfly begins its migration in September and travels for 30-45 days. Monarchs originating east of the Rocky Mountains and as far north as Canada make their way to the quiet, cool mountains of the Transvolcanic Region in central Mexico, about 60 miles west of Mexico City in the state of Michoacan. Migrating monarchs can be observed along the City’s beaches and coastal parks. Monarchs from New York City travel as much as 2,100 miles, averaging 50 miles a day, to reach their destination by the end of October. Resting in the chilly treetops, the butterflies hibernate for four months, covering oyamel fir trees (Abies religiosa) in thick layers that resemble black and orange leaves. During this period, the monarchs sit quietly with their wings folded, living off of fat reserves.
When the weather warms, usually in March, the monarchs come out of hibernation and mate. After mating, they begin their return trip to the southern United States. There they lay their eggs on milkweed (Asclepiadaceae) plants and die, entrusting their offspring to fend for themselves. The milkweed is an important food source for monarch caterpillars. As the larvae gorge themselves on the leaves, they accumulate the milkweed’s toxic cardiac glycosides and become poisonous to birds and other predators. An unknowing bird that tries to eat a monarch soon finds out how distasteful these butterflies are and vomits it up, and the bird learns to avoid the monarch’s distinctive colors. Many other species of butterfly, such as the harmless viceroy (Limenitis archippus), mimic the colors of the monarch with the hopes that predators will avoid them too.
After about a month of feeding, the caterpillars pupate and metamorphose into adults. The adult monarchs continue the journey north and also lay eggs. By late June, the third generation of monarchs reaches New York City, and, by August, their offspring reach Canada. This fourth generation spends its time storing energy from nectar so they can make the long journey to Mexico in September.
How monarchs are able to navigate their way across unfamiliar terrain is unknown. Some speculate that the butterflies rely on the earth’s magnetic field for guidance, while others believe that the directions are embedded into the monarch’s genetic code. Whatever the reason, the monarch remains one of the City’s most beautiful and enchanting sights. Visitors to Ocean Breeze Park can often enjoy a glimpse of monarch butterflies as they travel through the city.
Directions to Ocean Breeze Park
Know Before You Go
Ocean Breeze Track & Field Athletic Complex
Please be advised that Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex will be open from 8:30am - 11:00am on both Saturday and Sunday, October 29th and 30th. The facility will open at its normal scheduled time but be closing early at 11:00am. Ocean Breeze will be hosting a Halloween Event all weekend starting at 12pm on each day.
All programming and classes for the 29th and 30th have been cancelled.
As an alternative, please join us for our Halloween festivities over the course of the weekend. Further information is available on OceanBreezeNYC.org.
Anticipated Completion: 10/31/2016
Ocean Breeze Park Weather
- NYC Parks and AT&T Expand Free Public Wi-Fi and Solar Mobile Charging in Parks and at Beaches Citywide
- NYC Parks Opens New Theraputic Horse Riding Arena On Staten Island
- NYC Parks Announces 2015-2016 Meet Schedule For New Ocean Breeze Track & Field Athletic Complex
- Instructional Flag Football
- Instructional Flag Football
- Ocean Breeze Halloween Festival: Halloween Movie Night
- Ocean Breeze Halloween Festival
- Ocean Breeze Halloween Festival: Haunted Trails
- Monarch Butterflies In New York City - Ocean Breeze Park