Archive: Celebrate International Polar Bear Day at the Detroit Zoo February 24 and 27

Activities will highlight issues facing species in the wild

February 19, 2018

ROYAL OAK, Mich., 

The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) is hosting free activities at the Detroit Zoo’s award-winning Arctic Ring of Life to celebrate International Polar Bear Day and raise awareness of the conservation concerns facing this iconic species. Two events – one on Saturday, Feb. 24, and another on Tuesday, Feb. 27 – will include zookeeper talks, educational activities and photo opportunities with the DZS’s polar bear mascot from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

“Our hope is that the 1.5 million people who visit the Detroit Zoo each year leave here with a greater understanding of the issues facing polar bears in the wild and the realization that everyone can do something to help save these animals and their arctic habitat,” said Scott Carter, DZS chief life sciences officer.

The polar bears will receive special treats in their habitat at 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Animal care staff will share information about the personalities and behaviors of the animals immediately following each feeding.

Education stations will include Zoomy handheld microscopes that will provide an up-close look at the fur of a polar bear to see that it’s not actually white but rather translucent and hollow – the sun’s reflection off the bear’s dark skin gives the illusion of a white coat. “Blubber gloves” will demonstrate how blubber serves as insulation for these marine mammals, keeping them warm despite their icy climate.

Conservation stations will allow visitors to witness the decrease in ice cover in the Arctic over the past several decades, analyze aerial photography to understand declining polar bear populations, and weigh puppets to comprehend the drop in average weight of these animals over the years.

An art station in the Nunavut Gallery will provide visitors with an overview of the DZS’s Inuit art collection. Guests can take part in creative projects that celebrate polar bears while exploring the techniques, processes and inspiration used in Inuit art.

Polar bear facts will be incorporated into footprints placed throughout the 70-foot-long Frederick and Barbara Erb Polar Passage, a clear tunnel that winds through the polar bears’ underwater environment as the animals swim above and around. Children will have the opportunity to piece together a life-sized polar bear puzzle on the floor of the Exploration Station.