Like bears holed up in their dens for too long, we jumped at last week’s unusual day of sunshine and ambled outdoors to stretch our limbs. We dressed in many layers and headed to our favorite winter destination to walk off a few calories: The Detroit Zoo.
Within that destination is a favorite place: The Arctic Ring of Life, a simulated polar habitat that is home to arctic foxes, polar bears and seals. The animals here come to life in the colder months. This past December was one of our coldest, snowiest and iciest in nearly a decade. During our visit, the bears were practically dancing on their simulated polar ice cap.
One of the best features of this exhibit is the underwater viewing tunnel. I love how the shafts of sunlight shimmer through the blue water. I love how on one side of the tunnel, seals swoop and twirl in the current like flocks of birds while the hulking polar bears bounce like astronauts doing the moonwalk on the other. (The seals and bears do not intermingle, for obvious, food-chain related reasons.)
In this scene below, a bear sits with its back to the many human visitors watching from the tunnel. Within seconds, the bear plunges under the surface and swims directly toward Girl from the East. For a heartbeat, they are nose-to-nose at the glass. Girl then lets out a little shriek and jumps into my arms. The bear then paddles upward and stands atop the glass tube, looking down at us, swiping its massive paws at a seemingly unreachable human snack buffet.
The guy next to us shoots a question out the room: “Hey! What if that glass broke? We’d all be lunch!”
Nice observation to make in a room full of preschoolers. Even if we were all thinking the same thought.