Cool at the Zoo: Nora the Beautiful Baby Polar Bear

Time is running out to see Nora the Polar Bear at the Columbus Zoo.  Her last day on view in Columbus, Ohio is September 5, 2016 (Labor Day). She will be moving across the country to the Oregon Zoo. There, she will hopefully be befriended by the resident polar bear Tasul. Tasul is apparently a good natured bear who has been alone since recently losing her brother. Really tugs on the heartstrings, huh?

Nora the polar bear

Nora. She’s 10 months old here.

Why does she have to leave Columbus?

The zoo team stepped in to care for Nora after her mother showed signs of abandoning her, shortly after she was born back in November, 2015. Under their care, she has thrived. During her time in the habitat, she is active and playful. she swims, dives, and plays with her toys. Which she leaves out all over the place, naturally. She’s basically a furry preschooler.

In the meantine, the adult polar bears have been busy mating. There is hope that more polar bears will be born, as early as November. The polar bear moms need calm and quiet; something that wouldn’t be possible if the active Nora sticks around and shares their exhibit.

Today was our first time seeing her and of course, she’s adorable, all 158 lbs of her! We instantly fell in love and I’m (ridiculously) sad that she’s leaving the Columbus Zoo.

Nora plays

The polar bear cub plays for her admirers.

more polar Bear babies? Yes, please!

With Nora’s departure comes the possibility of more cubs!  Nora is the first polar bear cub to be born at the Columbus Zoo (and survive) in 27 years. In fact, her twin cub died shortly after birth. Nora fought and survived. She is a beloved member of the zoo. I hope that the Oregon Zoo patrons embraces Nora with as much gusto as Columbus!

Time with Nora is limited

Nora is in the polar bear habitat from around 9:15 am or 9:30 am for roughly an hour. It’s a short window and there is a long line. It moved surprisingly fast. Pro-tip: Not everyone goes downstairs into the underwater viewing area (at least,  not on a Thursday morning) and it was much easier to see her playing above.

Sources for this piece are here and here.

Nora swwimming

Nora swimming. This view is from the underwater viewing area.

New in 2016 at the Columbus Zoo

As I mentioned here, we love the zoo! However, we needed a break. After taking a 4 month hiatus, we went back and saw all the new things they debuted this year!

The Columbus Zoo also has tiger cubs! They can be seen between 10 am and 2 pm daily.

In the Heart of Africa area, we stumbled upon baby warthogs in an inconspicuous area near one of the stages (cattywampus across from the camel riding arena). They were very cute, too!

Not sure

Part of the new play area!

The biggest change we saw today was the addition of a play area in the yard between the aquarium and manatee buildings. There are many statues to climb and also some fun water play!

Even if you miss Nora, there is so much to do and see at the zoo. And, in the words of my 4 year old, “We can drive to the other zoo to see Nora!”

Oregon Zoo is 2,450 miles from Columbus Zoo. Maybe we will fly, instead.

What’s your favorite animal? Where is your favorite zoo?



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