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Move over Phil! Sir Walter Wally makes official weather prediction Sunday, February 2

For immediate release — January 17, 2014

Education, Entertainment, Features editors

Contact: emelia.cowans@naturalsciences.org, 919.707.9837

Mayor Nancy McFarlane returns as “Groundhog Whisperer”

RALEIGH — Regularly listed among the Weather Channel’s “Top 11 Groundhogs to Watch,” Sir Walter Wally continues to gain national attention for his “hognosticating,” or rather prognosticating abilities. Needless to say, we’re certain that our furry, famous friend won’t disappoint this year. After all, since 1998, Wally has been right 50 percent of the time, while his cousin to the north of us, Punxsutawney Phil, has been correct a measly 31 percent. According to German legend, if Wally sees his shadow on February 2, we’re in for six more weeks of winter.

Come join us at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences for the 17th annual Groundhog Day celebration and check out Wally’s prediction for yourself. Groundhog Day activities will take place Sunday, February 2, from noon to 5 p.m. with the shadow ceremony beginning promptly at 1 p.m. on Bicentennial Plaza in front of the Museum. Don’t worry. The ceremony will be over in plenty of time to enjoy your Superbowl festivities!

Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane will join former Museum educator John Connors, who will be outfitted in top hat and tails, to assist Wally with the forecast. We’ll even ask Mayor McFarlane to see if Wally would like to make a Superbowl prediction! Before and after the ceremony, Wally will be at his special station where those with cameras can pose for pictures alongside the famous weather predictor. The ceremony will be held in the Museum’s auditorium in case of inclement weather.

Visitors can also take advantage of educational stations like “Snakes in Winter,” “Signs of Spring,” the “History of Groundhog Day” and more, as well as fun games and activities including the Hog Toss (stations located 1st floor, Main). For kids six and under, there will be a special program entitled, “Animals in Winter” at 1:45 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. in Windows on the World (3rd floor, Main).

Students and teachers across North Carolina will also be keeping a close eye on Wally’s prediction. Anyone can download a free Weather Watch Activity Guide from naturalsciences.org for grades K-8. For more information about Groundhog Day, contact Miranda Wood at miranda.wood@naturalsciences.org or 919.707.9885.


The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (11 W. Jones St. and 121 W. Jones St.) in downtown Raleigh, is the state's most visited cultural attraction. It is an active research institution that engages visitors of every age and stage of learning in the wonders of science and the natural world, drawing them into the intriguing fields of study that are critical to the future of North Carolina. Hours: Mon.- Sat., 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sun., noon-5 p.m. Admission is free. Visit the Museum on the web at www.naturalsciences.org. Emlyn Koster, PhD, Director; John E. Skvarla III, Secretary, Department of Environment and Natural Resources; Pat McCrory, Governor.

Publish Date: 
Friday, January 17, 2014