An overview of the new Grizzly Ridge exhibit that's coming to the Akron Zoo. Photo by Ryan Haidet, WKYC-TV.
AKRON -- One of the largest exhibits in the Akron Zoo's 60-year history is clawing closer to its debut.
Akron Zoo officials announced Wednesday that the Mike & Mary Stark Grizzly Ridge exhibit will open to the public on July 20, 2013.
Grizzly Ridge, which has been under construction for months, will include more than six different animal species, highlighted by grizzly bears.
The grizzly bear exhibit will include a training wall, which will enable people to get a behind-the-scenes sneak peak at how the keepers facilitate training a grizzly bear.
In addition to the batch of bears, Grizzly Ridge will include some animals never seen before at the Akron Zoo including red wolves and coyotes. River otters and bald eagles, which were previously at the zoo, will make their return with brand new exhibits as part of Grizzly Ridge.
A fully enclosed slide will be built through the otter pool so kids will have the chance to slide down with otters swimming around them.
The space will also include a walk-in aviary with native Ohio birds.
The exhibit will bear the names Mike and Mary Stark, after two of the zoo's most ardent supporters and friends. Mike has been a zoo board member since 1994 and is the past Chairman of the Board.
The new Grizzly Ridge exhibit will be nestled on the hillside of the zoo near the Conservation Carousel and extends up to the Farmland Exhibit. The area previously was home to Monkey Island, otters, waterfowl, tortoises and bald eagles and the old bear exhibit that was not operable anymore.