'Tumbleweed' makes early Groundhog Day prediction

February 1, 2011 3:42:51 PM PST
Brookfield Zoo is open to guests every day of the year-- except Wednesday, which just happens to be Groundhog Day.

The zoo will close because the Blizzard of 2011 for only the second time in its 77 years.

"Given the storm and all the cold that's coming in . . . and the fact that we want to make sure that our staff and animals are well cared for during this probably very, very bad blizzard. We've decided to close the zoo down for the day," said Bill Zeigler, senior VP of Animal Care.

But Wednesday, February 2, is Ground Hog Day. So what's a zoo to do?

Tumbleweed is Brookfield Zoo's main groundhog. And zookeepers said she didn't see her shadow on Tuesday -- and won't on Wednesday either.

"It actually puts us in a good position. The groundhog did not see its shadow so that means an early spring for us," said Glenn Granat, associate curator of children's zoo. "She will be hunkered down tomorrow in her shelter so she will not see her shadow tomorrow."

The zoo will have a minimal crew at work Wednesday to care for the animals.

"The bear essentials is what's going to be going on tomorrow," Zeigler said.

On this blizzard-warning Groundhog Day's Eve, Tumbleweed sees no shadow -- and predicts an early spring.