16, 2007 - Defenders of Wildlife, non-profit organization
dedicated to the protection of all native wild animals and plants,
has declared May 13-19 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