Planning a Trip to Punxsutawney for Groundhog Day – Here’s What You Need to Know
Retirement Travel Idea – Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania
Activity Level: Medium
Ages: People of all ages can attend but we recommend 10 and up.
Is going to on Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania on February 2nd for groundhog day is on your to-do list? We crossed this item off our bucket list this year and here a few things we’ve learned that we wanted to share with our readers.
Where else would you rather be in the middle of the night in the middle of winter?
Plan Ahead- There’s A lot to Do in Punxsutawney for Groundhog Day
Punxsutawney Phil has been predicting the end of winter for 133 years. The people of Punxsutawney have put their years of experience together for an extremely well-run event. Celebrations start early in the week with everything from a talent show, to hayrides and a scavenger hunt to prepare for the big day. There are events for all ages. We brought our 7 and 9-year-old and there was plenty to for the whole family to do. A list of events can be found at groundhog.org.
Get to Gobbler’s Knob Early (we mean a day early):
If you’ve ever seen the movie, Groundhog Day with Bill Murray, you’d be expecting the Groundhog Day festivities to take place in the town square. But the reality for Groundhog day in Punxsutawney is that Punxsutawney Phil does his forecasting at Gobblers Knob. Gobblers knob is a clearing and park, about a mile and a half outside of the city.
We stopped by The Knob the day before to scope out the area and take pictures. We were glad we did. It’s so busy at Gobbler’s Knob on the 2nd that you may have to stand in line for pictures of the famous tree-stump or the signs around the area. The day before you’ll have plenty of room to walk around, get a feel for the area and the facilities, and take pictures.
While you’re there, stop by the information booth to ask any questions about transportation and parking. We stopped by on Friday and had the pleasure of meeting with one of the Groundhog Inner Circle” and were even given a free commemorative Groundhog Day coin.
As far as getting to the Knob early on the 2nd, that’s up to you. The part starts at 3 am. There are bands and entertainment leading up to the big event. Since we have kids, we got there around 6:00 a.m. and were just in time for fireworks and had a back-row view. We were fine with our view since we weren’t too cold for too long. Which brings me to our next piece of advice.
It is cold. This event prides itself on being in the middle of the night in the middle of winter. It was 4 degrees at 4 am when we left our hotel room. We all had several layers on, boots, gloves, hand warmers and toe warmers (lifesavers) and still missed the big moment when our 7-year old’s feet were too cold.
They do have warming tents but there are lines for those too. The staff there was super helpful to parents with young children If you are going with grandchildren, there are places for the little ones to warm up.
Book in Advance:
Especially if you’re going on a weekend. We were told by several people that Gobbler’s Knob is busiest when Groundhog Day is on a weekend. It is recommended to book a year in advance if you want to get a place in town.
We booked in November and found a hotel room in Indiana, PA (Fun fact: home of Jimmy Stewart and the Jimmy Stewart museum). Most people we talked to recommend booking a year in advance. So, now’s a good time to start – check out the hotel listings here.
Talk to Other People:
This is something I recommend any time you travel but in Punxsutawney on Groundhog Day, you’ll have a lot of fun chatting with people. There’s really nothing too serious about this holiday and everyone is in it for the fun of it. You’re in a town where everyone gets the joke and is having a ball being goofy and looking to a rodent for a weather forecast.
Everyone we talked to was fun-loving and having a great time! We had fun talking with other families, people celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, and people traveling from faraway places. This town fully embraces this fun holiday and the people there are warm and welcoming!
We had a great time crossing this one off our bucket-list and know you will too. If you’ve been before, share your tips below.