The award-winning exhibit is a recreation of a Churchill, Alaska-like outpost on the fringe of the arctic wilderness. The goal of the new habitat was to bring the back-of-house out front to exhibit the world-class husbandry and training techniques of the Zoo while also providing a richly immersive experience that told the story of the effects of climate change on the arctic habitats. The experience features a variety of arctic wildlife in a dynamic mixture of natural habitats and a themed, mining town setting.
“Glacier Run has been a remarkably successful addition to the Louisville Zoo,” said John Walczak, director of the Louisville Zoo. “The setting has provided us the opportunity to interpret important messages like climate change and habitat encroachment, and inspire our 4,354,020 visitors over the last five years to increase their personal conservation efforts.”
In 2012, Glacier Run was honored by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums with the top design award in the zoo industry. According to the AZA, the exhibit achieved the award for creating innovative training and enrichment for bears, increasing visitor engagement and average stay time at the Zoo, and creating a space and program resources to aid in the recovery of rescued animals.Currently, Glacier Run houses several rescued animals: wild-born polar bear Qannik who was rescued from the North Slope in Alaska where she was found separated from her mother and siblings as a cub, three rescued grizzly bears from Montana, and two of the zoo’s six sea lions.
“It’s truly an honor and a privilege to be a partner with one of the most incredible zoos in the world,” said PGAV Destinations VP John Kemper. “They are truly a team of visionaries, creatives, and industry leaders, and I look forward to many more exciting years of experience creation with them.”
Glacier Run is home to polar bears Qannik and Siku; three grizzlies – Inga and her two cubs Otis and Rita; six California sea lions Bart, Gremlin, Kahula, Patches, Riva, Triton; harbor seal Toney and Steller’s sea eagles Piotr and Anna. Guests of Glacier Run have the opportunity to see keepers interact with the animals in daily training demonstrations. Guests can see a polar or grizzly bear up close in two trainings at 11:15 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. Splashing good times can be had at the seal and sea lion demonstrations which take place at 10:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3:45 p.m.
PGAV Destinations also worked with the Louisville Zoo on another recent renovation, the Zoo’s African Area. The new exhibit is an expansion and enhancement of the pre-existing space for some of the Zoo’s most beloved animals. The immersive experience, for both guests and animals alike, is home to elephants, Masai giraffes, camels, Hartmann’s mountain zebras, addax, and bongos, a large African antelope.