Western Monarch Day in Pismo Beach

It's a joyful bash that's about as butterfly-y as bashes get.

PERFECT PEN PALS: Human beings have long longed to connect with other people across the planet, and, prior to the internet, that connection frequently happened through the act of sitting down and writing a letter and then awaiting a letter in return. Becoming a pen pal to a person in another city or country was an act built on friendship, curiosity, and joy, qualities we humans often find in the critters who share our world (not a stretch and 100% true). And if there was ever a pair of critters that would make an excellent pen pal duo, it's the groundhog and the Monarch butterfly. Now, wait, hear us out: Both have a way of delightfully dominating our affections in the early part of February 'round the U.S., which is not a time of year when we're spending much time outside. But Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog who seeks his shadow every second of February, is busily capturing our attention right around then, and the Monarch butterflies of the Central California Coast rule at the start of the month, too, thanks to...

WESTERN MONARCH DAY: The happening, which will flutter around Pismo State Beach on Saturday, Feb. 4, will have a bevy of butterfly-nice to-dos. Those to-dos include informative talks about the wing-rocking celebrities, crafty activities for the younger set, and more. It's a party for the all-important migratory visitors, in short, and for we humans to get to know them better. So what would two pen pals, a Monarch butterfly in California and a groundhog in Pennsylvania, tell each other about their big early-February bashes? Well, the pen pals might share how it feels to be in the spotlight, we imagine, and perhaps some ruminations on the nature of time (given that Punxsutawney Phil is predicting the length of winter and the Monarch butterflies' California stay is nearly done by February). They're two of our nature-sweet February superstars, that's for sure, but if Pennsylvania isn't in your travel plans, make for Pismo Beach to pay homage to the thousands of butterflies in wintertime residence.

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