Today, I went to Forest Park for the fifth time this week. On Monday, I walked to the zoo and saw the new Grizzly Ridge bear exhibit that opened while we were out-of-town. Tuesday and Wednesday I bicycled in the park. Yesterday, Anne and I drove to the art museum, but I’ve already reported on that. Today, I once again biked in the park, but since it was going to be super hot, I got up early and launched at dawn’s early light. That’s five times in the seven days that I’ve been back in town. Pretty good, if I do say so myself. It feels good to be back on the bike again, but as long as it remains hot, I’ll be getting up early.
Grizzly Ridge is the new home for Huckleberry (or Huck) and Finley, which is a feminization of Finn, as in Huck Finn. Brother and Sister, these two now two-and-a-half year-olds were captured in Montana as cubs, when forest rangers put their mother down. It has taken over a year for them to get to Saint Louis. Their enclosure was built from the last two of the five old bear pits that were built in the 1920s. In their day these moated bear pits were herald as innovations over cages, which were then the norm. Calvin Coolidge was fooled into believing that their molded concrete walls were natural rock formations. 60% of the original masonry was preserved in the $11M fabrication of the new enclosure, which is twice the size of one of the old pits, with half the population or four times the space. Plexiglas has replaced the need for moats, allowing patrons to get much closer. More natural grounds and a pool are a big departure from the old concrete flooring. Finley is seen chewing on an “enrichment treat”.