Gibson Mariposa Butterfly Park


4140 Gibson Road, El Monte, CA 91731

Date built: 2006 – 2012

As one of the parks making up the Emerald Necklace located in East Los Angeles County, the intent of the Gibson Mariposa Butterfly Park project was to create a 4.5 acre facility which exemplified sustainable design principals and outlined a new model for municipal parks. Our community based design utilized input from area residents and city officials to determine the elements and themes incorporated in the park design featuring butterfly habitat and culturally relevant outdoor education areas and innovative play areas for children of all ages.

The butterfly-themed $2.935 million Gibson Mariposa Butterfly Park opened on March 10th, 2012, featuring a splash pad water playground, basketball courts, picnic areas, a small amphitheater and restrooms; it is the 11th park in the city of El Monte, CA. The landscaping includes environmentally friendly native plants and a watershed design for storm water collection and distribution throughout the park.

Community Involvement Monarch Butterfly

The Gibson Mariposa Butterfly park began with a letter writing campaign by a group of  Shirper Elementary School fifth-graders in 2003, urging city officials to convert a neglected space area in their neighborhood into a park. The Outreach Campaign helped residents to emphasize the need and importance of a park. Mothers and children decorated the fence around the lot with paper butterflies and flowers.  The community set up a steering committee, which branched out to form their own Mujeres de la Tierra, to discuss the update and progress of the park.  The park was renamed Mariposa Park after the butterflies.

The City of El Monte teamed up with the Trust for Public Land and Amigos de los Rios to acquire the site through state funding. Thanks to Proposition 40, the 2002 Resources Bond Act for safe neighborhood parks, the city acquired the industrial site to begin construction and park design. During the community’s patience, 220 mothers heavily participated in the park design and advocacy process.

Project Team:   Amigos de los Rios with VCA Engineers, David Evans & Associates, SGM Design Labs, Randy Montgomery, Capital Steel Fabricators Park Funding: California State Parks, Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, Rivers and Mountain Conservancy and the City of El Monte

Gibson Mariposa Butterfly Park Design Elements:

Gibson Mariposa Park walkway

Gibson Mariposa Native Plants

Habitat-Plant Palette

Park Wildlife –     

Design Plan

The Emerald Necklace Map


Gibson Mariposa Butterfly Park includes:

Educational Elements

  • Landscaping – grass playing field
  • Two basketball half-courts
  • Picnic areas w/ shade
  • Educational kiosk
  • Natural habitat areas
  • Indoor/outdoor classroom
  • meeting room for Mujeres de la Tierra
  • Playhouse structure
  • Splash-pad
  • Jog path
  • Water fountain

To keep the parks and trails of the Emerald Necklace Park Network at their best and help out the municipalities overseeing the locations, Amigos de los Rios conducts weekly Park Restoration Events. This work is all lovingly done by volunteers. We welcome anyone that wants to help out their community, learn about nature and their environment, and get to know others with the same interests.


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