The Welcome Centre is your first stop upon arrival. Our friendly staff will welcome you at the front desk where you can buy some coffee, tea or hot chocolate while watching our bears on live TV. Watch our feature movie in Ganuk’s Theatre, or look at the beautiful artwork in our foyer.
There is also a giftshop and washrooms here, and we offer kennels with water for your visiting pets.
The Learning Centre is the focal point of our habitat. Here you can look out our observation windows into Enclosure A and B or watch the bears swim gracefully in the pool right in front of you. Once you’ve had your fill of watching the bears, explore interactive exhibits to learn more about the world of polar bears or speak with one of our animal care staff during our Keeper Talks.
Please note that polar bears do not spend their whole day swimming and may not be available to watch in the pools depending on weather, mood, and which enclosure they are in.
In the summer months we have a small wading pool where visitors can wade in the water next to the bears, who have their very own pool on the other side of a glass barrier. The wading pool is open seasonally from late May to September, weather permitting.
Our bears have access to five enclosures totalling 24 acres, equipped with pools, trees, rock and natural vegetation, including the world’s largest polar bear enclosure encompassing a natural lake.
Please keep in mind, our polar bears choose where they want to be on any given day. That means we will rotate them in enclosures according to their needs.
We have two bear holding facilities. These are not generally accessible to the public unless you have booked a special experience package.
The holding areas provide indoor protection and privacy for the bears, who may choose to go inside anytime if they don’t feel sociable. Our main holding includes bearkeeper office, food preparation area, crate room, denning room, and individual rooms for the bears. There is a smaller second holding area attached to the Greenland Enclosure with additional private rooms.
Take a trip back in time to the early 1900’s, when Cochrane was being settled. Our Heritage Village, just steps away from the Learning Centre, has a picturesque main street to explore. Here you will find a General Store, Butcher Shop, Doctor’s Office, Blacksmith’s Shop, Fire Station and School House. We even have a Trapper’s Cabin facing the lake enclosure.
Nanook’s Restaurant, named after one of our past polar bear guests, and a youth train ride are open seasonally.
The restaurant is only open during Summers.
Cochrane residents still have fond memories of the Habitat’s first furry resident, Nanook. Located across from the Heritage Village Railway Station and Train Ride, Nanook’s Restaurant offers family friendly food such as chicken burgers, hot dogs, onion rings and fries, as well as drinks and other snacks.
Look for this air conditioned, sit-down restaurant, or bring your own picnic lunch. Picnic tables are available at various locations throughout the habitat.
Visit Ontario’s northernmost snowmobile museum. The Cochrane Classic Vintage Riders Snowmobile Museum is adjacent to the Welcome Centre. The exhibit traces the rich journey of Cochrane’s snowmobile history from the 1950’s to present day. The museum showcases close to 100 vintage sleds and includes an archive of historic photographs and unique memorabilia.