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Grady the Groundhog to Appear February 2 at Chimney Rock

ASHEVILLE NC – Grady the Groundhog, the Chimney Rock Park’s live mascot, will be making his own prediction at Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park when he awakens from his winter slumber at 10:30 a.m. on February 2. A brief educational program will precede the shadow sighting on the Meadows, followed by a one-hour guided hike at 11:15 a.m. If Grady sees his shadow, it means we have six more weeks of winter weather ahead—but if not, then spring is around the corner! Cast your vote on whether he’ll see his shadow at chimneyrockpark.com. Winter admission rates are $9/adult, $4/youth (ages 6-15) and free for kids under 6. During February, Grady’s Kids Club memberships are on sale for only $8.

“Kids can’t get enough of Grady when they get to pet him. They love Grady the Groundhog,” said Matt Popowski, PR & Events Coordinator at Chimney Rock. “We hope they leave with a better understanding of and appreciation for these woodland critters. It’s like our own Groundhog Awareness Day.”

Grady’s Groundhog Day. Join Emily Walker, Chimney Rock’s Education Specialist, near the Classroom on the Meadows for a nature program on the life of groundhogs and the Groundhog Day tradition. Then eagerly watch as Grady emerges and either does—or doesn’t—see his shadow. Afterward, a Park trail guide will lead a one-hour guided hike starting at 11:15 a.m. at Cliff Dwellers Gifts. This is the fourth year of Chimney Rock’s annual Groundhog Day event, but it’s only the second with Grady as the star of the show. The official Groundhog Day can be traced back to 1886 in Punxsutawney, Pa. For more information on Chimney Rock’s hands-on education programs for schools, homeschoolers and scouts, as well as summer camps, visit www.chimneyrockpark.com/education.

Vote Online on Grady’s Shadow.  Will Grady give the same prediction as Punxsutawney Phil? Or will he daringly give his own prediction about winter’s claim on the weather? Cast your vote online whether you think Grady will see his shadow at chimneyrockpark.com. Then join us for the event or check back on our website on February 2 to see who guessed correctly.

Grady’s Animal Discovery Den. Adjacent to the Great Woodland Adventure—a popular TRACK Trail hike for kids—is Grady’s Animal Discovery Den, located on the Meadows. This is home to a handful of live animal habitats, including snakes, turtles, an opossum and Grady the Groundhog. These critters are stars in some of the Park’s education programs for schools, homeschoolers and scouts. A lifelike mural created by local artist Clive Haynes depicts the natural Hickory Nut Gorge environment and its native animals with hands-on displays. Kids and adults are encouraged to study and touch the furs of skunk, opossum and groundhog. Also on display for viewing are a snake skin, deer skull and two turtle shells from a small Common Snapping Turtle and the N.C. state reptile, an Eastern Box Turtle.

Grady’s Kids Club Special.  To celebrate Grady’s special day, Chimney Rock is offering a discount on memberships to Grady’s Kids Club, the Annual Pass for youth, for $8 during February. For only $0.67 a month, kids ages 6-15 get unlimited visits to the Park for an entire year, plus discounts on food, souvenirs and activities in the Park and special deals at area attractions. Buy your kid’s pass online, call 800-277-9611 or buy the pass at the Ticket Plaza on your visit to the Park during February 1-29, 2012.

About Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park

Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park is a developing international outdoor destination located 25 miles southeast of Asheville on Highway 64/74A in Chimney Rock, N.C. It is recognized as one of the Southeast’s most iconic sites and popular travel destinations. The Park’s 535-million-year-old monolith called Chimney Rock offers guests 75-mile panoramic views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. Hickory Nut Gorge, one of the state’s most significant centers of biodiversity, is home to 36 rare plant species and 14 rare animal species, and the second highest waterfall of its kind in the eastern United States. A destination for travel groups, weddings and special events, the Park also hosts innovative educational programs for schools, homeschoolers, scouts and summer camps. Visit Chimney Rock’s website at chimneyrockpark.com. More information on current Capital Improvement projects at chimneyrockpark.com/progress or by calling 800-277-9611.

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