Okay campers, rise and shine! Put on your booties because it’s cooold out there. That’s right, it’s Groundhog Day! A magnificent holiday where we look to the largest species of ground squirrel to predict our future. Celebrating the midway point between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox, we turn to the mystical majesty of nature as a harbinger of things to come between now and the official start of spring. And while Punxsutawney hogs most of the attention every year in Milwaukee, our fine, furry marmot psychic Gordy tells us each year whether to expect an early spring or hunker down for six more weeks of winter live via Facebook from the Milwaukee County Zoo.

So today, we celebrate our furry foreseer, our four-legged fortune teller, our marmot oracle, Gordy the groundhog. To mark the occasion, we’re going hog wild! No matter the outcome, an early spring or six more weeks of winter, we’ve planned a day of groundhog-inspired activities. That’s right woodchuck chuckers, it’s Groundhog Dayyyyyy!

 Imported ImageOff to see the groundhog? Think it’ll be an early spring? Greet the day at Kadish Park. With one of the best views of downtown Milwaukee, catch the sunrise as it lights up Milwaukee on a crisp mid-winter morning and know that today’s the day we’ve all been waiting for. It’s finally Groundhog Day.

Bring your festive energy to Café at the Pfister for a breakfast of sunny-side-up eggs, of course. Fuel up for the big day with all your morning favorites in the beautiful, sun-dappled café for a calm, relaxing breakfast before the rest of the day’s excitement.

Well, it’s Groundhog Day...again! It’s Groundhog time! And live from the Milwaukee County Zoo, Gordy will make his forecast via Facebook. Will he see his shadow? Only time will tell. While the zoo won’t be open to the public for the official event, tune in to the Milwaukee County Zoo’s Facebook page at 9 a.m. on February 2 to witness the spectacle for yourself! Will Milwaukee be treated to an early spring or six more weeks of winter? Only Gordy knows.

Follow along with Groundhog Day Bingo for a chance to win themed goodies and celebrate the day with the whole family as you make your own artwork of our local fortune-teller, Gordy.

 Imported ImageWhether we’re looking forward to the warmth of an early spring or bracing for six more weeks of winter, nothing celebrates the unpredictable duality of nature expressed by Gordy’s prognostications quite like the balance of a black and white cookie. Stop by the Milwaukee Public Market for a tasty treat at C. Adam’s Bakery. Wash it down with a warm cup of coffee just a few steps away at Anodyne Coffee. Featuring a small squirrel on each bag of coffee, we can pretend it’s a subtle nod to the large ground squirrel weatherman, Gordy.

See your shadow as well as that of the Allen-Bradley Clocktower at Clockshadow Creamery in Walker’s Point. While Groundhogs, also known as woodchucks and whistle pigs, do not squeak, they whistle, and that’s pretty darn close. Pick up some of the freshest, squeakiest curds in the land for an afternoon snack. Be sure to use the Milwaukee Cheese Curd Pass for a discount!

At the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, also known as the Three Domes, you don't have to wait for Gordy’s prediction to come true. Experience the lush colors of spring in the Floral Show Dome, the arid climate of the Desert Dome, and the warm humidity of the Tropical Dome. Each dome features a beautiful array of plant species indigenous to their climates. At the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, spring is just a visit away.

Or get outside and embrace the forecast of an extended winter at Sunburst Winter Snow Park. With 40+ tubing shoots and a 90-foot drop, experience the thrill of flying down the quarter-mile run at the world’s largest tubing hill. If skiing or snowboarding is more your speed, hit the slopes on the hill’s ten trails.

Take in the waning moments of Groundhog Day as the sun sets on yet another whimsical meteorological holiday at Lakeshore State Park or the adjacent Veterans Park. With picturesque views of downtown and Lake Michigan, take in the beauty as the city is cast in brilliant hues as the sun dips below the western horizon.

Commemorate Groundhog Day with a drink in the spirit of the occasion at Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge. Claiming to be the birthplace of the Pink Squirrel, Bryant’s has been serving expertly crafted drinks for more than 75 years. Order the famed beverage or a tequila sunrise to mark the occasion.

Looking to extend your Groundhog Day festivities into the weekend? Visit the Manfred Olson Planetarium on the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee campus and marvel in wonderment of a natural winter phenomenon: the Northern Lights. With shows on February 3rd, take in the majesty of the lights and an indoor stargazing session of the night’s sky.

Imported ImageAs we conclude yet another celebration, we tip our cap to our furry fortune-teller, our four-legged oracle, our soothsaying woodchuck, Gordy the groundhog. No matter if you’re eagerly awaiting the green growth of spring or looking to take advantage of the winter weather, we can all appreciate the magnificent eccentricities of a large squirrel predicting the future. Happy Groundhog Day, everyone and let the countdown to next year officially begin!

Photo credit: Milwaukee County Zoo