Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Behind the Scenes with Bo and Crystal

Bo plays with his ball behind the scenes

Crystal's seventh cub Bo was born on December 9, 2018, and spent the first few months with his mom in the small dark den behind the scenes at Arctic Edge in the Toledo Zoo, drinking lots of milk, growing at an amazing rate, getting strong.

Bo is a very playful 8 months old now.

Bo loves his toys

When he was old enough to come out to play, still hidden from the public, his mom Crystal could teach him to swim in an adjustable shallow pool in a large area behind the regular enclosure out front, where dad Marty entertained the visitors.

Sometimes his keepers smear food on Bo's Jolly Ball

This spacious room with no roof was his home until he made his public debut in May. There is also a hall with "bedrooms" for the bears leading off the grand courtyard like area.

Bo and his Mom Crystal. 

 I took the behind the scenes tour at the end of the day, where for a small charge ($20), you can spend some time privately spying on the bears as they munch down some fish. As it turns out, it was just me and my guide, for the other two people who had signed up for the tour were no-shows.
Bo thinks he has caught a fish
 Crystal and Borealis, or Bo for short, were given a good supply of small fish, which they quickly gobbled up. They got some larger fish too, and there were vitamins and supplements hidden inside, so the bears were more reluctant to eat the bigger fish, my guide explained.

Bo checks the fish out.

Bo is proud that he "caught" one!
 Finally the bears went after the bigger fish, but seemed to be trying to avoid the vitamins hidden inside.


 Bo has plenty of toys to play with. My guide told me that Bo seems to prefer playing with balls more than anything else, and he had a pretty purple ball in the back.

Bo and his ball

Bo likes to toss things into the pool

Toys of all shapes and sizes

Bo also had part of a big blue barrel to play with, and a plastic spool just like the one I remember watching his big sister Hope push around on the ice.

A few years ago I took the behind the scenes tour at the Arctic Edge, when twins Suka and Sakari were little. They had a great time playing with the fish too. On that tour, attended by a great many more people, we were shown the water tanks where the salt water is processed, a food area with a freezer to make frozen treats for the the bears, as well as a veterinary area.

I appreciate that the Toledo Zoo offers this behind the scenes tour. I am always interested in seeing the bears in a different environment and being able to ask questions.

Crystal standing, and Bo racing

Looking for more fish?

Mom Crystal


  1. Dear Molly!
    Thank you so much for sharing this fantastic experience with me and many others! Observing polar bears so close is something very, very special!
    Hugs from Mervi