May 9, 2019

5 Reasons to Visit Harmony Hill

Denver Zoo’s New Grizzly Exhibit Offers More Than the Bear Necessities for Animals and Guests

In just a matter of days, we’ll open Harmony Hill, which will serve as a new home for our two rescued grizzly bears, Tundra and Kootenai. Both bears arrived at Denver Zoo in 2002 following unfortunate circumstances that required their rescue from the wild. Kootenai arrived first after his sibling was hit by a car and he was separated from his mother. Tundra soon followed as a companion for Kootenai after her mother was euthanized for being a “problem” bear in an Alaskan community.

The fact is all grizzly and black bears in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums must be rescued from similar circumstances. Harmony Hill was designed to bring Tundra’s and Kootenai’s stories to the forefront and help you learn how to live in harmony (hence the name) with bears in the wild and your own backyards. We hope a visit to the new exhibit inspires you to be an advocate for bears and other wildlife by serving as a role model for friends and family, and encourages them to take the same actions.

Here are five reasons to visit Harmony Hill starting on May 15:

Two-Fold Learning Experience

Harmony Hill is an immersive exhibit comprised of two parts: Harmony Hill State Park, which is designed to evoke recreating, camping, and hiking as you would when visiting one of our state or national parks; and Harmony Hill Neighborhood, which mimics a neighborhood backyard and highlights the actions people should take to deter bears from entering human areas.

Plenty of Surprises

You’ll find Easter eggs throughout the exhibit, like footprints and other evidence of bears that you might find in the wild. Through new vantage points, you’ll be able to watch our bears explore, roam, climb, dig and find new places to nap. Be sure to stop by the den, a cool, shaded area where our bears often come right up to the glass for a VERY up-close look!

Daily Demonstrations

Harmony Hill also features a “working wall” that animal care staff can use for daily training sessions that benefit both the animals and guests. You’ll get to learn more about Tundra and Kootenai from the keepers that care for them every day, while the bears get an extra dose of mental and physical stimulation.

Natural Behaviors on Display

Both sides of Harmony Hill are designed with the bears’ needs in mind, and provide plenty of opportunities for them to exercise their natural behaviors. There are areas and structures for Tundra and Kootenai to climb, dig and den, and they’ll have access to the variety of substrates they would encounter in the wild, including sand, mulch, wood, rocks and grass.

Non-Traditional Design

We’ve custom-designed common backyard items, like a bird feeder, hammock, and swimming pool, specifically for our bears. Each of these items is designed to mentally stimulate the grizzlies, which helps exercise their minds and is an important part of their overall health. What’s more, we designed this exhibit to show what can happen when bears enter backyards, and highlight the actions guests can take to avoid conflict, like removing birdfeeders at certain times of the year and being sure to bring pet’s food inside.


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