Big Bears Featured in Big Exhibit - NBC Chicago

Big Bears Featured in Big Exhibit

Zoo hopes to inspire and educate visitors



    Celebrate This Holiday Season in Lively St. Charles
    Brookfield Zoo's new bear exhibit will open to the public on Saturday.

    Chicagoans can soon get up close and personal with a few Bears, and they won't even need shoulder pads or helmets.

    Brookfield Zoo's newest and biggest exhibit ever—the Great Bear Wilderness—will open to the public on Saturday, May 8, reports the Sun-Times.

    "We want to inspire the visitors so they care about nature and conservation," said bear keeper Stephanie Rhodes.

    The bears should feel truly at home in the 7.5-acre project. Approximately $27.3 million was spent on 30,000 plants and 70,000 gallons of water in order to create an authentic habitat with a prairie, forest, and tundra, according to the AP.

    The exhibit—which also features wolves, bison, and bald eagles—allows visitors to stand mere inches from the grizzly and polar bears, behind the safety of a thick, acrylic panel.

    "I still get goosebumps," Rhodes told the Sun-Times.

    Or is that, bearbumps?

    Thibault Camus/AFP/Getty Images

    Matt Bartosik is a Chicago native and a social media sovereign.