Polar Passage

polar bear in habitat

This expansive habitat provides larger, more open space so bears can patrol like they do in the Arctic, plus exciting new views for visitors.

A new home for bears

Design began in 2016 and construction started in 2018. Opened in 2021, the habitat features:

  • Saltwater pools—best for maintaining healthy skin and fur—with filtration systems that save water and energy 
  • An energy-saving geothermal loop that draws heat from the polar bear habitat to warm the elephant building 
  • Elevated terrain with natural landscaping, keeping the habitat cool and providing panoramic views for bears 
  • Views into the groundbreaking work the zoo is conducting with partners to understand how climate change affects wild bears 
  • Opportunities for up-close and interactive experiences, including a "smell port" where bears get within sniffing distance of visitors
  • Information on how to take climate action on behalf of wild bears and the Arctic ecosystem