Minnesota Zoo Media Contact

If you are a member of the press, please contact: Kelly Lessard
Public Relations Manager
Minnesota Zoo
13000 Zoo Boulevard
Apple Valley, MN 55124
952.431.9217 direct
952.431.9300 fax
kelly.lessard@state.mn.us

Brown Bear Open House Media Preview:
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
9-10 a.m. (photo opp closes at 10 a.m. when bears go on exhibit)
Meet at Guest Services Desk

Apple Valley, MINN – September 29, 2015 – Have you ever wondered what it’s like inside the Minnesota Zoo’s award-winning brown bear exhibit inside Russia’s Grizzly Coast? Now’s your chance to find out! Zoo members and guests will be invited to explore the other side (while the bears are off exhibit, of course) during a “Brown Bear Open House” on select weekends in October starting this coming weekend, and media are getting the first, once-in-a-lifetime pawspective on Wednesday, September 30 from 9-10 a.m.

The Zoo’s brown bears made international news* this past summer when one of them accidentally broke one of the front glass panels. It’s now time to get that glass permanently replaced, so while the bears are enjoying some quality R&R behind the scenes,  the Zoo is extending a public invitation to see the bears’ home on October 3/4, 10/11, 17/18, and 24/25. Guests will be able to access the exhibit through the bear training door to explore the den, sandpit and hill areas. In addition, one lucky group (up to six people) will win a behind-the-scenes experience of an afternoon bear enrichment session in the holding area. Interested guests can register for this exclusive experience when they arrive at the Zoo (between 9 a.m. and noon each day), and the winner will be announced via text message and signage at the Guest Services Desk. Please note: this opportunity will not be available Halloween weekend and is weather dependent.

 

*The story behind the glass: on July 6, 2015, a brown bear inside Russia’s Grizzly Coast moved a rock from the bottom of the exhibit pool and rolled it up and along the pool’s barrier, eventually causing the inner pane of glass to break and spiderweb, much like a car windshield. The pane is one of five layers of shatter-proof glass and it responded to the event exactly as it was designed to do – causing no harm or danger to either the animals or Zoo guests. The bears were immediately recalled to their holding area so that Zoo staff could begin inspections and repairs. A temporary barrier was installed so that the bears could spend the summer outdoors and entertain their adoring public.

The Minnesota Zoo is a year-round destination located in Apple Valley, just minutes south of Mall of America. Its mission is to connect people, animals and the natural world to save wildlife. For more information, call 952.431.9500 or visit mnzoo.org. The Minnesota Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and an institutional member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).