Columbus Zoo Main Gate (Adolphus 79)


Location: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Address: 4850 W Powell Rd, Powell, OH 43065, USA

Telephone: +1 614 645 3400

Click here for Columbus’s contact form


Exhibit: Polar bears are exhibited in “Polar Frontier”


Anana (female).  Born 25 November 2006 in Toledo Zoo and Aquarium, Ohio.  Arrived 19 February 2010 from Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Pennsylvania. Aurora’s twin.

Aurora (female).  Born 25 November 2016 in Toledo Zoo and Aquarium, Ohio.  Arrived 19 February 2010 from Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Pennsylvania.  Anana’s twin.

Lee (male).  Born 27 November 1999 in Seneca Park Zoo, Rochester, New York.  Arrived 7 November 2018 from Denver Zoological Gardens, Colorado.

Unnamed cub (male) born 28 November, 2019 (mother: Aurora, father: Lee)


Construction of the Polar Frontier exhibit began in August 2005, opening on 6 May 2010.  The design is intended to prevent stereotypical behaviour via a complex and enriched environment.  In addition to polar bears the exhibit also separately houses brown bears and arctic foxes.

The total area of the polar bear habitat is 5,342 square metres (1.32 acres).  Designed to resemble the tundra and taiga of the Arctic it includes a saltwater main pool, a freshwater surge pool with a tidal effect, two shaded areas and a rock-work sea arch with misters.  The pools are maintained between 13 and 18 degrees Celsius and have filter and cleaning systems to prevent the need to use harsh chemicals.  We understand that there are live trout in one of the pools which the bears catch and eat.  There is a public viewing deck and an underwater viewing area.

The outside area includes dig pits for the bears, boulders, trees, mounds, a large grassed area, deadfall and caves and shelters.  There are eye bolts throughout the area to allow for the attachment of enrichment items.

The walls and fences surrounding the facility are 5 metres (16 feet 6 inches) high and the fences include an electrified wire.  A further electric wire runs in front of the perimeter and is connected to a monitored alarm system.  There is a back-up generator in case of power outages.

The bear holding building is U-shaped with bedding rooms, heated floors and indoor pool and outside holding areas.  There is also a maternity den.

The Battelle Ice Bear Outpost building includes an interpretive centre and classroom area.  There are displays, games and activities for visitors.

Sources: ZooLex (a service of  the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums). Bear Conservation research.

For more information click here to go to the Zoolex page for this facility (opens in new window).


  1. Use of bears for breeding purposes
  2. Record of cub mortality and rejection by mothers (unnatural behaviour)
  3. Unsuitable climatic conditions
  4. The 5,342 square metres (1.32 acres) of space for the current three bears exceeds the Manitoba Standard but falls far short of our own recommendation for polar bear sanctuaries of a minimum of 8,000 square metres (2 acres) per animal.

We do not at present have reliable information on the feeding, exercise, medical and enrichment regimes at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

Polar Frontier, Columbus Zoo (Brooke Hendrick)

Return to Captive Polar Bear Directory

Page updated 18 October 2020