The Saint Louis Zoo was one of the first zoos in the world to replace barred cages with open, moated enclosures. In the early 1920s, five grottos for bears were literally molded from limestone palisades along the Mississippi River. With waterfalls, fountains and pools, and a spacious and natural aspect, the bear bluffs have served as a model for numerous other zoos through the years. Today, the bluffs serve as a habitat for spectacled bears, sloth bear and grizzly bears. Our keepers stimulate these bears with enrichment activities by hiding fruit and special snacks in the bluffs for the bears to find using their senses.

Learn more about our bears including those found in Bear Bluffs: