Saturday, July 21, 2012

Bam Bam keeps her cool

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.


  1. Dear Molly,
    you wrote an interesting report of this lovely bear. It gave me a big smile when reading about her name Bam Bam. Actually, Giovanna in Munich also likes it very much to bang at the metal door which leads to the inner den. The noise which makes also a lot of vibrations is really impressive :-)
    I like the photo best, where she is in this shady place.
    Thank you ever so much for the report with the lovely pictures of a beautiful bear.
    Bear Hugs
    from caren

    1. Dear Caren,
      I wonder if the bears are like drummers, and like the sound of the banging. Victoria in Aalborg was also known to bang her metal door when Milak was little, rattling the ears of those watching the webcam! As you many know, Bam Bam is the name of a little cartoon boy on the American show The Flintstones, who was very strong and liked to bang on things. Thank you for your lovely words.

  2. Dear MOLLY MERROW - Once more thanks to KNUTI-JUDI, I was as lucky as to find your charming report. It is as charming as BAM-BAM/FANNY obviously is! It's also very touching your mother and sister got to see for the first time one of those wonderful polar bears. And it seems from what you have written and of what one can see in the picture they were really happy with this new experience. A day to remember, I guess. // In the last picture BAM-BAM/FUNNY looks like coming from a fairy tale :-) // Thank you for having shared this personal story with us and for having introduced to us this lovely polar bear lady.

    1. Dear Dumba,
      It was wonderful to see my mother's face light up when she saw Bam Bam swimming right at her. I am so glad I could share "my bears" with her. It was a terrifically hot day, but we had a great time anyway. There are so few bears left in US zoos, and so few are being born here. I am glad my mother had this rare opportunity for someone her age. I think she now understands my fascination with the polar bears.

  3. Dear Molly,
    What a lovely story personal and moving! Your Mom and her wonderful meeting at his age with an animal that is unfortunately threatened with extinction in its natural environment! .... Fortunately there is this bear pampered, fed, protected and uses his enclosure and his beautiful swimming pool in any peace ..... he does not know what's happening on the Banquise! Thank you for these beautiful stories text and photos that you share in this blog. Receive dear Molly congratulations for the quality of pictures, explanations and all the details given that allowed me to follow in detail the lives of these wonderful animals that I adore. I am a fan of polar bears.
    Congratulations from France!
    Cheyenne Indian

    1. Dear Cheyenne,
      I am glad you enjoyed seeing my pictures of Bam Bam. She is a lovely bear. Since you live in France, you are close to my first favorite polar bear Flocke and her boyfriend Raspi, living in Antibes. Someday I hope to visit those two lovely bears as well.