"Great Bear Wilderness"
Three polar bears and two grizzlies receive rehabbed digs at the Brookfield Zoo’s new exhibit, opening Saturday 8. The $27 million makeover gives the bears more land to play (7.5 acres) and three new swimming pools (a combined 206,000 gallons of water). Guests win out, too, with publicly visible training sessions and two underwater viewing galleries that separate you from the 700-plus pound beasts by a mere five inches of crystal-clear acrylic. According to zoo staffers, the new exhibit was built so guests could learn by getting closer to bears. We stood by zookeepers who kept true to their words, feeding one grizzly Whole Foods goodies by poking a ten-inch “meat stick” through a mesh door—can’t get any closer than that.