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Crowd gathers at new grizzly bear exhibit
The Plexiglas window on the west side of the new grizzly bear exhibit provides a safe opportunity to view the bears close up as they enjoy their new swimming hole. Mid-morning is the best time for viewing. - photo by photos by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

The grand opening for the expanded grizzly bear exhibit at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo drew hundreds of visitors. The line outside the zoo Saturday morning stretched to the pool parking lot as people waited for the doors to open. Some of them check out the Little Free Library in front of the zoo and picked up a free book while they waited.
The first 150 children received free stuffed bears, and everyone was invited to partake in free popcorn, snow cones and water, and to get a closer-than-usual look at some of the animals at the zoo.

Children could pet a tortoise or watch a demonstration of how zookeepers train the alligators.
The four grizzly bears were active in the morning, as they squabbled over food and their favorite new amenities, which include a climbing area and a stream with swimming pools.

The keepers always look for ways to change up the environment so animals will stay engaged. On Saturday the bears were playing with a large cardboard box, “just like you guys do,” one parent remarked to her children. The bears also got to enjoy having some fish dropped into their pool.
If you missed the grand opening, the zoo is open today and every day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.