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Zoos: Louisville Zoo receives additional $2 million for Glacier Run project from J. Graham Brown Foundation


The Louisville Zoo has received an additional $2 million from the James Graham Brown Foundation for Glacier Run, bringing the Foundation’s total support of the project to more than $5 million.  

Seal and sea lion portion to open in 2010, polar bears in 2011

“James Graham Brown was the first, original contributor to help fund a Zoo in Louisville, and the foundation that bears his name has been a longtime supporter. We are excited that the Foundation continues to invest in the Zoo’s programming and exhibits, ” Louisville Zoo Director John Walczak said. “The James Graham Brown Foundation has once again acknowledged the Zoo’s value to the community and Commonwealth and the important role the Zoo plays in educating our youth.”

With this gift, the Zoo has raised more than $20.2 million for the Glacier Run project, the most money ever raised for a new exhibit in the Zoo’s 40 year history.

In September 2008, the Zoo broke ground on the Glacier Run Village, the “heart” of Glacier Run, which will feature pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) and polar bears.

The pinniped portion of the exhibit is scheduled to open in the spring of 2010 and the much-awaited polar bear portion is scheduled for 2011. The other originally planned components of the project, including Steller’s sea eagles, sea otters and the Glacier Run animal outreach center, will be added soon after the main area is complete.

Another $8.9 million is still needed to complete all portions of project as well as provide an endowment to ensure its legacy.

“From the beginning, this exhibit was created to be ‘phasable, ’” Walczak said, “and the two strategic openings of pinnipeds in 2010 and polar bears in 2011 will continue to support our business plan which hinges on opening a new Zoo element each year to keep visitors engaged and attendance growing.

“The Louisville Zoo is known for its award-winning, innovative exhibits and Glacier Run will continue that tradition. Not only will it communicate one of the most relevant conservation issues of our time, global climate change, it will also be the high quality, exciting experience that our visitors and community have come to expect. It will fundamentally advance the Zoo’s mission of ‘bettering the bond between people and our planet’ through education, recreation and quality family fun.

“We have every confidence in this project and are continually seeking new funding sources from every feasible avenue. Our Glacier Run Steering Committee is energized to see this project through to its completion. We have been successful thus far in pursuing opportunities to get funding for this project, and we will continue to be responsible stewards of that investment.”

Once Glacier Run is totally complete, the estimated economic impact of the Zoo on the region will increase to $33.6 million while adding more than 400 new jobs to the local economy.

“The Zoo and Glacier Run are part of the solution to strengthen the economy of our community, ” Walczak said. “We exist for the citizens of Louisville and the Commonwealth and are committed to do our part to help the community and state. The Zoo is a place dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors and leadership in scientific research and conservation education. It is also a place where families can escape and not have to worry about their day-to-day problems. In this economy, we provide a quiet respite and quality family fun at an excellent value.”


Glacier Run will not only tell the dramatic story of the polar bear, one of the most charismatic species on the planet becoming more threatened every day, it will also engage visitors of all ages and educate them about the most pressing environmental challenges of our time. Glacier Run will inspire visitors to actively participate in the Zoo’s mission of bettering the bond between people and our planet.

Glacier Run will be a truly unique experience where one can visit the animals, talk to the keepers about conservation and become temporarily immersed in life on the tundra. The exhibit will recreate the natural habitat for some of the Zoo’s most popular residents including polar bears, seals and sea lions. The addition of sea otters and bird species like the Steller’s sea eagles will add to the feeling of being surrounded by wildlife. The town of Glacier Run will include a schoolhouse and general store. A spacious amphitheatre will make viewing the seal and sea lion enrichment demonstrations more enjoyable.

The first three phases of Glacier Run have already opened. They include the Australian Walkabout, Calistoga Splash Park at Glacier Run and Alice S. Etscorn Tiger Tundra exhibit. 

For more information on Zoo’s upcoming Glacier Run exhibit, visit

About the Louisville Zoo

The Louisville Zoo, a non-profit organization and state zoo of Kentucky, is dedicated to bettering the bond between people and our planet by providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for visitors, and leadership in scientific research and conservation education. The Zoo is accredited by the American Association of Museums (AAM) and by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). For more information, visit

See also:
Zoos: Oregon Zoo Elephant Program Prepares for $30 Million Expansion
Zoos: Nashville Zoo Attendance Soars
Twenty-four North American Zoos and Aquariums Earn AZA Accreditation

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