Celebrate Gertie's Groundhog Day Outing at Wildlife Prairie State Park with FREE Admission.

Celebrate Gertie's Groundhog Day Outing at Wildlife Prairie State Park with FREE admission and special offers From McDonald's and Buffalo Wild Wings. It's a tradition in Central Illinois! Join us in the early morning hours for a very special event as the area's iconic groundhog, Gertie, makes her annual weather prognostication at Gertie's Groundhog Day Outing from 6-9 a.m. Feb. 2. An exciting early morning agenda leads up to Gertie's appearance at sunrise, approximately 7:07 a.m. The park naturalists will talk about the history of Groundhog Day and present interesting facts about groundhogs, local musician Barry Cloyd, will teach everyone the song, "Wake Up, Gertie," and Gertie will arrive in style aboard our very own fire truck. While waiting for the prognostication, you can warm yourself up at the Wildside Grill with all-you-can-eat pancakes. Hot chocolate, coffee and signature Gertie sweets are also available. Admission to the park is FREE. Pancake breakfast is $4 for children and $5 for adults. At 7:07 a.m. CST, Gertie will make her first public appearance of the New Year from her specially-designed "Wildlife Chalet" and predict if the Midwest will experience an early spring or six more weeks of winter in 2013. Gertie will also predict this year's Super Bowl winner as well. So come join the fun! The first 500 people in the gates for Gertie's Groundhog Day Outing will receive a coupon from the local McDonald's for a FREE large sandwich, courtesy of Clark Management LLC. AND the first 100 people to come through the gates get a coupon from Buffalo Wild Wings for six FREE Wings with the purchase of one soda, courtesy of Cekander Group. There is a bit of a twist for the BWW coupons though. One says Gertie saw her shadow. The other coupon says Gertie did not see her shadow. "This is Gertie's twenty-first prognostication and we expect her to be right again this year about the weather," says Janice Brown, Event Coordinator for Gertie's Groundhog Day Outing. Brown says "Gertie has been more accurate than Punxsutawney Phil during those years. The data shows Gertie is 75 percent accurate and Punxsutawney Phil is only 35 percent accurate over the same time period." Gertie's Groundhog Day Outing Schedule: 6:00 AM - Park opens with free admission and McDonald's and Buffalo Wild Wing coupon giveaways. 6:00 AM - All-you-can-eat pancake breakfast ($4/kids, $5/adults) Bottomless hot chocolate, hot tea and coffee will be available too. 6:15 AM - Barry Cloyd entertains with the "Wake Up, Gertie" song and other fine music 6:30 AM - Official Welcome and arrival of Gertie 6:40 AM - Educational presentations by park naturalists 6:55 AM - Introduction of Wildlife Prairie Park Officials 7:00 AM - Wake Up, Gertie! 7:07 AM - Prognostication by none other than Gertie the Groundhog 7:15 AM - Continue a day at the park by enjoying breakfast and walking the many trails Gertie will also make an appearance at Buffalo Wild Wings at Grand Prairie Shopping Center from 4-6 p.m. Brewers Distributing is making $4 pints of Woodchuck Cider available. Gertie will be on the patio and everyone can enjoy her company and take photos with her. Following Gertie's weather prediction, plan to walk the Merrill Woods Trail which will be open to the public and check out our new bear enclosure for Molly, our latest addition to indigenous wildlife at the park. The animals have been active during these winter months. For more information see our facebook page at www.facebook.com/wildlifeprairiestatepark, or call Jan Brown at 309-657-2681 or email her at events@wildlifeprairestatepark.org