The undisputed star of the Louisville Zoo is a furry local celebrity named Qannik (meaning “snowflake”), an orphaned polar bear cub found wandering alone on an oil field in northern Alaska. Qannik and an older cub named Siku now inhabit the zoo’s funky new Glacier Run exhibit, a recreation of an imaginary gold-mining town on the edge of the arctic. Here, polar bears, grizzly bears, sea lions, and seals are all neighbors. Glacier Run is also home to the zoo’s Splash Park, a water park open every summer that features 42 ways to get wet (so be sure to bring bathing suits).
The four-acre Gorilla Forest is another zoo highlight and features three separate gorilla habitats, plus Hippo Falls, where you can watch pygmy hippos from underwater vantage points. Wallaroo Walkabout features popular animals from Down Under, while at the Lorikeet Landing aviary, you can feed birds right out of your hand. At the Alice S. Etscorn Tiger Tundra exhibit (recently upgraded with a shaded upper viewing deck), you can see the zoo’s magnificent Siberian tigers and watch keepers interact with the large cats during regularly scheduled training demonstrations. In 2016, the park expanded their elephant exhibition, doubling it in size and allowing the animals plenty of room to roam.