Glacier Run Exhibit
Louisville Zoo

Louisville, Kentucky

Glacier Run Exhibit

Whittenberg served as the General Contractor for this state of the art Bear Exhibit. The exhibit is a sampling of life in Churchill, Canada.

Designed as an imaginary gold mining town on the edge of the arctic wilderness Glacier Run is based on the notion that humankind and nature must co-exist. The exhibit offers a truly unique experience where guests can connect with magnificent animals like polar and grizzly bears, interact with zookeepers to learn about conservation and become temporarily immersed in the experiences of life on the tundra.

Awesome polar and grizzly bears are the primary residents of the Louisville Zoo’s quirky little town of Glacier Run. They join the playful sea lions that are swimming and basking in their spacious pool. Stunning vistas and breathtaking animal training encounters (think being close enough to a polar bear to smell his breath) make a visit to Glacier Run a truly exhilarating experience.

The Town of Glacier Run

Designed as a former gold mining town on the edge of the arctic wilderness Glacier Run is based on the notion that humankind and nature must find ways to co-exist.

Visitors strolling down the main street of town will have many opportunities to immerse themselves in the experiences of life on the tundra and learn about conservation.  Zoo guests are encouraged to stop and talk with the keepers who care for the amazing animals in Glacier Run and to enjoy one or more of the exciting and educational training demonstrations presented each day.

In addition to many viewing portals into the animal habitats, the town of Glacier Run also includes:

Polar Bear Crossing

Bears move from one side of the exhibit to the other across an overhead transfer chute designed to look like a mine track. For visitors, this close proximity to the bears will help create the sense of being temporarily immersed in this unusual town.

The Loading Dock

In the town, a truck has pulled up to the loading dock of the general store. Guests can sit in the cab while bears rummage around in the bed of the truck, separated by a glass barrier of course. Items that appear at first glance to be trash on the loading dock are actually enrichment items for the bears.

The School House

The Old School House in Glacier Run has a multitude of uses. During the day students will utilize the facility for hands-on, minds-on interactive learning experiences. A look outside the window will bring them nose to nose with polar bears, and arctic-themed curriculum will help them understand the impact that global climate change is having on our planet. In the evenings the school can be rented for after-hours events and meetings or used for Zoo overnights.


Project Data:

  • Construction Cost: $16,000,000
  • Completion: 2011