By Karla Gomez
Sir Walter Wally, Raleigh’s very own Groundhog weather predictor, saw its shadow Feb. 2, predicting four more weeks of a cold winter.
On Groundhog Day, people of all ages came out to the N. C. Museum of Natural Sciences’ plaza to learn more about this yearly tradition, and got to see what a real groundhog looks like up close.
“People absolutely love it,” said Hugo Romero-Sanchez, the museum’s educational events specialists team member. “The plaza today was filled and people were cheering or booing depending on the prognostication. Today was very sunny so that’s one of the reasons why Wally saw his shadow and predicted more weeks of winter.”
After Wally’s predictions at the plaza, people eagerly flocked to the inside of the museum to learn more about groundhogs and science life.
In addition to the exhibits found inside, there were several booths set up throughout all levels of the museum with experts enthusiastically talking about their subject of expertise.
One of the booths located inside the museum was the Prairie Ridge Ecostation, which is a nature preserve located in the heart of Raleigh.
“We offer different programs for kids to get them interested in science, nature and what’s around them,” said Adam Prince, a weekend captain at the preserve. “Prairie Ridge is a nature preserve, a reconstructed prairie, and people come in to study birds, mammals and insects.”
When visiting Prairie Ridge, people can participate in hands-on learning opportunities.
“We have a nature play area for kids and families to come and enjoy nature, get dirty and play in the mud. Not many kids get a chance to do that a lot so we offer this big area that’s protected and we welcome people to come and learn more about nature,” said Prince.
In addition to the future Groundhog Day event that will be held next year, Romero encourages people to visit the museum and explore many of the upcoming events that it has to offer to the public this year.
“In March we have the reptile and amphibian day. It’s all about reptiles and tons of snakes. Every year we have a theme and this year is all about vipers,” said Romero.
“We also have the biggest event coming up this year which is BugFest. It’ll be in September and we normally have around 35,000 people coming in one day.”
Romero says there’s always something for everyone at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
“Something that people always say to me is that it’s an amazing museum and it’s free, and we have something in Raleigh that everybody can enjoy, and I invite them to come here,” said Romero.
For more details regarding future events held at the museum, visit the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ website.