PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. — Pennsylvania’s world-famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, predicted an early spring after emerging from his burrow without seeing his shadow this morning in the Pennsylvania Wilds.
Thousands of fans watched as Phil made his highly anticipated weather prognostication, commemorating 130 years of Pennsylvania’s unique Groundhog Day tradition.
According to holiday folklore, if the groundhog emerges in the early morning on February 2 and does not see his shadow, there will be an early spring. If he sees his shadow, six more weeks of wintry weather are expected. The annual event that started with a small group of men known as the Inner Circle now attracts up to 30,000 visitors to Punxsutawney, Jefferson County, located about 80 miles northeast of Pittsburgh in the Pennsylvania Wilds region.
Home to millions of acres of unspoiled forests and mountains, as well as the largest free-roaming elk herd in the eastern United States, the Pennsylvania Wilds region is composed of 12 distinct and beautiful counties, each with its own heritage, character, charm and outdoor adventure. This region is where visitors can find breathtaking views, thousands of miles of waterways, more than 1,600 miles of trails, 29 state parks and plenty of wildlife.
With the promise of warmer weather, here is a sampling of what Pennsylvania has in store for travelers this spring:
- Phipps Conservatory Orchid and Tropical Bonsai Show, through February 28, Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh and its Countryside)
The Orchid and Tropical Bonsai Show at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens will provide breathtaking strolls through gardens of colorful orchids and tropical bonsai. Visitors can also experience the beauty of other unique plants in the glass Victorian greenhouse. Chase away the winter blues through striking displays designed by the talented Phipps staff.
- Philadelphia Flower Show, March 5-13, Philadelphia (Philadelphia and the Countryside)
Boasting the world’s oldest and largest indoor exhibition of its kind, the 2016 Philadelphia Flower Show, “Explore America,” will celebrate 100 years of National Park Service with themed displays, live entertainment, and special events. The annual show is an international favorite and the major fundraiser for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s City Harvest program, which feeds more than 1,200 families each week during the growing season.
- Annual Tour de Tanks of the Mason-Dixon Wine Trail, March 5-20, Saturdays and Sundays, York (Dutch Country Roads)
Each Saturday and Sunday throughout the month of March, the award-winning wineries and distilleries of the Mason-Dixon Wine Trail offer exclusive tank and barrel tastings to preview the season’s wines before they are bottled. A single ticket is good for all three weekends and offers wine lovers discounts on purchases during the events.
- Opening Days of Trout and Salmon Fishing Season, April 2 and April 16 (Statewide)
With more than 86,000 miles of streams and rivers and a large variety of fish, Pennsylvania is every fisherman’s dream. Fishing begins for 18 south central and southeastern counties on April 2 and statewide on April 16.
The Pennsylvania Tourism Office, which operates under the state Department of Community and Economic Development, is dedicated to inspiring travel to the State of Independence. For more information, go to visitPA.com or call (800) VISIT PA; become a fan at facebook.com/visitPA, follow us at twitter.com/visitPA, view scenic photos on instagram.com/visit_PA, share photos at pinterest.com/visitPA, friend us at foursquare.com/visitPA, or watch us on youtube.com/visitPA.