Newly elected Mayor Nancy McFarlane makes her official debut as Groundhog Whisperer
Weather in North Carolina is certainly unpredictable, but Sir Walter Wally is almost always right. Come tothe North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences for the 15th annual Groundhog Day celebration. The free event is Thursday, Feb. 2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with the shadow ceremony beginning promptly at noon on Bicentennial plaza in front of the museum. The ceremony will be held in the museum’s auditorium in case of inclement weather. Newly elected Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane will join museum educator John Connors—who will be outfitted in top hat and tails—to assist Wally with the forecast.
Each year, crowds wait in anticipation to see if Wally sees his shadow. If he does, we're in for six more weeks of winter. Although not as well-known nationally as Punxsutawney Phil of Pennsylvania, Wally has gained nationwide recognition for his amazing accuracy and is regularly featured on The Weather Channel's list of national representatives. Following the ceremony, Wally moves inside to his special station where those with cameras can pose for pictures alongside the famous weather predictor.
Visitors can also take advantage of educational stations on the first floor of the museum. There will be information on animal hibernation, signs of spring, the history of Groundhog Day and more, as well as fun games and activities including the hog toss. For kids 6 and younger, there will be special programs about animals in winter at 10:30, 11 and 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in the Windows on the World theater on the third floor.
Students and teachers across North Carolina will also be keeping a close eye on Wally’s prediction. Anyone can download a free Groundhog Day Kit from naturalsciences.org, which includes a Weather Watch Activity Guide for grades K-8. For more information about Groundhog Day, contact Miranda Wood at Miranda.Wood@ncdenr.gov or (919) 733-7450, ext. 523.