|Pretty Bam Bam|
We visited Bam Bam at the World Famous Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in the middle of a brutal heat wave. She has plenty of energy, even in 100 degree heat, but then she does spend a lot of her time in the pool.
|Bam Bam loves her pool|
|Bam Bam loves to interact with her fans|
Born in the Henry Doorly Zoo on November 29, 1987. twin sisters Bam Bam and Patches were the last cubs of the prolific and popular Olaf and Olga of the Omaha Zoo. In fact, I think they were the last cubs born at the zoo. During the seventies and eighties, Olaf and Olga had many cubs in the Omaha Zoo, eleven of which lived.
Patches and Bam Bam were together at the Omaha Zoo until Patches left for the Erie Zoo in December of 2007. Patches was moved to Erie as part of a trade, and a male bear was supposed to come to the Omaha Zoo, but I don't think that actually happened. I am pretty sure that Bam Bam has been alone since her sister left. She seems to be getting along just fine on her own, and loves to interact with the visitors. Alan Host, Senior Supervisor of Cats and Bears, said there are no plans to get another polar bear at this time.
24 year old Bam Bam weighs in about about 550 pounds.
Her official book name is Fanny, but she got the name Bam Bam because when she was younger she like to bang on the metal doors and make a racket to be let in or out. The keepers successfully worked with Bam Bam over the last few years to cut back on this noisy behavior, and while she doesn't do it anymore, she has kept the name.
|Bam Bam has a heart shaped nose|
Feeding time for the Omaha bears is at 11 a.m.. Before the food comes, Bam Bam is happy to swim and play with all her fans. She has a lovely 30,000 gallon pool and a waterfall in the Durham Family Bear Canyon, which opened in 1989 at a cost of $1.4 million.
|Bam Bam dives for her lunch|
Her friends can view her from above, or wander down a trail to see her at eye level. A three level elevator can also make it easier for visitors to access the upper and lower levels of Bear Canyon.
|She loves her celery|
|A yummy piece of fruit|
|Bam Bam stalks a floating melon|
She seems to love cantaloupe melons, and. She also got various fruits and celery during feeding time, and had lots of fun swimming around and gathering her snacks, which are thrown by a keeper from above. She gets training three or more times a week, and her favorite training food is some delicious crunchy celery! Her favorite toy at the moment is a big red ball.
|My mother Carol and Bam Bam study each other. This is the first time|
Carol had ever seen a polar bear in her 93 years.
I visited Bam Bam with my sister Lois, and my almost 94 year old mother, both of whom had never before seen a polar bear. My elderly mother was enthralled by the silly antics of Bam Bam, who gave her a face-to-face experience, in spite of the famous early July heat wave of 2012. Even with the incredible heat, the zoo was busy and crowded and Bam Bam was having a lot of fun.
|Bam Bam is ready for an afternoon nap|
Bam Bam spent the afternoon napping in her favorite spot in her enclosure, happy after an active morning and a big helping of healthy snacks.
|The Henry Doorly Zoo has a roomy polar bear home with a great pool|
Although the Bear Canyon is an outdoor exhibit, the Omaha Zoo has a great number of indoor, air-conditioned attractions to comfortably enjoy: the Lied Forest, gorilla house, the brand new Aquarium, the Butterfly House, the Desert Dome, the IMAX theatre and more. With the help of an $8 rental wheelchair and a big umbrella, our little group spent the whole day at the zoo. Much of this zoo is designed to be enjoyed year-round, no matter what the weather.
|A shady spot on a hot day|
|Bam Bam plays in her waterfall. Goodbye.|