Polar Bear Plunge: Re-Opened!

A young guest pops his head out of a seal breathing hole, one of seven new elements at Polar Bear Plunge.

Thanks to the generous support of Conrad Prebys, our new $1 million renovation of Polar Bear Plunge is fun, interactive, educational, and OPEN!

This past Friday, we kicked off opening day with media covering the fun and exciting VIP party. With about 200 special guests in attendance, I was asked to give a walking tour from the new storybook area all the way through the enhanced guest area to the awe-inspiring Experience Wall. It was no surprise that adults and kids alike were thrilled with the new additions to Polar Bear Plunge.

Guests watch one of our polar bears at the new Experience Wall.

At noon, the official ribbon cutting (actually an ice ribbon) was “cut” by Dr. Frederick A. Fry, San Diego Zoo board president, and celebrity guest Tori Spelling, who was there with her husband and two kids for the big day. Hundreds of guests were on hand and made their way in to see all of the changes and updates that were done.

Keep in mind, Polar Bear Plunge was originally built in 1996 with the goal to be one of the best zoo polar bear habitats, and, of course, that goal was met. To this day it remains one of the best opportunities for people to see how bears live in the summer tundra of the North. One thing that was not a concern when it was built in 1996 was discussing the habitat loss that polar bears experience, because there wasn’t really anything significant back in 1996.

However, since that time there have been many changes to the polar bear’s habitat in the wild. Our researchers and conservation partners who study these wonderful animals have been recording dramatic changes over the years. As a conservation organization we believe it is our responsibility to educate our guests and connect them to wildlife and conservation. Today, Polar Bear Plunge is now one of the best polar bear experiences for our animals and guests alike!

As you can see from our new Polar Bear Plunge Web site, there are now many new elements to explore and enjoy. From here you can make a pledge to help the polar bears and post that pledge on your Facebook page, learn “heaps of cool stuff,” and play some interactive games to keep you inspired to follow through with your pledge. Keep in mind that while you’re on the Polar Bear Plunge Web site you can visit the popular Polar Bear Cam that many people enjoy around the world.

Rick Schwartz is the San Diego Zoo’s ambassador. Read his previous post, Touring Fun in Phoenix.

Here’s video of the grand re-opening!

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