Glacier Run with seals and polar bear

Glacier Run

Welcome to Award-Winning Glacier Run

The Louisville Zoo received Top Honors in the Association of Zoos & Aquariums 2012 Award for Exhibit Design for the Glacier Run exhibit.


Designed as an imaginary gold mining town on the edge of the arctic wilderness, Glacier Run is based on the notion that humankind and nature must co-exist. The exhibit offers a truly unique experience where guests can connect with magnificent animals like polar and grizzly bears, interact with zookeepers to learn about conservation and become temporarily immersed in the experiences of life on the tundra.


Awesome polar and grizzly bears are the primary residents of the Louisville Zoo’s quirky little town of Glacier Run. They join the playful sea lions that are swimming and basking in their spacious pool. The magnificent Steller’s sea-eagles reside in the towering 50-foot Aviary with snowy owls nearby. Stunning vistas and breathtaking animal training encounters (think being close enough to a polar bear to smell his breath) make a visit to Glacier Run a truly exhilarating experience.


Glacier Run engages both your attention and imagination. The Bear Habitat boasts a spectacular, 22-foot-tall window where visitors can watch the bears both above and below the waterline. Other windows provide views where bears can be observed climbing craggy cliffs, snoozing in the sun or digging in pits that contain a variety of interesting (and perhaps tasty) items for the bears. In the town (patterned after Churchill Canada — the Polar Bear Capital of the World) a truck has pulled up to the loading dock of the general store. Guests can sit in the cab while bears rummage around in the bed of the truck, separated by a glass barrier of course.


This extraordinary exhibit not only educates and entertains — it inspires visitors to make a difference for the environment. Glacier Run shows us how making even incremental changes in our everyday activities and behaviors can make a difference for our planet and for these magnificent species.


Glacier Run will help visitors learn about some of the most critical environmental issues of our time.  It is our hope that it will also inspire conservation action!

The Louisville Zoo has been designated as an Arctic Ambassador Center by Polar Bears International. If you’re interested in knowing more about how the environment affects polar bears, please visit the Polar Bears International website.

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