May 26, 2015


Latest News

Polar bears make a big splash at zoo

The long-awaited, highly anticipated Journey to Churchill exhibit opened today at the Assiniboine Park Zoo with a rush of families and fanfare.

But the biggest stars of the $90 million, four-hectare exhibit were the polar bears — especially the female bears, Aurora and Kaska, who splashed in their own pool for the first time and astounded visitors who could see them swimming overhead in the 21.3-metre-long Sea Ice Passage, which is three metres wide and 2.5 metres high, inside the Gateway to the Arctic building.

The grand opening of the Assiniboine Park Zoo exhibit Journey to Churchill was a new experience for many Winnipeggers, as well as the polar bears who were introduced to their new home only hours earlier.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The grand opening of the Assiniboine Park Zoo exhibit Journey to Churchill was a new experience for many Winnipeggers, as well as the polar bears who were introduced to their new home only hours earlier. Photo Store

The four-hectare Journey to Churchill exhibit features multiple viewing areas for northern wildlife, including polar bears, muskoxen, snowy owls and arctic fox, with many interactive elements, such as a bowhead whale dig and the Churchill Northern Studies Shelter.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

The four-hectare Journey to Churchill exhibit features multiple viewing areas for northern wildlife, including polar bears, muskoxen, snowy owls and arctic fox, with many interactive elements, such as a bowhead whale dig and the Churchill Northern Studies Shelter. Photo Store

After being closed for 10 days, the zoo opened the new Journey to Churchill exhibit today.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

After being closed for 10 days, the zoo opened the new Journey to Churchill exhibit today. Photo Store

Don Peterkin, chief operations officer for the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, said the exhibit gives visitors a chance to see animals in habitats that are as close to natural as possible while exposing them to educational aspects such as climate change, conservation and wildlife preservation.

"We wanted to create something that was a signature exhibit. There’s nothing like this anywhere in the world. This is the No. 1 northern species exhibit and it’s appropriate for Manitoba with the focus on polar bears and the polar bear capital of the world (Churchill), " Peterkin said.

The exhibit also includes a 360-degree theatre that shows a short film about the Churchill area, wildlife and the seasons through the eyes of an indigenous family.

"We’re creating awareness of what’s in our own back yard," Peterkin said.

The new exhibit features multiple viewing areas for northern wildlife, including polar bears, muskoxen, snowy owls and arctic fox, with many interactive elements, such as a bowhead whale dig and the Churchill Northern Studies Shelter.

The zoo will be open until 5 p.m. today and resume its normal 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. operating hours Friday.

To avoid lineups, visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance online at www.assiniboineparkzoo.ca/tickets. Tickets are valid for 90 days from the date of purchase. Visitors will enter through the zoo's new entrance at 2595 Roblin Blvd.

The price of admission ranges from $18.50 for adults to $10 for children ages three to 12. The zoo is offering a $10 Tuesday admission price discount from July 8 to December 30, 2014.

To celebrate the zoo's reopening after being closed for 10 days, special activities and entertainment are planned for the weekend. Visitors from today to Sunday will receive a free Journey to Churchill collectible polar bear pin while quantities last. The zoo's new mascot, Winston the polar bear, will also be making appearances and posing for photos with visitors.

History

Updated on Thursday, July 3, 2014 at 3:16 PM CDT: adds new photos

3:51 PM: Adds details on Sea Ice Passage

7:26 PM: Adds admission price details.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective January 2015.

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 27 12:32 am

Swiss authorities: 6 FIFA officials arrested, suspected of getting, paying millions in bribes wfp.to/ROt

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 26 11:14 pm

Brassard, Lundqvist lead Rangers past Lightning 7-3 wfp.to/ROU

Paul Samyn | @PaulSamyn

May 26 11:01 pm

Growing troubles for city trees on Wednesday's front page of @WinnipegNews pic.twitter.com/xw8mjGQWfX

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 26 10:24 pm

'We don't want to hold another vigil' wfp.to/ROq

Winnipeg Free Press | @WinnipegNews

May 26 9:36 pm

Tories nominate Janice Morley-Lecomte for Seine River wfp.to/ROr

Scroll down to load more

Top