Glacier Run

| May 18, 2011

Glacier RunI could start with the most obvious of clichés for this article – “lions, tigers and bears, oh my!” – or I could take a more direct approach and let you know that the new Glacier Run exhibit at the Louisville Zoo is a must-see for all ages.

Having never been a huge fan of certain aspects of the zoo (ahem, the smells that creep from the elephant exhibit), the newest feature, Glacier Run, hits all the right senses.

Designed as an imaginary mining town on the edge of the arctic wilderness, the polar bear capital of the world makes its way to Louisville. And where exactly was this concept modeled after? Churchill, of course … the town of Churchill, Canada, that is.

Based on the notion that humans and nature must coexist, the exhibit offers a truly unique experience where guests can connect with the otherwise unapproachable polar and grizzly bears while interacting with zookeepers who host training and enrichment demonstrations daily at 11:15 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

SealAt Glacier Run, you may introduce your kiddos to Ariki, a 26-year-old polar bear from Chicago, and three grizzly bears from Montana: 6-year-old Inga and her two cubs, Otis and Rita.

The 80,000-gallon, 16-foot bear pool is kept at a cool 65 degrees and proof that everyone needs a little pool time during these summer months. You might just call it the Glacier Run Country Club for Bears.

A 22-foot-tall window allows visitors to watch the bears both above and below the waterline. Or you may sit inside the bed of a broken-down truck while bears rummage through the goods (all from your very own glass barrier, of course).

Polar BearThis is also a great chance to sneak in some mid-summer education and teach your kids about current challenges to existing arctic environments and discover how incremental changes in everyday life can make a difference for our planet.

Bring the cubs (and even the grizzly bear in your life) and head to the zoo to experience all things Glacier Run. After all, once it officially heats up in this town, it might be refreshing.


The tiny town of Glacier Run set in our own backyard.


Aside from the obvious polar bear appeal, it’s worth it to make the trek over to the Sea and Seal Lion Amphitheater where a crowd of 200 can gather for animal demonstrations held daily in the 108,000-gallon salt water tank.

Interesting Arcana

In 2012, the zoo will open the Glacier Run Arctic Ambassador Center, which will include animals like the snowy owl and the arctic fox.

Contact writer Lauren DePaso at or 502.897.8900.

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Category: Out & About

About the Author (Author Profile)

Lauren DePaso
Voice-Tribune Staff Writer Lauren DePaso enjoys being a tourist in her own city, exploring the nightlife and cheering on the Cards. A Louisville native, she currently resides in St. Matthews.

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