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Polaria in Zoos

What is a Polaria

Polaria, based in the frost-kissed landscapes of Europe, is not your everyday zoo; it’s a captivating world that plunges visitors into the heart of various biozones. It’s a magical portal whisking you away to the icy reaches of the Arctic, where polar bears reign and glacial winds whisper tales of endurance. This unique European attraction offers an immersive experience into the wildlife and ecosystems of the polar regions, creating an adventurous deviation from the traditional zoo visit.

Which European Zoos have a Polaria

Polaria can be found in various zoos across Europe, with outposts popping up from Norway to the United Kingdom.

You’ll also find Polaria stations nestled within the Dresden Zoo and Tiergarten in Germany, as well as the Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park in Scotland.

Which European Zoo has the largest Polaria

The Polaria in Tromsø, Norway

Perhaps the most prominent Polaria can be found in the northern city of Tromsø, in Norway. This Polaria is renowned as the world’s most northerly aquarium and is an architectural marvel, designed to mimic the rippling movement of a glacier. As you step foot within its walls, you are transported into a world of snowy landscapes and incredibly adaptable wildlife.

Seal Training at the Tromsø Polaria

One of the highlights of the Tromsø Polaria is the bearded seal training sessions. These sessions, conducted twice a day, offer a fascinating insight into the relationship between the seals and their caretakers. Trainers use positive reinforcement to encourage the seals to perform a variety of behaviours, not simply for entertainment, but crucially, to promote their physical and mental well-being.

The Northern Lights Exhibit

No visit to the Tromsø Polaria would be complete without experiencing the Northern Lights exhibit. Here, visitors can immerse themselves in a stunning simulation of the aurora borealis, one of nature’s most breathtaking spectacles. This exhibit not only provides a visual feast but also imparts valuable knowledge about the science behind the Northern Lights.

The Importance of Conservation

The Polaria in Tromsø stands as a beacon of conservation, using its platform to educate visitors about the importance of preserving the Arctic and its unique biodiversity. The institution actively participates in research and conservation efforts, fostering an awareness of the urgent need to combat climate change and protect these fragile ecosystems.

The Future of Polaria

As we look ahead, the role of Polaria-based attractions in Europe’s zoos will only grow in importance. These institutions offer a window into a world that many of us will never get to see firsthand. Through education and engagement, Polaria fosters a deeper appreciation for our planet’s polar regions and the extraordinary life that thrives there.

What type of animals a Polaria has

The Arctic Wildlife

One of the main attractions of any Polaria is, of course, its wildlife. Visitors have the unique opportunity to witness a variety of Arctic inhabitants in environments that have been meticulously designed to mirror their natural habitats.

Polar Bears

No Polaria visit is complete without seeing the majestic polar bears. These creatures, known as the kings of the Arctic, are a sight to behold. In their specially designed enclosures, they demonstrate their incredible strength and agility, swimming and playing, allowing visitors a glimpse into their Arctic life.


Penguins are another crowd favourite. With their comical waddle and social behaviour, they provide endless entertainment for visitors of all ages. Polarias typically house Gentoo Penguins, a species known for their playful antics and distinctive white “bonnet” markings.

Arctic Foxes

The Arctic fox, with its winter-white fur and piercing eyes, is a staple of the Polaria. These animals, well-adapted to their harsh polar environment, exhibit behaviours that amuse and educate visitors. During feeding times, their keen hunting instincts come to the forefront, proving to be a fascinating spectacle.

Seal Pups

Finally, there are the adorable seal pups. These charismatic animals are some of the most popular inhabitants of the Polaria. Watching a seal pup clumsily navigate its enclosure, or observing the tender interactions between a mother seal and her pup, are some of the endearing experiences that make a trip to the Polaria memorable.

The Importance of Animal Welfare

It is crucial to remember that the animals within the Polaria are ambassadors for their species in the wild. Each Polaria places a strong emphasis on animal welfare, ensuring that every animal’s physical and emotional needs are met. Animals are provided with stimulating environments, proper nutrition, and expert veterinary care. Their enclosures are designed not just for visitor viewing, but with the animals’ natural behaviours and needs in mind.

The Role of Animals in Education

The animals within a Polaria serve an important role in education. By observing these animals, visitors gain a better understanding of their behaviours, habitats, and the challenges they face in the wild due to climate change. This educational aspect is a vital part of the Polaria’s mission to foster love and respect for the Arctic and its wildlife, and to inspire visitors to become stewards of the environment.

What you should see in a Polaria

Marine Biomes

A visit to a Polaria offers an opportunity to explore marine biomes designed to replicate the icy polar oceans. Teeming with a variety of marine life, these exhibits present a captivating underwater world. Visitors might see fish species adapted to the cold polar waters, spectacular displays of jellyfish, and in some instances, even walruses.

Interactive Exhibits

Interactive exhibits are a key feature of Polaria. From touch tanks, where visitors can feel the texture of starfish and sea urchins, to virtual reality experiences that transport them to the heart of the Arctic, these interactive elements are both entertaining and educational.

Environmental Films

Many Polarias also screen environmental films in their state-of-the-art theatres. These films often highlight the beauty of the polar regions, the impact of climate change, and the urgent need for conservation. They serve as a powerful tool to inspire and motivate visitors into taking action.

Educational Programs

Polaria places a strong emphasis on education, offering a variety of programs for visitors of all ages. These might include guided tours, feeding demonstrations, and interactive workshops. Through these programs, visitors can deepen their understanding of polar ecosystems and the importance of their conservation.

Souvenir Shops

No visit to any attraction would be complete without a trip to the souvenir shop. Polaria’s souvenir shops offer a variety of mementos, from plush toys of your favourite polar creatures to educational books and exclusive Polaria merchandise. Purchasing from these shops also helps support the ongoing conservation efforts of the Polaria.

Dining Facilities

To ensure a comfortable visit, most Polarias also offer on-site dining facilities. Here, visitors can take a break from their polar exploration and enjoy a meal or a snack. The menus often feature a mix of local and international cuisine, catering to a wide range of dietary preferences.

The Overall Experience

A visit to a Polaria is not just about observing animals. It is an immersive and educational journey that brings visitors face-to-face with the unique and fragile ecosystems of the polar regions. It instils a sense of wonder, a deeper appreciation of nature, and a clearer understanding of the role we all play in its protection. It’s an experience that leaves a lasting impact, long after the visit is over.

Polaria Zoo

What is the environment in a Polaria

An Arctic Environment

A Polaria is meticulously designed to replicate the extreme conditions of the Arctic landscape. The biozones offer a striking resemblance to the polar wilderness, often augmented with realistic features such as artificial snow and ice. Visitors are transported into a truly authentic Arctic experience.

The Climate

To ensure the welfare of the Arctic species, the climate within a Polaria is carefully controlled. The enclosures maintain low temperatures that mirror the cold environment of the polar regions. Humidity, light, and even sound are regulated to provide the animals with a habitat as close to their natural environment as possible.

Animal Enclosures

Each enclosure within a Polaria is designed with the specific needs of its inhabitants in mind. For aquatic species like polar bears and seals, large pools filled with chilled water are provided, often adorned with ice floes. Penguins enjoy spacious habitats complete with pebbly beaches and chilly waters. Land-loving Arctic foxes reside in enclosures that mimic the snowy tundra, providing plenty of space for them to roam.

Flora and Fauna

Although the polar regions are not known for their biodiversity, a Polaria does incorporate some elements of Arctic flora such as mosses, lichens, and small shrubs in its design. Each of these plants is selected for its ability to survive in harsh Arctic conditions. It’s not uncommon to see Arctic birds in some Polarias, adding an extra layer of authenticity to the environment.


Sustainability is a key aspect of a Polaria. Efforts are made to minimise the environmental impact of maintaining such a unique facility. Energy-efficient climate control systems, water recycling facilities, and sustainable building materials are just some of the ways a Polaria aims to reduce its carbon footprint, as it educates visitors about the Arctic environment and its precious wildlife.

Is Polaria safe environment for the animals?

The Welfare of Animals in Polaria

Polaria places paramount importance on the health and welfare of its animals. They are constantly monitored by a team of experienced veterinarians and animal care specialists who ensure they are in good health and display natural behaviours. These professionals also ensure that the animals have the necessary environmental enrichment, such as toys, puzzles, and climbing structures, to stimulate their minds and encourage physical activity.

Diet and Nutrition

The animals in Polaria enjoy diets that are carefully curated to meet their specific nutritional needs. For instance, polar bears would be fed a diet of fish and meat, imitating their diet in the wild. Penguins might receive a mix of fish species, often hand-fed to ensure they receive adequate nutrition. These diets are continually assessed and adjusted to meet the evolving needs of each animal.

Veterinary Care

Should an animal require medical attention, each Polaria has on-site veterinary facilities equipped to provide immediate care. Routine health checks, vaccinations, and preventive medical treatments are part of the ongoing care provided to the animals. In the event of a health concern, specialists are on call to ensure prompt and appropriate treatment.

Animal Training and Enrichment

Behavioural enrichment and training are vital for the health and well-being of the animals in Polaria. They help to stimulate the animals’ minds, allow them to engage in species-specific behaviours, and even facilitate their participation in their own healthcare. For example, seals might be trained to voluntarily present a flipper for a blood draw.

Conservation Programs

Polaria plays an integral role in global conservation efforts. Many participate in breeding programmes for endangered species, contributing to the survival of these species in the wild. Additionally, they conduct and support research that aids in the understanding of Arctic species, their behaviours, and the threats they face. This valuable information helps shape conservation strategies and provides hope for the future of these remarkable creatures.

Further Research

To learn more about Polarias and gain a deeper understanding of the topics discussed in this article, consider exploring the following resources:

  1. What is a Polaria? – This article from Polaria’s official website provides a comprehensive overview of what these unique institutions are all about.
  2. Protecting the Polar Environment – This BBC Bitesize clip offers insight into the importance of conservation efforts in polar regions.
  3. Animal Welfare in Zoos – This resource from Zoo Check provides valuable information about the various measures in place to ensure the welfare of animals in zoos, including Polarias.
  4. Sustainability in Zoos – This article from the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) elaborates on how these institutions, including Polarias, are making strides towards becoming more sustainable.
  5. Conservation Programs in Zoos – The Association of Zoos & Aquariums provides detailed information on the numerous conservation programs that zoos, including Polarias, participate in.