Zoos with Polar Bears in the U.S.

Want to see a polar bear? These endangered animals are native to the Arctic Circle but fortunately you don’t have to go to the North Pole to see them.

There are actually a handful of zoos in the U.S. that have polar bears on display.

The following is a list of zoos with polar bears in the U.S.:

Alaska Zoo:

Address: 4731 O’Malley Rd, Anchorage, AK

Website: www.alaskazoo.org

Established in 1969, the Alaska Zoo is a 25-acre zoo in Alaska that is home to over 100 animals including big cats, moose, reindeer, birds of prey and bears.

The zoo is also currently home to polar bears who live in the Polar Bear Habitat.

Brookfield Zoo:

Address: 8400 W 31st St, Brookfield, IL

Website: www.czs.org

Established in 1934, Brookfield Zoo is a 216-acre-zoo in Illinois that is home to over 2,300 animals including big cats, wolves, crocodiles, dolphins, gorillas and zebras.

The zoo is also home to polar bears who live in the Great Bear Wilderness exhibit which they share with grizzly bears, bald eagles and American bison. The zoo has housed polar bears since it first opened the Great Bear Wilderness exhibit in 2010.

In 2023, the Brookfield Zoo was named the 5th best zoo in the U.S. in USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards.

Buffalo Zoo:

Address: 300 Parkside Ave, Buffalo, NY

Website: buffalozoo.org

Established in 1875, the Buffalo Zoo is a 23-acre zoo in New York state that is home to over 1,200 animals including monkeys, big cats, zebras, sloths, giraffe and more.

The zoo is also home to polar bears who live in the Arctic Edge exhibit which they share with arctic foxes, bald eagles and Eurasian lynx.

The Buffalo Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium:

Address: 4850 W Powell Rd, Powell, OH

Website: www.columbuszoo.org

Established in 1927, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is a 21-acre zoo in Ohio that is home to more than 7,000 animals including koalas, elephants, tasmanian devils, sloths and tigers.

The zoo is also home to polar bears who live in the Polar Frontier exhibit which they share with arctic foxes and brown bears.

The zoo has housed polar bears ever since it opened the Polar Frontier exhibit in 2010. Around the same time, the zoo started a polar bear breeding program which has produced a number of cubs.

In 2009, the zoo was named the number one zoo in the United States by USA Today and in 2012 it was ranked the number one best zoo by Besties Readers Choice.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory:

Address: 1225 Estabrook Dr, St Paul, MN

Website: comozooconservatory.org

Established in 1897, the Como Park Zoo is a 17-acre zoo and conservatory in Minnesota that is home to animals such as giraffe, wolves, big cats, arctic foxes, bison and more.

The zoo is also home to polar bears who live in the Polar Bear Odyssey exhibit which was constructed in 2010. The exhibit is designed to emulate a Hudson Bay ecosystem complete with a river-washed stream, rocky cliffs and evergreen plantings.

Como Park Zoo is one of only 10 free zoos in America.

Como Park Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Detroit Zoo:

Address: 8450 W 10 Mile Rd, Royal Oak, MI

Website: detroitzoo.org

Established in 1928, the Detroit Zoo is a 125-acre-zoo in Michigan that is home to more than 2,000 animals including camels, American bison, giraffe, big cats, red pandas and kangaroos.

The zoo is also home to polar bears who live in the 4-acre Arctic Ring of Life exhibit which they share with Southern sea otters.

The Arctic Ring of Life exhibit is one of North America’s largest polar bear habitats and features a clear tunnel that winds through the underwater section of the habitat and allows visitors to view the polar bears swimming.

The Arctic Ring of Life was named the No. 2 Best Zoo Exhibit in the U.S. by the Intrepid Traveler’s guide to America’s Best Zoos.

The Detroit Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Hogle Zoo:

Address: 2600 Sunnyside Ave S, Salt Lake City, UT

Website: www.hoglezoo.org

Established in 1931, Hogle Zoo is a 42-acre zoo in Utah that is home to more than 800 animals including giraffes, big cats, elephants, grizzly bears, and exotic monkeys.

The zoo is also home to two polar bears who live in the Rocky Shores exhibit which they share with seals, grizzly bears, bald eagles and otters.

The Rocky Shores exhibit features Tidewater Cove which is an indoor cove where visitors can watch the polar bears and other animals swim.

Hogle Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Henry Vilas Zoo:

Address: 702 S Randall Ave, Madison, WI

Website: www.henryvilaszoo.gov

Established in 1911, the Henry Vilas Zoo is a 28-acre public zoo in Wisconsin that is home to over 650 animals including camels, alligators, big cats, capybara and red pandas.

The zoo is also home to polar bears who live in the Arctic Passage exhibit which they share with grizzly bears and harbor seals.

The Arctic Passage exhibit features an underwater viewing area where visitors can watch the animals swim.

The Henry Vilas Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is one of only 10 free zoos in America.

Kansas City Zoo:

Address: 6800 Zoo Drive, Kansas City, MO

Website: kansascityzoo.org

Established in 1909, the Kansas City Zoo is a 202-acre zoo in Missouri that is home to over 1,700 animals including capybara, big cats, wallaby and elephants.

The zoo is also home to one polar bear, a male bear named Nuniq, who lives in the polar bear habitat. The zoo was previously home to another polar bear, Berlin, who died in 2023 at the age of 33, which made her the oldest polar bear in the captivity.

The Kansas City Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Lincoln Park Zoo:

Address: 2204 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago, IL

Website: www.lpzoo.org

Established in 1868, the Lincoln Park Zoo is a 35-acre zoo in Illinois that is home to over 1,000 animals including giraffe, big cats, bears, monkeys, camel and sloths.

The zoo is also home to polar bears who live in the Walter Family Arctic Tundra exhibit.

The Lincoln Park Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Louisville Zoo:

Address: 1100 Trevilian Way, Louisville, KY

Website: louisvillezoo.org

Established in 1969, the Louisville Zoo is a 134-acre zoo in Kentucky that is home to over 1,700 animals including sloths, big cats, orangutans, camels, giraffe and albino alligators.

The zoo is also home to polar bears who live in the Glacial Run exhibit.

The Louisville Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Memphis Zoo:

Address: 2000 Prentiss Pl, Memphis, TN

Website: www.memphiszoo.org

Established in 1906, the Memphis Zoo is a 76-acre zoo in Tennessee that is home to over 3,500 animals including zebra, giraffe, sloth, capybara and big cats.

The zoo is also home to two polar bears who live in the Northwest Passage exhibit which they share with sea lions, ravens and bald eagles. The zoo has housed polar bears ever since the 1930s.

The Memphis Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

North Carolina Zoo

Address: 4401 Zoo Pkwy, Asheboro, NC

Website: www.ncpedia.org/north-carolina-zoological-park

Established in 1974, the North Carolina zoo is a 2,140-acre zoo in North Carolina that is home to over 1,700 animals including alligators, big cats, giraffe, wolves and zebra.

The zoo is also home to polar bears who live in the Rocky Coast Habitat which they share with arctic foxes, puffin and harbor seals.

The North Carolina Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Oregon Zoo:

Address: 4001 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, OR

Website: www.oregonzoo.org

Established in 1888, the Oregon Zoo is a 64-acre zoo in Oregon that is home to more than 1,800 animals including elephants, bears, big cats, giraffe, red pandas and lemurs.

The zoo is also home to polar bears who live in the Pacific Shores exhibit which they share with penguins, sea otters and harbor seals.

The Oregon Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is owned by the regional Metro government.

Pittsburgh Zoo:

Address: 7370 Baker St, Pittsburgh, PA

Website: www.pittsburghzoo.org

Established in 1898, the Pittsburgh Zoo is a 77-acre zoo in Pennsylvania that is home to more than 4,000 animals including elephants, big cats, komodo dragons, red pandas and gorillas.

The zoo is also home to polar bears who live in the Water’s Edge exhibit which is a replica fishing village with polar bears, sea otters and seals. The exhibit features two underwater tunnels where visitors can watch these animals swim.

The zoo has housed polar bears since it first opened the Water’s Edge exibit in 2006.

The Pittsburgh Zoo is not currently accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums but is currently working towards accreditation to bring it back in line with the terms of its lease with the City of Pittsburgh.

The zoo was previously accredited by the AZA until 2015 when it ended its accrediation over the AZA’s safety policy that places limits on unprotected contact between elephants and keepers.

The zoo is owned by the City of Pittsburgh but managed and operated by the Zoological Society of Pittsburgh.

San Diego Zoo:

Address: 2920 Zoo Dr, San Diego, CA

Website: sandiegozoowildlifealliance.org

Established in 1916, the San Diego Zoo is a 100-acre zoo in California that is home to over 4,000 animals including giraffes, koalas, big cats, red pandas and wolves.

The zoo is also home to polar bears who live in the Conrad Prebys Polar Bear Plunge exhibit. The zoo has housed polar bears since it received its first polar bear in 1916. In 1926, the zoo built the new polar bear exhibit which features unobstructed view of the zoo’s three polar bears.

The polar bear exhibit also includes interactive elements such as a life-size polar bear statues and a polar bear den to crawl through and a Polar Cam where you can watch the polar bears on a live cam on the zoo’s website during daylight hours.

The San Diego Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

The San Diego Zoo is owned by the city is exclusively managed and maintained by San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.

Saint Louis Zoo:

Address: 1 Government Square, St. Louis, MO

Website: stlzoo.org

Established in 1910, the Saint Louis Zoo is a 90-acre zoo in Forest Park in Missouri that is home to over 16,000 animals including big cats, elephants, capybara, red pandas and more.

The zoo is also home to one polar bear who lives in the 40,000-square-foot McDonnell Polar Bear Point exhibit. The zoo has housed the polar bear since it first opened the exhibit in June of 2015.

In 2017 and 2018, the zoo was named as the best zoo in the United States by USA Today. In 2023, it was named the 8th best U.S. Zoo in USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards.

The Saint Louis Zoo is one of only 10 free zoos in America.

The Saint Louis Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Seneca Park Zoo:

Address: 2222 St. Paul Street, Rochester, NY

Website: senecaparkzoo.org

Established in 1894, the Seneca Park Zoo is a 20-acre zoo in New York that is home to over 300 animals including wolves, big cats, giraffe, red pandas and snowy owls.

The zoo is also home to one polar bear, Anoki, who was born at the zoo in 1996 and lives in the Rocky Coast exhibit.

In 2022, the zoo was named one of the best zoos in New York state by the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle newspaper.

The zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Toledo Zoo:

Address: 2 Hippo Way, Toledo, OH

Website: www.toledozoo.org

Established in 1900, the Toledo Zoo is a 51-acre zoo in Ohio that is home to over 10,000 animals including big cats, elephants, wolves, red pandas and zebras.

The zoo is also home to polar bears who live in the Arctic Encounter exhibit at the zoo.

The Toledo Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Sources:

AZA Accredited and Certified Members.” Association of Zoos and Aquariums, aza.org/inst-status?locale=en

Walker, Adria. “Best Zoos in New York State to Visit.” Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 14 June. 2022, democratandchronicle.com/in-depth/news/2022/05/17/best-zoos-new-york-state-visit-tickets-hours-animals-attractions/9496358002/

Polar Bear.” Seneca Park Zoo, senecaparkzoo.org/polar-bear/

Northwest Passage.” Memphis Zoo, memphiszoo.org/northwest-passage?animal=Polar+Bears

Our Polar Bear.” Louisville Zoo, louisvillezoo.org/glacier-run/our-polar-bears/

Walter Family Arctic Tundra.” Lincoln Park Zoo, lpzoo.org/exhibits/walter-family-arctic-tundra/

Kansas City Zoo mourns the loss of 33-year-old polar bear Berlin.” KMBC, 13 Jan. 2023, kmbc.com/article/kc-zoo-mourns-33-year-old-polar-bear-berlin/42477407

Animals.” Kansas City Zoo, kansascityzoo.org/animals/

Arctic Edge.” Buffalo Zoo, buffalozoo.org/exhibits/arctic-edge/

About Henry Vilas Zoo.” Henry Vilas Zoo, henryvilaszoo.gov/about-us/

Rocky Shores.” Hogle Zoo, hoglezoo.org/rocky-shores

Knox, Sara. “Utah’s Hogle Zoo Welcomes New Polar Bear Neva.” KUTV, 4 Jan. 2022, kutv.com/news/local/utahs-hogle-zoo-welcomes-new-polar-bear-neva

Polar Bear.” San Diego Zoo, zoo.sandiegozoo.org/animals/polar-bear

Guza, Megan. “Pittsburgh Zoo begins accreditation process, will be back in line with city lease.” Trib Live, 19 March. 2019, triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-zoo-begins-accreditation-process-will-be-back-in-line-with-city-lease/

DZS Timeline.” Detroit Zoo, detroitzoo.org/about/your-detroit-zoo/zoo-timeline/

Brookfield Zoo ranked 5th best in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards.” CBS Chicago, 21 March. 2023, cbsnews.com/chicago/news/brookfield-zoo-ranked-5th-best/

Lewis, Kaitlin. “Bear Escapes St. Louis Zoo for Second Time This Month.” Newsweek, 23 Feb. 2023, newsweek.com/bear-escapes-st-louis-zoo-second-time-month-1783504

Schneider, Joey. “Saint Louis Zoo Named 8th Best US Zoo in National Poll.” Saint Louis Zoos, 25 March. 2023, fox2now.com/news/missouri/saint-louis-zoo-named-8th-best-us-zoo-in-national-poll/

Best Zoo Winners 2018.” USA Today 10 Best, 10best.com/awards/travel/best-zoo-2018/

McDonnell Polar Bear Point.” Saint Louis Zoo, stlzoo.org/zones/the-wild/mcdonnell-polar-bear-point

Polar Bear.” Saint Louis Zoo, stlzoo.org/animals/mammals/carnivores/polar-bear

Asta, Diana. “Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Welcomes Back 23-Year-Old Polar Bear.” ABC, 9 Feb. 2023, abc6onyourside.com/news/local/columbus-zoo-and-aquarium-welcomes-back-23-year-old-polar-bear-lee-north-america-louisville-zoo-veterinarian-species-survival-plan-artificial-insemination-central-ohio

Polar Bear.” Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, columbuszoo.org/animals/polar-bear

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