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Metro Newsroom 

Glacier Run Campaign Launched for Louisville Zoo

Tuesday November 21, 2006

Today Mayor Jerry Abramson introduced
Sandra Frazier and Allan Latts as the co-chairs who are leading the Louisville Zoo’s
$25 million, comprehensive Capital Campaign which includes the new anchor exhibit -- Glacier Run (opening in 2009) as well as four smaller exhibits opening in sequence over a five-year period.

Mayor Abramson explained the ambitious scope of the project. “We will build a
state-of-the-art Glacier Run Exhibit which will provide our Zoo visitors the opportunity to enjoy a new attraction every year for five years,” Abramson said. “This campaign is exciting both for the Zoo and for our entire community that reaps the benefits of having such a high-quality attraction for our residents and visitors. The Zoo is an important part of Louisville’s mix of cultural and recreational attractions that mean so much to our tourism economy and our quality of life that is so crucial to companies considering locating here.”

$9 Million and Climbing

Ms. Frazier expressed her enthusiasm for the Zoo and its latest chance to grow. “I remember visiting the Louisville Zoo as a child and the memories it created for me. Over the years I’ve watched it grow and now I’m delighted to be directly involved in that progress. I want to be sure the Zoo is always a place for future generations of children and families to visit so they can make their own fond memories.”

Ms. Frazier announced that the Louisville Zoo’s $25 million Capital Campaign is now at the $9 million mark and gaining momentum as leaders of the community become intrigued with these very timely exhibits that explore the challenges of the animals and their habitat.

Glacier Run and More

Mr. Latts described the plans for the five-year rollout of projects. “The Louisville Zoo, like many other businesses, needs to offer new experiences to attract new and repeat visits.” He explained that the Australian Exhibit renovation opened earlier this year. Next May the Zoo will open the Glacier Run Splash Park. The Siberian Tiger Encounter will open in 2008 and the Glacier Run Exhibit is scheduled to open in 2009. The Glacier Sanctuary will have new species like arctic foxes, snowy owls and reindeer which will provide additional visitor encounters starting in 2010. The $2 million endowment fund is a critical need to ensure continuing excellence of the Zoo‘s collection and exhibits.

Ms. Frazier and Mr. Latts revealed the scope of Glacier Run with colorful artist renderings of the many features of the arctic themed exhibit. A three dimensional view was provided with a “fly through” video presentation which whisked viewers through the town of Glacier Run.

They explained the significance of the town which is based loosely on Churchill, in Manitoba Provence, Canada. It is here each autumn that ice first starts forming at the edges of Hudson Bay, attracting large numbers of polar bears anxious to harvest seals to sustain them clear through summer. Churchill residents have learned how to co-exist with these giant predators. The people now protect and study the bears and benefit from ecotourism as visitors from around the world come to see bears in the wild.

Glacier Run Exhibit

The Louisville Zoo’s Glacier Run is designed as a 4.3-acre outdoor exhibit themed as an
old gold mining town located along a wildlife migration corridor bordered by a glacier. Zoo visitors soon gain an understanding of the harsh, rugged atmosphere of the Arctic Circle. Curious polar bears wander through parts of town, albeit behind glass, but still coming nose to nose with visitors. Nearby, sea otters entertain by doing what they do naturally, while azure-winged magpies and Steller’s sea eagles, the world’s largest eagle, show off their flying skills in a spacious flight area.

The exhibits are designed to provide the animals with ample areas in which to climb, swim, dig and forage. Visitors can watch keepers interacting with the animals during training and enrichment sessions.

Some of the town’s buildings contain classrooms and group rental party rooms, while others lead visitors to prime viewing areas both above and below water.

A 200-seat, shaded outdoor auditorium gives great vantage points for seeing the multiple, daily animal presentations, including the popular seal and sea lion training demonstrations. There are even structured “Wet ‘n’ Wild Sea Lion Interaction” programs for small, pre-registered groups.

John Walczak expressed pride in the Zoo’s efforts to incorporate conservation into the design. “The Exhibit will feature environmentally friendly ‘green design’ throughout to
improve energy efficiency,” he said. “For instance, the Zoo will recycle 100 percent of the vast salt water life support systems in keeping with the commitment to the long-term conservation of the planet’s resources.”

Educational Features

Walczak also has begun a partnership with Polar Bears International to help achieve wildlife conservation goals and address the issues surrounding global climate change. These topics will be the focal point of Zoo environmental education programs.

Mark Wheeler, Chairman of the Zoo’s Board of Trustees that oversees the Zoo’s programs and growth, said that Glacier Run’s biggest asset is what it will contribute to educational programs. “We will be bringing real time information to children and families as we have done with our other major attractions,” he said. “I only wish Glacier Run was open today so we could begin enjoying the exhibit and learning more and more about our complex world. It will truly be a world class exhibit and I am very excited about it”

“The Zoo's Board of Trustees and the Zoo's incredible staff have performed remarkably over the past several years and now has the Zoo positioned to begin this wonderful endeavor,” Wheeler said. “ Our community and the whole state will really benefit from this innovative exhibit.”

Campaign Chairs

A Louisville native, Ms. Frazier is a founding partner of Tandem Public Relations.
She is also a board director of Brown-Forman Corporation and Commonwealth Bank and Trust Company. She has extensive financial service and public relations experience in Boston and
in Louisville.

Mr. Latts is Director of Corporate Planning for Heaven Hill Distilleries.
Originally from St. Paul, Minnesota, Latts now resides in Louisville with his wife Kate and two young children.

Design Team

The Glacier Run concept was created by St. Louis, Missouri’s Peckham, Guyton (pronounced guy’ton) Albers & Viets (veets), Inc., aka PGAV. These designers are known for their numerous zoo and aquatic exhibits like the new Georgia Aquarium Atlanta.

The Glacier Run design was further developed through the active participation of the Zoo staff and Arne M. Judd, Vice President of Arrasmith, Judd, Rapp, Chovan, Inc. of Louisville, Kentucky. Mr. Judd has guided the Zoo through such projects as the award wining Gorilla Forest, Islands Exhibit, Lorikeet Landing and the African Outpost Restaurant.


Visit the Glacier Run section of the Louisville Zoo website.