I had the distinct pleasure of attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Susie’s Bear Hollow this morning at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. We’re longtime Cleveland Zoological Society members. Spending a day at the Zoo is one of our family’s favorite things to do in Cleveland. I jumped at the chance to see the new state-of-the-art habitat as it opened today. The morning also marked the unveiling of the new AdventureKeys program in partnership with KeyBank.
Keep reading to learn about the exciting new tropical bear habitat and interactive program for zoo guests.
Susie’s Bear Hollow
Susie’s Bear Hollow opened this morning at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. The new habitat is the latest in a series of innovative additions to the Zoo over the past decade. The creative tropical bear habitat is an update to the previous bear habitat. Susie’s Bear Hollow is located in Wilderness Trek and is the new home to the Zoo’s male Andean bear and male and female sloth bears.
The bears will now enjoy four complex habitats designed to encourage the bears’ natural behaviors. Susie’s Bear Hollow is triple the size of the bears’ previous area. Bear Hollow includes several new features, including:
- Climbing structures
- Elevated resting areas
- Dig pits
- Multi-resting areas for nesting bears
While Susie’s Bear Hollow is first and foremost about the bears, the space offers a closer encounter with the bears for Zoo guests:
“The immersive design of Bear Hollow will bring our guests closer to bears than ever before and help them to foster a deeper connection with these ambassador animals,” said Dr. Chris Kuhar, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Executive Director. “Up-close viewing opportunities will also give guests a closer look at the work of our animal care team’s husbandry efforts as they monitor the health of the bears and provide training opportunities.”
The amount of work that went into designing and implementing Bear Hollow was evident as I walked around the exhibit before the ribbon-cutting. The Zoo kept the bears out of sight until after the ribbon-cutting ceremony so they didn’t steal the show. Once the Zoo staff released the bears into the new habitats, I quickly saw how much better the new space would be for these beautiful animals. The habitats closely closely mimic their natural settings. There’s also a massive treehouse climbing structure for kids in the center of Bear Hollow, which provides almost 360-degree views of the habitats, making it feel like they’re climbing with the bears.
Susie’s Bear Hollow features several glass viewing areas for up-close interaction with the bears and watching the animal care team in action, caring for and training the bears. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo guests will love visiting the new space for decades to come.
Andean and Sloth Bears
Susie’s Bear Hollow is part of Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s continued conservation effort for Andean and sloth bears, both of which are listed as vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has contributed over $700,000 to Andean bear conservation efforts over the past decade.
Unlocking Adventures with AdventureKeys
Today also marked the launch of the AdventureKeys, a partnership between the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and KeyBank. If you’ve visited the Zoo in the past, you may be familiar with the ZooKeys program. AdventureKeys builds on the original program.
Guests can purchase a collectible AdventureKey at the Zoo for $2, which can be used with each visit throughout the year. The Zoo will release a new key with a different animal design each year. The inaugural key features a gorilla in honor of the Zoo’s two youngest gorillas.
There are 8 AdventureKeys boxes around the Zoo, including one in Susie’s Bear Hollow. Guests can use the key to unlock exclusive educational messages about the various Zoo animals within the area. The new interactive program offers video and audio content for keyholders (with subtitles in English and Spanish). You only need one key per family or group. At $2 per key, AdventureKeys is an inexpensive way to add value and enrichment to Zoo visits throughout the year.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Tickets
You can purchase Cleveland Metroparks Zoo tickets online. The Zoo offers general admission tickets for:
- Juniors (age 2-11)
- Adults (age 12-61)
- Seniors (age 62 and over)
There’s also a Total Experience ticket for all guests age two and older, which includes zoo admission and unlimited use at Train, Carousel and 4D Theater.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Membership
If you live within driving distance of the Zoo and plan to attend multiple times during the year, consider a Cleveland Zoological Society Membership. The Zoo offers several membership options for families and individuals. Membership benefits include:
- Free unlimited daytime admission to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo for one year
- Discounted daytime admission to more than 150 zoos nationwide
- Discounts on camps and educational programs
- 15% discount at Zoo gift shops
- Discounts on Total Experience packages and select attractions
- Members-only early admission (May 2-October 1, 2023)
- A digital membership card
As members, one of our favorite perks is discounted admission to select zoos nationwide. Wherever we travel, we also check the list of reciprocal zoos to see if there’s one near our destination. It’s a great way to save money on attractions on family vacations while getting more value from your Zoo membership.
Our Zoo membership also gets us discounts for select Zoo special events like the popular Asian Lantern Festival and Twilight At The Zoo.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Hours
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo hours vary depending on the time of year:
- April – October: 10 AM to 5 PM
- November – March: 10 AM to 4 PM
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Location
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is located at 3900 Wildlife Way, Cleveland, Ohio 44109. Parking at the Zoo is free.
Kevin Payne is the budgeting and family travel enthusiast behind FamilyMoneyAdventure.com. He’s also the host of the Family Money Adventure Show podcast, where he helps families learn to manage their money better so they can afford to do the things they love.
Kevin is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance and travel. He is a regular contributor to USA Today, Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Fox Business, Credible, and CreditCards.com.