Mudpuppy Festival logo Land Conservation Foundation

Celebrate the Mudpuppy Salamander

LCF celebrates the Sangamon River’s coolest creature at our annual Mudpuppy Festival. This family event features crafts, games, and visiting experts. It's a fun way to learn about the fascinating mudpuppy salamander and other local wildlife.

Monarch Events Center, in downtown Monticello, provides a colorful and welcoming setting for the event. The City of Monticello has proclaimed the day of the festival as “Mudpuppy Day.”


Festival Sponsors


Local businesses and individuals sponsor the festival, which attracts several hundred attendees. For sponsorship information, contact LCF Executive Director Deanna Glosser.

Mudpuppy Festival (NEW DATE!)
Enjoy a family friendly celebration of the Sangamon River's coolest creature, the mudpuppy salamander, featuring fun crafts and activities for all ages.
Apr 03, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Monarch Events Center,
212 S Independence St, Monticello, IL 61856, USA

Hundreds Attended 2020 Festival

The Land Conservation Foundation’s Mudpuppy Festival on February 1, 2020, was a huge success with 300 people attending, including over 75 children of all ages. LCF extends its thanks to the Monarch Brewing Company for co-hosting this event and Kirby Medical Center and CrossFit/KMC for serving as the lead sponsors. 


This event included many kids’ activities focused on the Sangamon River and its wildlife, including mussels, birds, pollinators, and the state threatened mudpuppy, an aquatic salamander. Children had an opportunity to complete mudpuppy crafts and a scavenger hunt, have their wildlife passports stamped, faces painted, and to “fish” for prizes. 


LCF also wants to thank Monticello Mayor Larry Stoner for his proclamation naming February 1 as Mudpuppy Day in Monticello.   LCF also extends its thanks to the University of Illinois Extension, Master Naturalists; Champaign County Audubon Society; Illinois Natural History Survey; Illinois Department of Natural Resources; Illinois Nature Preserves Commission; and the many sponsors that made this event possible.


Photos by Teresa DeWitt

Mudpuppy 2020-17 Eric Smith  company at
Mudpuppy 2020-56 fishing for prizes.JPG

More About Mudpuppies

While other adult salamanders live on land, the unique mudpuppy lives its entire life underwater. It never develops lungs. Instead, it breathes with unusual fluffy red external gills.


This Illinois threatened species lives throughout the Sangamon River. It is sometimes called a waterdog because of its bark-like sound.


Mudpuppies grow up to 16 inches long. They are active all year long, but you won't see them! They hide under rocks during the day and feed at night.


They are also the sole host for larvae of the salamander mussel.

Mudpuppy Festival sock puppet craft