Polar Bears sure to relish new giant pickle toy

View more images of the great pickle adventures with our polar bears by John Gomes.  View gallery here.

View more images of the great pickle adventures with our polar bears by John Gomes. View gallery here.

The most wonderful time of the year arrived early for the Alaska Zoo’s polar bears Cranbeary and Lyutyik when they received a new pickle toy. The giant pickle gift was part of a fundraiser that kicked off on International Polar Bear Day, Feb. 27.  The Alaska Zoo partnered with local, aptly named restaurant Polar Dip to raise funds to get the toy for the zoo’s two resident bears. To raise funds, Polar Dip introduced the Cranbeary Special to its menu, a turkey and cheddar melt with cranberry chutney. ­

“We loved the idea of partnering with the zoo because they bring so much to our community. With a name like Polar Dip, hosting a fundraiser at our restaurant to benefit the resident polar bears seemed perfectly fitting,” said Polar Dip Owner Danielle Wynne.

Cranbeary came to Alaska from the Denver Zoo at the end of 2018. While in Denver, a giant pickle was always her favorite toy, and it would entertain her for hours. As a way to enhance the Alaska Zoo polar bears’ habitat, on April 23 they were surprised with this new version of Cranbeary’s favorite toy.

The 40-inch-long, foot-wide pickle was waiting for the furry friends before the bears were released to their habitat in the morning. This surprise would not have been possible without a month-long partnership with Polar Dip. Half of the proceeds from the Cranbeary Special went into a fund to help pay for the giant pickle toy.

“This five-pound pickle is something we know will provide the bears endless. We’re thankful to our friends at Polar Dip and everyone in the Anchorage community who supported the Alaska Zoo by enjoying a Cranbeary Special and contributing to this fundraiser” said Pat Lampi, executive director of the Alaska Zoo.

On the day of the surprise reveal, the owners of Polar Dip, Danielle and Morgan Wynne as well as executive chef Jim Wheeler, watched as the polar bears were introduced to their new toy.  

For those who couldn’t attend the big day or want to check in on the zoo’s resident polar bears and their new toy at any time, tune in live via the Alaska Zoo Polar Bear Camera sponsored by GCI. The camera shows a peak into the lives of these fascinating animals and it is worth spending some time learning about how they interact in their habitat.

Visitors can also come and see the polar bears throughout the year. Summer is just around the corner and is a great time to visit. Their habitat has a waterfall and a pool so they can cool off during the warmer days. Also, be sure to follow all of our animals on the Alaska Zoo’s Facebook page.

The Alaska Zoo has been providing a home for orphaned, injured and captive-born animals for 50 years. Is it dedicated to the conservation of Arctic and sub-Arctic animals. Our animals are family and we aim to offer them the best possible environment and comfort. We do that through research, partnerships and fundraisers.

Want to support our bears and other residents? You can donate, adopt an animal or simply visit the zoo. We are open year-round and are eager to welcome you for a visit!