Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced that Essex Ed, the resident groundhog at Essex County Turtle Back Zoo, saw his shadow on Monday, February 2nd. This prognostication means the cold, wintery weather will last for another six weeks.

"I don't necessarily agree with Essex Ed, but that's his prediction and we'll have to deal with it," DiVincenzo said, adding he was hoping for warmer weather to come early. "Just because it may be cold for a few extra weeks, we still invite you to visit Essex County Turtle Back Zoo and see how the animals live in the winter. Our zoo remains open and is a great place for people of all ages to learn about animals," he added.

"We have species of animals from around the world, but Groundhog Day is Essex Ed's special day for attention," said Essex County Turtle Back Zoo Director Jeremy Goodman, who dressed for the occasion in a tuxedo and top hat. "Winter is a great time to visit the animals. Not all animals hibernate and mammals, for instance, adapt to the cold weather with natural, heavier fur," he said.

Essex Ed was an orphan when he came to Essex County nine years ago and zoo keepers nursed him to health. He has been very accurate in his weather predictions and has given the correct forecast in seven of the last eight years.

Turtle Back Zoo is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Regular admission is $5 for children and senior citizens, $7 for adults and free for children under 2 years. For additional information, please call 973-731-5800.