Sir Walter Wally – Raleigh’s Own Groundhog Day Tradition

Sir Walter Wally

Sir Walter Wally. Photo from NC Museum of Natural Sciences website.

Did you know Raleigh has its own Groundhog Day groundhog, or woodchuck if you will?

Sir Walter Wally has been making an annual appearance at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences for 21 years now, with a ceremony scheduled for today at noon and attended by local dignitaries including Mayor Nancy McFarlane. Events run from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

I attended the festivities when my kids were younger and it was a fun time, if not a way to kill a few hours at the end of a long week and break up the monotony of winter.

Sir Walter Wally is typically camped out in the museum lobby prior the ceremony, so attendees can check him out and learn about him. If I recall correctly, he lives in a nature center toward the western part of the state when he’s not prognosticating our weather fate once a year. There are also games and crafts for the littles.

Two-toed sloth at NC Museum of Natural Sciences

Two-toed sloth. Photo courtesy of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences education blog

The museum is free, and a great place to wander around. It is, according to its website, the largest museum of its kind in the southeast, with exhibits highlighting the state’s ecology throughout a nature exploration center and nature research center.  My favorite part is the butterfly room on the top floor, complete with a resident sloth, but there are also snakes, fish, and whale and dinosaur fossils to be explored.

Sadly, and not unexpectedly, Sir Walter Wally’s predictions about the weather are apparently wrong more than right, but we’ll forgive his shortcomings because he’s pretty cute.

The NC Museum of Natural Sciences is located at 11 W. Jones St., Raleigh, NC 27601. Parking garages are available nearby but I’ve always had good luck with the open parking lot just past the museum on the right.

NC Museum of Natural Sciences

NC Museum of Natural Sciences. Photo from

On a side note, for newbies to the area worried about traffic in the city … it’s not Manhattan folks. If you blink, you might find yourself on the other side of town when you open your eyes. Dispense with the worry and go have fun with the woodchuck, people.






Categories: In Wake County, Out and About

Tags: , ,

1 reply

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: