Celebrate Groundhog Day 2013 around Chicago

It’s time for the big question: Will or won’t the groundhog see his shadow? Chicago weather is so hard to predict but it would be nice to have the little guy’s input on how many more weeks of winter we’ll be shivering through.

Check out these family-friendly events around Chicagoland that celebrate Groundhog Day.

Will he or won’t he see his shadow? Either way, celebrate our friend the groundhog with these family-friendly events and activities.

Groundhog Day

Enjoy the lore and learn the facts about the little animal thatsome say can predict winter’s end.

Family Day/Open House: Groundhog Day

Come celebrate Groundhog Day with Hal. Plus, hot food, hot chocolate, bonfire, raffles and music.

Groundhog Daze

Learn about groundhogs and make one of your own. Touch realgroundhog fur and investigate a groundhog skull, as well as somegroundhog cousins including a beaver, mouse and muskrat.

Join a ranger for a special puppet show in honor ofGroundhog Day on February 2nd during theopen house at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore’s Paul H. DouglasCenter. Shows at 1:00 pm and 2:30 pm will explain where these furryrodents have been and how they survive the long winter.

Groundhog Day at the National Lakeshore

Can groundhogs really predict the weather?

Groundhog’s Day is finally upon us, and the town of Gobbler’sKnob in Pennsylvania is booming with tens of thousands of tourists.Accordingly, the town has a days-long celebration, including an artshow, breakfast with Punxsutawney Phil, and an exhibit at theWeather Discovery Center looking at the science and folklore ofweather.

Additionally, couples from various parts of the country descendupon the borough of Punxsutawney just northeast of Pittsburgh toget married.

So if the groundhog sees his shadow, they will have a stormymarriage?

We decided to get behind the seemingly backwards idea that ifit’s a sunny day, winter will last longer and if it’s a cloudy day,spring will come soon. We talked to Tim Sullivan, the curator ofbehavior husbandry (and no, this does not refer to the weddingcouples) at the Chicago Zoological Society, aka the BrookfieldZoo.

Sullivan does not like Groundhog Day. But he doesn’t discountthe idea that we can learn things from animals, or that animalssense changes in our environment long before we do.

“Elephants can hear in the infrasonic,” says Sullivan. “They canfeel vibrations through the ground that we could never sense.”

Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, ocean storms and avalanches areexamples in which – after the fact, Sullivan points out – peoplehave noted that animals cleared out the day before. Sullivan alsosays that animals are sensitive to changes in barometric pressurethat may indicate the early stages of a tornado.

Other animals, Sullivan says, can sense – through smell orhearing or sight – things that humans would never sense until thecataclysmic event was upon us.


In fact, Sullivan says, humans are starting to train animals toutilize their extra-sensory abilities. There are even reports, he says, of dogs being trained to
inform their owners that they’re about to have an epileptic seizure
up to 30 minutes before the onset.

“We’re just scratching the surface of our understanding of thesethings.”

But can an animal’s predict the weather? Sullivan iscircumspect.

“The groundhog issue is more of a cultural thing than havinganything to do with the environment.”

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