Intriguing, intimidating, or both? The Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat in northern Ontario offers a program that allows its guests swim amongst the furry white beasts.
It is the largest human care facility in the world dedicated to the research, fosterage and conservation of polar bears. Though the staff agrees that the best place for polar bears to live in is the wild, they provide a refuge for the few that are orphaned and struggle to survive because of the intensifying global warming crisis.
The 7-hectare haven is equipped with the world's largest enclosed lake that provides a frozen ice platform for up to seven months of the year. Ultimately, the habitat aims to rescue polar bears faced with climate- or human-related threats, and care for them until they can be relocated to safer environments in the wild.
One of the facility's most unique features is a swimming pool that is directly adjacent to the polar bears' swimming area. Guests are allowed to swim in the pool, and the only thing separating them from the polar bears is a wall of shatterproof glass! Access to the pool is included in the entrance fee to the facility.
Aside from their swimming pool, there are also several places within the facility to explore, including their Learning Centre, Snowmobile Museum, Heritage Village and bear enclosures.
The Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat is open all days of the week at various times. Admission is $16 per adult, $14 for seniors, $12 per student and $10 for children. Proceeds of ticket sales goes towards the improvement of care programs for the polar bears in the facility. Please visit their website for more detailed information.
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