HARTVILLE  General Stark II tells us that were in store for six more weeks of winter, but he doesn’t want you to take his word for it. He wanted you come see him for yourself, which is why Quail Hollow State Park invited anyone curious about the Groundhog Day tradition to visit for their Groundhog Day Open House held Feb. 3.

Stark Parks puts on the open house annually, but this was the first year that Quail Hollow hosted the event.

"In our Nature Center we have our resident Groundhog, General Stark II," said Trevor Householder, Education Coordinator at Stark Parks. "We have a groundhog tunnel that the kids can crawl through and they can see all the other Nature Center animals we have here. Quail Hollow volunteers association has the gift shop open as well."

In addition to it’s beautiful and varied 720 acres, Quail Hollow features a historical estate, in which the Groundhog Day Open House was held. The three buildings of the estate — The Nature Center, the Quail Hollow Gift Shop, and the house itself —were open to those in attendance. Children could make crafts, touch real animal pelts, meet General Stark (or "Bubby," his less-formal name), color, ask questions and observe the other animals kept by the park in the Nature Center. And next door, families could take self-guided or guided tours of the house, listen to groundhog stories, make crafts, or play games.

Those in attendance took advantage of being able to experience so much of Quail Hollow in one day, enjoying the fair weather and multiple trails while learning about Groundhog Day.

"We come here and hike but we haven't had the opportunity to come inside (the house)," Said Mandy Monty, who brought her young daughter to the open house. "We’d never seen the Nature Center before; it was fun to touch all the animal skins and see the groundhog. It was a really good day."

Thanks to Stark Parks we can prepare ourselves for General Stark’s wintery forecast a bit more informed.