Knoxville Zoo hosts Bear Awareness Day

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Knoxville Zoo hosts Bear Awareness Day

Posted: 05/16/2007
Defenders of Wildlife, non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of all native wild animals and plants, has declared May 13-19, 2007 as Bear Awareness Week.

In honor of that week, Knoxville Zoo will host Bear Awareness Day on Saturday, May 19. Bear Awareness Day offers a fun and educational experience for everyone, where kids and adults can learn about bears and enjoy activities from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Enrichment will be given to the bears throughout the day to encourage them to be more active and in areas of the exhibit where visitors can see them best. Zookeepers will be available to discuss and answer questions about black bears. The National Parks Conservatory Association, the Appalachian Bear Rescue and Knoxville Zoo's education department will be on hand to answer questions and provide information about the black bears of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, polar bears and global warming.

There will be materials on bears their lifestyles and activities for children. Knoxville Zoo's Black Bear Falls exhibit opened in September of 2000. It is a multi-level exhibit, which portrays the feeling of being in the mountains, bringing visitors as close as they should get to a black bear. The three-fourths of an acre, open-air exhibit houses the zoo's four black bears.

The exhibit has been designed to simulate the bears' mountain habitat with natural-looking trees, flowing streams and tumbling waterfalls. When visiting the zoo, take a few minutes to discover the exhibit from the three different viewing areas. Bears like to relax during the heat of the day and find shade for napping, so visitors often have to look hard to find them. The exhibit is a network of trees and branches, so don't be surprised if one is resting on a branch or playing in one of the three pools.

Black Bear Falls was made possible by a generous gift from the Lucille S. Thompson Family Foundation. "So many organizations care about the well-being of the bears in our area. Together we believe educating visitors about the bears will create new understanding and love for the animals," said Kevin Hils, director of education at Knoxville Zoo. "Our exhibit allows visitors to see the beauty and nature of the black bear and we are very proud to have it."Knoxville Zoo is located off exit 392 from Interstate 40 and is open every day except Christmas Day.

The zoo is nationally accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is committed to the highest standards in animal care and well-being, ethics, conservation, and education. Currently, the zoo is open weekdays from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and weekends from 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Admission and ticket sales stop one hour before the zoo closes. Next-day admission is free after 3 p.m. For more information, please call 865.637.5331 ext. 300.