By Makenzie O'Keefe

DENVER (CBS4) – The Denver Zoo has opened a new exhibit that gives visitors the chance to see some grizzly bears up close. After months of construction, Harmony Hills is officially open. The new grizzly bear exhibit is located where the polar bears used to be. It allows two rescued bears, Tundra and Kootenai, to have more space to roam.

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“It’s really giving our bears a lot more space, a lot more options, a lot more opportunities to perform all the natural behaviors we like to see out of them,” explained Becca McCloskey, Curator of Carnivores and Primates at the Denver Zoo.

The zoo said this new exhibit allows them to provide exceptional care for the two bears. The new area includes hammocks, a dig pit, a stream and shallow pools.

“It’s like a bear-sized hot tub. They like to put their arm along the side and it almost looks like they should have a little tropical drink,” McCloskey laughed. “They’re really loving those pools.”

Harmony Hills has an important message behind it that goes far beyond just watching the wildlife.

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“We need to live with bears,” McCloskey said. “We live in Colorado. We have all the opportunities to interact with these wild animals and we need to do so very safely and responsibly.”

The exhibit allows visitors to feel like their stepping into the wilderness. You first enter a state park with bear warning signs and camping gear.

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“That’s all designed to help guests understand how to camp safely around bears,” explained Brittany Frederick, with the Denver Zoo Guest Engagement.

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Another section of the exhibit makes visitors feel like there are in their living room, seeing bears right outside their window.

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“There are trash cans to show how to lock up trash too,” Frederick said. “It really helps us tell the story of what you can do at home to make sure bears don’t come into your backyard.”

Makenzie O'Keefe

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