Educational activities scheduled to raise awareness about plight of polar bears
Special Olympics Colorado and Denver Zoo are hosting the Denver Splash & Dash – part of the annual Polar Plunge series, presented by Westerra Credit Union, on Saturday, February 25. The event begins at 9:30 a.m. with a 5k race in Denver’s City Park, before moving to Denver Zoo’s Conoco Pavilion at 11 a.m., where participants will brave the chilly weather and jump into an ice-cold pool. Denver Zoo’s President/CEO Shannon Block is participating in the plunge, as well as Colorado Rockies co-owner Charles Monfort. The Rockies mascot, Dinger, will also make a special appearance! All proceeds from the plunge and run, with nearly 400 plungers and 550 runners anticipated, benefit Special Olympics Colorado. In addition, there will be activities to celebrate the upcoming International Polar Bear Day on February 27, a day designated to discuss how people can help polar bears facing problems in the Arctic.
Participants (many whom will be in costume) may take part in the race, plunge or both. Polar Plungers are asked to raise $75 to participate, $50 for students and Special Olympics athletes. The 5K requires an additional $35 registration fee or $40 for day-of registration. All three groups receive free admission to Denver Zoo. Plungers receive an official Polar Plunge long sleeve shirt. Runners receive a commemorative beanie and Splash & Dash participants receive both! Costs for spectators to enter the Zoo are: $9.75 for adults ages 11-64 and $6.75 for children ages 3-11. Children 2 and under are free. For more information on pricing and registration, visit www.specialolympicsco.org.
In early celebration of International Polar Bear Day, guests can also watch polar bears Lee and Cranbeary enjoy a special ice sculpture treat before learning from zookeepers and other staff about the challenges polar bears face, and ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, there will be keeper talks, an activity station and other entertainment. (See full schedule below)
As an Arctic Ambassador for Polar Bears International (PBI), Denver Zoo also is challenging visitors to take the Thermostat Challenge. On International Polar Bear Day, February 27, or starting any day they choose, visitors can adjust their thermostat down two degrees to show their commitment to greenhouse gas reduction. They can even pledge to make every day a Polar Bear Day by keeping their thermostat adjusted, insulating their home or taking other steps to save energy.
In 2011, Denver Zoo was declared an Arctic Ambassador Center by PBI. The goal of this partnership is to create stewardship opportunities and foster conservation actions that will increase public awareness of, and engage action towards, reducing CO2 to help save polar bear habitat.
Polar Plunge Activities Schedule:
- 7:30 a.m.: Registration Begins
- 9:30 a.m.: 5K Start (runs through City Park then through Gate 9 to Conoco Pavilion)
- 11 a.m.: Polar Plunge Begins in Conoco Pavilion
- 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.: Beer Garden Open (Plungers only drink after plunging and must be 21+)
International Polar Bear Day Activities:
- 10 a.m.: Polar Bear Ice Sculpture Enrichment
- 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.: Tackle the Tundra Interpretive Station
- 11 a.m. & 3 p.m.: Polar Bear Keeper Talks