Brookfield Zoo opens biggest exhibit ever

April 29, 2010 (BROOKFIELD, Ill.)

On Saturday, May 8th, the Great Beat Wilderness Exhibit -- the zoo's newest and biggest exhibit ever -- will open to the public.

"It's our attempt to bring the public and animals together ... immerse them in it. Provide a cultural connection and help to inspire conservation leadership," said Bill Zeigler, vp Animal Care.

The big exhibit covers 7 1/2 acres and it cost $27.3 million to build. Basically it's about the great North American animals that were here before we were. But now we can see them, almost, as the Native Americans did. It's nice for us and the animals.

"The biggest thing for us as keepers what we love to see is the fact that the bears are on grass and dirt. I mean ..... they can dig in the dirt ... they can be bears," said Mike Brown, leader keeper large carnivores.

A 777-pound Polar bear named Hudson is probably going to be a favorite at the exhibit. Somewhere between 7 and 8-feet, Hudson likes to get up close and personal with people.

Also on exhibit are Mexican gray wolves and bison, who love to roam their new larger home.

"They love it over here. They're much more active. They're just wandering around all day grazing in the yard," said Bill Steele, senior keeper Brookfield Zoo.

Even the grizzly bear brothers are in full action, wrestling each other in the new exhibit.

Learn more about the exhibit at

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