Northwest Passage Exhibition, Memphis Zoo (Daniel Hess – Creative Commons Licence)


Location: Memphis Zoo

Address: 2000 Prentiss Pl, Memphis, TN 38112, USA

Telephone: +1 901 333 6500

Click here for Denver Zoo’s website contact form



Exhibit: Northwest Passage


Haley (female). Born 15 November 2002 in Seneca Park Zoo, Rochester, New York.   Arrived 4 January 2006 from Brookfield Zoo, Chicago, Illinois.

Koda (male). Born 25 November 2004 in Denver Zoo, Colorado, USA.  Arrived 21 January 2021 from Pittsburgh Zoo, Pennsylvania, USA


At present we await detailed information on the facilities and layout of the Northwest Passage exhibit.  It opened on 1 March 2006 and the total build cost was $23 million.

As well as polar bears the exhibit houses sea lions, bald eagles, black bears and ravens.

Initial reports suggest that the facilities meet or exceed the Manitoba Standards but more information is awaited.  We understand that the bears have 24 hour access to both the inside and outside areas of their enclosure.  The inside area is air conditioned and the pool water is chilled, as is a large flat rock area in the outside area.  The pool includes a public underwater viewing area.


  1. Use of bears for breeding purposes
  2. Unsuitable climatic conditions
  3. The total area available for the bears falls far short of our own recommendation for polar bear sanctuaries of at least 8,000 square metres (2 acres) per animal.
  4. Stereotypical behaviour (see video clip below)

We do not at present have reliable information on the feeding, exercise, medical and enrichment regimes at Sea World.

More Information

In 2007 a female polar bear (Cranbeary) broke her leg when she was apparently pushed over a 14 foot drop by Payton (then three years old) during an attempt to get the bears to mate.  You can read the news story here (opens in new window).

The video below was shot by Don at the Memphis Zoo in April 2019 and shows worrying stereotypical pacing and head swinging; signs of acute distress.

Return to Captive Polar Bear Directory

Page updated 01 March 2021