Monarch Butterfly Natural Preserve and Resting Area
Visitors can view the over-wintering Monarchs by walking down the park's wheelchair and stroller-accessible boardwalk to an observation deck in the eucalyptus grove.
Lots of eucalyptus trees were imported from Australia in the 1850s with the hope that these fast-growing trees would provide lumber for coastal development. The splintery wood proved useless as lumber, but the long, slender leaves provided perfect spots for resting monarch butterflies.
Can you spot the two different types of eucalyptus that grow in this park? Both have the aromatic oil with its distinctive odor. The leaves of the red gum (Eucalyptus rostrata) are about five inches long and narrow. Rain leaches acids out of eucalyptus and into the soil, keeping many other species from growing at the base of the trees.
The leaves of the blue gum eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) are a little longer and wider. Butterflies love to cling to the long, narrow leaves. This variety also has large blue seedpods that have a distinctive cross on top-- making them look something like a button.