Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Perfect weather, wonderful zoo: Part One

I've been dying to see the new polar bear exhibit at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. Named Polar Frontier, the exhibit contains twin-sister polar bears, Alaska brown bears (who were moved from the North America section of the zoo) and Arctic foxes.

One of two Alaska brown bears, named Brutus and Buckeye. They were orphaned as young cubs when a farmer mistakenly shot their mother after being threatened by her. He felt so badly that he searched the area until he rescued the cubs and brought them to the nearest rescue facility.

The Arctic foxes were such a blur of motion, playing and chasing each other, that all I got was a blur!

Anana, the pretty


The polar bears' new home includes a 1.32-acre yard with two pools, smell ports, dig pits and shelters. A 167,000-gallon pool allows visitors to view the bears from above, at eye-level, and below. The other pool is a surge pool with a tidal effect, providing enrichment with various depths and moving water. The zoo spared no expense in building this exhibit, costing 20 million dollars. Judging from the crowds they've been experiencing since the opening in early May, they should see a return on their investment very soon! Zoo officials hope to add a male bear in the future. Keeping my fingers crossed for polar bear cubs!

These girls, Anana (an Inuit word meaning "pretty") and Aurora (named for the aurora borealis), are only three years old. They were born at the Toledo Zoo and housed for two years at the Pittsburgh Zoo. They came to live in their new environment in late February.

Although we had to view them from behind glass, it didn't take away from their awesome beauty.

There is also an interpretive center which focuses on conservation and the global climate change that has resulted in a loss of habitat for these wonderful animals. There are lots of hands-on activities for children and adults alike. The building is designed to resemble a rustic Alaska town.

Thomas Alva Edison was promoting conservation and solar energy in his day. Why didn't we listen to him then? 

"I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don't have to wait till oil and coal run out before we tackle that."

We all know that glaciers around the world are disappearing at an alarming rate due to global climate change. This photo illustrates the dramatic difference.

Tomorrow, Part Two: What's happening elsewhere at the Columbus Zoo.

This post has been featured as a Travel Gem on Uptake.


Char said...

what wonderful shots and a beautiful exhibit

The Bumbles said...

I'm a sucker for zoos. Animals fascinate me - how they interact, play, sleep - just like people. But I always feel guilty when I leave - knowing they are trapped and not free. That always breaks my heart. So does that glacier comparison. It crosses my mind especially with the oil disaster - what are we doing to this Earth?

California Girl said...

Kinda blows your mind to read the Edison quote. Had to be a hundred years ago, at least. What a mess we're making. Ooohh, right now, Bill Clinton and Dubya are in a PSA about Haitian Relief. Where was Bush when Amur-a-kuh needed relief? Relief from Rumsfeldt, Rove, Cheney, etc.

Anonymous said...

LOVE the Edison quote! What have we been doing all this time?! Makes me mad and frustrated.
Thanks for featuring this new exhibit. It's been years since I've been to the Columbus Zoo, but its an east trip when I visit my parents.

Cora said...

Beautiful bears....oh yes!
Thanks for sharing this!

Sandy Nawrot said...

I love zoos. Whenever we are visiting a city, and we have extra time, we try to go. But some make me want to cry, because the habitats aren't nice looking. I wouldn't feel this way about the Columbus Zoo. These animals have it made!

Susan said...

Thank you, was a good zoo day!

Susan said...

Molly, I have felt as you do when I visit zoos. But the Columbus Zoo never gives me that feeling. Jack Hanna has done so much to improve the animals' habitats over the last thirty years. It really is a premier zoo and top-rated in the country.

It's amazing the difference in the glaciers in Glacier N.P. just since we visited in 1987. Breaks my heart.

Susan said...

Amen, Cali Girl! I wonder why they aren't doing any telethons for Gulf Oil Spill relief?

Susan said...

Stacy, I'll make you a bet that if you visit the Columbus Zoo, you won't even recognize it! So much has changed just in the last few years. It just keeps getting better and better.

Mr. Edison was certainly a man of vision!

Susan said...

Thank you, Cora. Don't they look so healthy? They seemed to really be enjoying the weather yesterday...nice and cool!

Susan said...

Sandy, you would be amazed at how great this zoo is! If you ever get a chance when you're in Indiana, come over and I'll give you a guided tour.

steviewren said...

It looks like you guys had a great time. The exhibit sounds topnotch.

Cindy said...

Have I ever told you that my husband works at the Oregon Zoo? It's true. It looks like we'll have to visit the Columbus Zoo one day.

After reading your blog, I'm humming Simon and Garfunkel... Someone told me it's all happening at the zoo. I do believe it, I do believe it's true. Mmmmm. Mmmmm. Whoooa. Mmmmm.

Ruth said...

Your grandkids are fortunate to get educated this way. It's powerful.

The polar bears are just gorgeous. And the foxes too. That white fur is splendid.

Oh it makes me sick that no one who had the right kind of power listened to Edison!


Oliag said...

Finally peeking in on your zoo trip!...You got some wonderful photos of the polar bears especially! Altho there is always controversy re zoos I think they are worthwile and wonderful for the education offered to us all...they are so much better now than when we were young too. I remember a polar bear exhibit in the local zoo when I was young in which the single bear swam around and around in a small pool...these bears look so much happier!

Susan said...

steviewren, you're right about the exhibit being top-notch, as is the whole zoo. I think it is rated near the top in the country. We had a wonderful time!

Susan said...

Cindy, I didn't know that about Michael! That seems like a great job...I don't even care what he does, he's at a zoo! You really should visit Columbus (me) sometime. I would be more than happy to take you on a guided tour of the whole area! Wouldn't that be fun?!

Susan said...

Ruthie they are fortunate to be able to learn about endangered animals at such a premium zoo. They go all out to educate in the experience. We go quite often.

We were lucky to have gotten there very early before the big crowds arrived and were able to talk personally with a docent who was very knowledgeable. It definitely enhances the experience.

Edison would never have been heard no matter how loudly or often he said it...oil was too cheap. Very sad that someone didn't heed the call.

Susan said...

Oh, Oliag, I remember going to the Columbus Zoo when I was a child and it was an awful, old-fashioned caged environment without any attempt at natural habitats. Jack Hanna was a very young man when he came to the zoo from Florida and completely turned it around. He's an amazing guy! My husband has even met him and he said he is just like he appears on TV.