Grady’s Groundhog Day Shadow Sighting at Chimney Rock Park, Feb. 2
Grady the Groundhog, animal ambassador for Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park, will be making his annual winter prediction at noon on Sunday, February 2 behind the Old Rock Café in Chimney Rock Village, next to the park entrance. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., weather permitting, the public is invited to a free wildlife program to learn quirky things about groundhogs and the Groundhog Day tradition and participate in kids’ crafts.
Around noon Grady the Groundhog will awaken from his winter slumber to see if his shadow appears, which would signal six more weeks of winter. But if there’s no shadow, then spring should be around the corner. Grady outwitted Punxsutawney Phil to predict the weather correctly last year, and Park staff are anticipating another accurate prediction. Drop in at the Old Rock Café for a lunch special of Grady’s favorite soup and other groundhog-themed menu items.
“Grady has been resting up and feasting on sweet potatoes, his favorite snack, to get ready for his big day. He’s under a lot of pressure now to give an accurate winter prediction two years in a row. I think it’s gotten to him because he gained a lot of weight going into the winter… but he’ll be ready,” said Matt Popowski, PR & Events Manager at Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park.
Vote on Grady’s Shadow. Cast your vote online whether or not you think Grady will see his shadow at chimneyrockpark.com. Then attend the event or check back on the Park’s website or Grady the Groundhog’s new Facebook page on February 2 to see if you guessed correctly. Grady is now on Facebook to answer your questions about wild critters and share details about upcoming wildlife and nature programs.
Grady’s Kids Club Special. During February, Grady’s Kids Club memberships are on sale for only $8. For less than 45 cents a month, kids ages 5-15 get unlimited visits to the Park for 18 months, discounts on Park dining, retail and friends’ admission and additional savings at favorite area attractions. Buy your kid’s pass online, by phone at (800) 277-9611 or at the park during winter hours.
Animal Fun. Adjacent to the Great Woodland Adventure, a popular TRACK Trail for kids, is Grady’s Animal Discovery Den. It’s home to Grady the Groundhog, an opossum and several other live animal habitats for reptiles and amphibians. These critters are stars in some of the park’s education programs for schools, homeschoolers and scouts. Grady’s Den also features hands-on, kid-friendly displays of furs and skulls from native animals, including deer, skunks and turtles.
Chimney Rock’s inaugural Groundhog Day shadow sighting was held in 2006, and this is only the fourth year with Grady as the star of the show. The official Groundhog Day can be traced back to 1886 in Punxsutawney, Pa. For more information on Chimney Rock’s hands-on education programs for schools, homeschoolers and scouts, as well as summer camps, visit chimneyrockpark.com/education.
Best known for its stunning 75-mile views overlooking Lake Lure, Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park offers scenic hiking trails, guided rock climbing, nature education programs and ancient geological features that attract visitors from around the world. Chimney Rock is located only 45 minutes southeast of Asheville on Highway 64/74A in Chimney Rock, N.C. For current park hours and rates, call (800) 277-9611 or visit chimneyrockpark.com.