Oklahoma City Zoo’s 5K hoping to help monarch butterflies

A Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is pictured at a butterfly farm in the Chapultepec Zoo in Mexico City on April 7, 2017. Millions of monarch butterflies arrive each year to Mexico after travelling more than 4,500 kilometres from the United States and Canada. / AFP PHOTO / Pedro Pardo (Photo credit should read PEDRO PARDO/AFP/Getty Images)

OKLAHOMA CITY – A fun event that aims to help monarch butterflies is now open to the public.

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden will host the third annual Monarch Madness 5K/Fun Run on Saturday, Sept. 14.

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

All participants will receive a t-shirt, timed bib number, a finisher medal, OKC Zoo Poo compost and free general admission to the zoo that day.

The 5K will begin at 7:30 a.m. and the one-mile fun run kicks off at 8 a.m. Check-in for both begins at 6 a.m.

Once you’re done with the race, participants can enjoy the Monarch Festival from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Money raised from the event will benefit local monarch butterfly conservation efforts. Over the last 20 years, the Monarch butterfly population has declined by more than 80 percent due to habitat loss and pesticide use.

Early-bird registration is $30 for the 5K and $25 for the fun run until July 31. Beginning Aug. 1, race registration will return to its normal rates of $40 for the 5K and $30 for the fun run.

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