Friday, January 25, 2013

Charlotte's Resident Furry Forecaster to Make Live Shadow Check for Groundhog Day Feb. 2

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the Queen reigns supreme when it comes to predicting the end of the winter season. Charlotte's very own furry forecaster, Queen Charlotte the groundhog (Marmota monax), is burrowed deep preparing for her big day. Will she proclaim a longer winter or are warmer days ahead? Find out at Charlotte's only live groundhog shadow check at Charlotte Nature Museum's February Creature Feature event, Groundhog Day, Saturday, February 2, from10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Charlotte Nature Museum's Queen Charlotte has been preparing to outwit the Queen City's own meteorologists when it comes to foreseeing the forecast. Even as cousin Phil prognosticates in Punxsutawney, Queen Charlotte will emerge from her lair to greet her court - other animals that share characteristics or burrow space with the groundhog - before checking for her shadow at precisely 11:30 a.m. Gnaw on the folklore of Groundhog Day and many other hair-raising fun facts during the Museum-wide special event. Here's a nippy nugget: many groundhogs go into hibernation during winter, which greatly reduces their metabolic rate, and may reduce their body temperature to as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

"Some people assume a groundhog's internal clock is affected by annual changes in the amount of daylight," said Vonna Brown, coordinator at Charlotte Nature Museum. "However, groundhogs awake depending on their individual responses to cyclic changes in production of melatonin, a sleep-related hormone."

Nature-lovers can excavate deep for the dirt on all things groundhog, including the chance to play groundhog-themed games such as pin-the-shadow-on-the-groundhog and groundhog cornhole. Little ones will especially love "The Shadow Knows" Puppet Show and groundhog-themed story time and crafts which will run regularly throughout the event. Special stories will include "Go to Sleep, Little Groundhog" by Claude Clement, "Wake Up, Groundhog!" by Susan Karman, and "Geoffrey Groundhog Predicts the Weather" by Bruce Koscielniek

Find Queen Charlotte on Twitter @CLTGroundhog.

Creature Features, supported by The Guild of Discovery Place and Charlotte Nature Museum, are monthly special events and include crafts, puppet shows, storytelling and refreshments. Creature Feature activities are free with Museum admission. Admission: $6 ages two and older, younger-than-two and Members are free. Parking is free.

Charlotte Nature Museum is located at 1658 Sterling Road, Charlotte. Hours are: Tuesday-Thursday
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; Sunday noon - 5:00 p.m.; and closed on Monday.

Charlotte Nature Museum offers visitors the chance to get close to wildlife and walk among free-flying butterflies in Butterfly Pavilion, observe live animals inCreature Cavern, buzz by Insect Alley or just hang out in Our Big Backyard. Visitors can learn together during workshops, summer camps and more. Daily programming including hands-on activities provide the opportunity for structured learning and informal play for kids of all ages. Charlotte Nature Museum is operated by Discovery Place, Inc.