Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Posted: 07/3/2014 2:24 PM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 07/3/2014 7:26 PM | Updates
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.
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.
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.
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
Authorities review video of fatal parking lot run-in
Japan outraged as video purportedly shows hostage beheaded
Baird applauds 'historic' U.S.-Cuba thaw
Long time since Jets dropped three straight
Lindor's words live on in new ebook
Axworthy quits in frustration
Extreme cold warning through most of Manitoba
Lowest prices on last-minute Super Bowl tickets near $9,000
'Me and Earl and the Dying Girl' sweeps Sundance Awards
Civilians flee east Ukraine town as fighting intensifies
Greek leader tamps down rhetoric, vows to pay off debts
China: Fuelling the dragon's fire
Montreal says imam can't open Islamic centre
Geraldine McEwan dies aged 82
Your weekend weather
Balloon pilots make history with trans-Pacific flight
Grits within 'striking distance' in Westman: Poll
Swords, machete used in Silver Heights home invasion
Suspect sought after evening attack on woman
Staring death in the eye
Stolen SUV crashes into Pembina Highway hotel - $40,000 damage
Scores less, does more
Pick up Ottawa's dropped ball: Oswald
Quintet set for biz hall
Let's talk about sex ed
Owning a home a thrill for family
Provinces ask for economic boost
A police dog to remember
U of M head rips group's critique of faculty
Jets aim to simplify and get back to winning
'Virtual waiting rooms' one solution to ambulance wait times: fire chief
Genuine MS clinical trial approved for Manitobans
Artillery fire kills at least 12 civilians in Donetsk
Loonie lower, November GDP declines
Woman and child pulled from B.C. river
The NDP's complicated leadership election system, and how it works for them
SUV and car collide near Moose Lake: Three dead, five injured
Opposition treads carefully with new bill
Oswald says it may be time for province to step in for First Nations