Celebrities and Families Celebrate as Conrad Prebys Polar Bear Plunge Becomes an Expedition for the Entire Family
After three months and a $1 million investment, the San Diego Zoo re-opened the Conrad Prebys Polar Bear Plunge. During opening events Friday, the Zoo welcomed celebrities, their families and the public into the renovated exhibit to explore the world of the polar bear.
"The San Diego Zoo is my favorite zoo. I grew up coming here, so I was really excited to bring the kids," said Tori Spelling, actress and celebrity emcee. "This is their first trip to a zoo and it's something we've been wanting to do for a while, this is a momentous occasion in their lives."
The Polar Bear Plunge exhibit is home to Kalluk and Tatqiq, 9-year-old siblings, and Chinook, a 15-year-old female.
The seven new areas for guest to discover are:
Storybook Area - kids and parents can read about polar bears
"How You Measure Up station" - guests will see how they compare to a polar bear - in height, weight and food consumption
The Snow Den - kids of all ages can crawl around the home of a polar bear and her cub and pop through a seal's breathing hole in the ice
Research Helicopter - like those used by researchers in the Arctic
"It's Melting" - maps changes to ice in the Arctic during the last 20 years
Carbon Dioxide Graph - larger-than-life graph of the carbon dioxide levels in the Earth's atmosphere
An Experience Wall that gives guests a glimpse into the relationship between the Zoo's keepers and the bears
The San Diego Zoo is the first zoo to offer a polar bear interaction wall. Three times a day, polar bear keepers move aside glass panels and interact with the Zoo's three polar bears through wire mesh.
The San Diego Zoo is also offering online tools to help guests measure their carbon footprint and then offset some or all of those measured emissions. Through a partnership with Nature & Culture International, a carbon calculator on the Zoo's Web site calculates information about household size and activities, including travel, power consumption and recycling, to measure carbon emissions. Once calculated, users have the opportunity to purchase carbon offsets, which is one way to mitigate personal contributions to carbon emissions. The calculator can be found at www.sandiegozoo.org/carbon.
The 100-acre San Diego Zoo is dedicated to the conservation of endangered species and their habitats. The organization focuses on conservation and research work around the globe, educates millions of individuals a year about wildlife and maintains accredited horticultural, animal, library and photo collections. The Zoo also manages the 1,800-acre San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park, which includes a 900-acre native species reserve, and the San Diego Zoo's Institute for Conservation Research. The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.