The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has announced a new use for the closed Bear Hill.
Next summer, the area will host three different habitats: Bear Ridge, Sea Otter Coast and a habitat full of “North American backyard wildlife,” per a release from the zoo.
“The lower grotto area, which will become Sea Otter Coast, features a massive underwater viewing area where visitors will get close-up opportunities to see sea otters play, eat, swim, and engage in enrichment activities,” said zoo director Thane Maynard. “The upper areas will be redesigned to provide great homes for black bears and other species native to North America.”
Zoo officials say these new habitats are replacing “Bear Hill”, which was originally constructed in 1937. While ahead of its time when it was constructed, the habitat needs an intense refurbishment to be up to modern standards.
The zoo says they plan to fill in the moats, which previously kept bears from escaping, and rework the space to give the animals the most amount of space possible.
These new habitats are being built with money from the More Home to Roam fundraising campaign, which launched in 2018 with the goal of raising $150 million by 2025 for habitat improvement at the zoo.
“Thanks to the generosity of donors and other Zoo supporters, and despite supply-chain and other challenges we faced due to the pandemic, we have accomplished a heck of a lot since we broke ground on the first More Home to Roam project nearly four years ago,” said Maynard. “We opened two new habitats just months after reopening our gates in 2020 and are well on our way to making the capstone of the campaign, Elephant Trek, a reality!”
Other projects that have been completed under the More Home to Roam umbrella include the Kanga’ Klimb and Roo Valley for the zoo’s kangaroos, plus the African Penguin Point habitats.
The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is located at 3400 Vine St., Avondale. Tickets and more info: cincinnatizoo.org.
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