Polar Bear Habitat  

by Pool Builders on 08-02-2007 in Articles

Initially I was disappointed. After paying $42 CA, no bears were to be seen. There were several people in the viewing area. The Habitat has two areas separating the one male from the two females. Each of the areas is quite large, big enough for a medium sized home with enough space for grass to mow! Outside the entrance to the viewing area and adjacent to the bears' swimming area is a swimming pool where people can "swim with a polar bear." Separating the people from the bears is Plexiglas. In one of their brochures are six people "swimming" with a bear that has a carrot trying to share with them. It is difficult to tell that there is a separation! Had it been warmer today, my wife would have been the one taking the pictures.

Finally a bear came from the bear holding area into the fenced area. She (we later learned) stopped about half way looking at the fence and moving her jaw as if she was distressed. I took a few pictures through the glass which is as close as we were allowed to go. As she wasn't coming any closer we decided to see Heritage Village which is included in the price.

The first building we went into housed old tractor equipment. All had metal wheels. One was from 1922. A general store that had displays of very old merchandise which was sold during that era. The doctor's office had a barber's chair, an old operating table, a place to sterilize their equipment, and several old stethoscopes. The place was a person's home with a wood stove, old ice box serving as a refrigerator, a nice living room, a "bathroom" area, which had a metal tub and a chair with a hole cut out including a pot with a lid on top of the chair. It also had two bedrooms and some old clothes hanging up.

I liked the old one room school house with desks and books. The trapper cabin was one room with a bed, a place for a wash bowl (I wouldn't call it a table), and some food storage items. The outhouse was almost real.

When we reached the gas station a man who knew about its history shared his knowledge with us.. There was a 1932 Plymouth which will be driven and displayed in town, on Sunday, Canada's birthday. He told us all the oil containers were original and full. The cash register had $2.99 rang up like this: 2 90 9. That is as high as the cash register could go because fuel back then was so cheap.

Oh, somewhere we saw a turn of the century milking machine but I could not determine what powered it. The displays were behind a wooden fence barrier, so we couldn't touch anything. The Heritage Village certainly transported us back in time. There were old tractors and snowmobiles too.

Back to the bear visitor's area we went. An employee, who works with the bears, was talking to some people and I saw one bear out. Then I saw the other female laying down by the fence. The girls are 600 plus pounds and the male weighs 800 to 1000 pounds. The girls are twins and had been orphaned, as had the male.

Now we were the only ones in the visitors' center. The girl that was lying down started playing with a plastic barrel they have. Once it went into the pool she jumped in and came up with a huge carrot; two or three inches in diameter! She had a great feast. By this time I was inside snapping pictures.

Outside, a tall fence surrounds the perimeter of the bear's pen. A second, 3 or 4 foot high fence kept me from getting too close. I am hoping I was able to get a couple of good pictures of her face. Her sister was back by the fence that separates the two areas, which also has a 10 or more foot area between the two pens. Even though the male and female were separated they sit and talk to each other. Last year, with all three together, one girl lost her hair down to her black skin causing people to think she was a black bear. However tests showed that all are normal and healthy. This year they are separated. We spent and hour or so in the visitors viewing area talking to a young lady who works there for the summer and to answer questions. She will begin her high school senior year this August. We learned a lot from her.

In the final analysis I am glad we took the time to see the Polar Bears.

You have my permission to reprint and distribute this article as long as it is distributed in its entirety, including all links and copyright information. © Lloyd Mize 2007

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