Edit ModuleShow Tags

Black Bears at the Minnesota Zoo


Published:

Rainy and cool weather notwithstanding, Minnesota Zoo members turned out for an after-hours event last night to welcome three new black bears and gain a sneak preview of the new exhibit. This Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m., Zoo Director and CEO Lee Ehmke will participate in a ceremonial ribbon cutting with students from Andover Elementary School, who brought an initiative to the state legislature wishing to get the black bear named the state mammal.

The new exhibit, located along the Medtronic Minnesota Trail, features three young bears who were orphaned near Leech Lake when they were cubs. Tiva and Syke, the males, and Kuruk are now approximately two-and-a-half years old. The new habitat is partly due to support from the Legacy Amendment Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the Minnesota Zoo Foundation, and it looks great. Much like the Russia’s Grizzly Coast exhibit, the enclosure’s design includes features that make it more like natural habitat than what one might associate with a zoo: a pool for bathing, trees to climb, a cave for napping (which also include a large window for an up-close view), and even hot rocks for bears to lounge upon during cold weather.

During my visit, I even learned a few facts about bears, including that black bear populations in America are fairly healthy. According to zoo information, there are twice as many black bears as all other bear species combined. Of course, black bears in Minnesota are normally associated with northern areas, including the Boundary Waters. I also learned that black bears will roam great distances in the fall to gather food to increase fat reserves for the winter. These bears were definitely on the move, making it hard to get a sharp photo. Dozens of visitors, each with camera in hand, gathered near the window to capture an image as one of the young bears passed back and forth just behind the glass. I overheard one zoo official in charge of caring for the bears tell a patron that the bear liked interacting with people, and the pacing was just a sign that he was excited. The bears make a great addition to the zoo, which continues to grow and change nearly every year. If you haven't been in some time, I'd encourage you to visit soon.

The Minnesota Zoo
13000 Zoo Boulevard, Apple Valley
952-431-9500, mnzoo.org

A list of black bear exhibit opening day activities:
9 a.m. Minnesota Zoo Opens & Ribbon Cutting
10 a.m., Noon & 2 p.m. Black Bear Zookeeper Talks
11 a.m., 1 p.m. & 2:30 p.m. Animal Encounters

11 a.m. & 2 p.m. “Tales Along the Minnesota Trail” Performance (limited seating)
—a 35-minute interactive storytelling musical about two young friends who take a musical journey to meet some of the people and animals who’ve called Minnesota home.
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Crafts and Face Painting
12:30 p.m. Black Bear, Loon & Walleye book reading by Author Sara Button

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Rochester’s SocialICE 2017

Warm temperatures this weekend could melt the ice bars, but nothing can dampen the winter spirit (and delicious cocktails)

February To Do List

Moveable Feast: MnMo editor Rachel Hutton and MPR Classical’s John Birge preview February's top events

5 Reasons to Visit the St. Paul Winter Carnival

Experience the family-friendly fun of the St. Paul Winter Carnival January 26-February 6, 2017.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

Learn about the contributing writers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Recent Minnesota Journeys Posts

Rochester’s SocialICE 2017

Warm temperatures this weekend could melt the ice bars, but nothing can dampen the winter spirit (and delicious cocktails)

February To Do List

Moveable Feast: MnMo editor Rachel Hutton and MPR Classical’s John Birge preview February's top events

5 Reasons to Visit the St. Paul Winter Carnival

Experience the family-friendly fun of the St. Paul Winter Carnival January 26-February 6, 2017.

Ice Castle Wonderland Lights Up the Night in Stillwater

Ice structures shaped like frozen waterfalls, ice slides, tunnels and mazes bring a little magic to the chilly winter season.

Top Minnesota Events in January

Moveable Feast: MnMo editor Rachel Hutton and MPR Classical’s John Birge preview top events in the state this month
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags