Asheboro, NC - The North Carolina Zoo today announced that BB&T will sponsor an Arctic ice cave as part of a major expansion of the zoo's highly popular polar bear exhibit. The renovated exhibit, slated to reopen in 2014, is designed to accommodate a breeding group of polar bears and their young.

"The arctic viewing area will include art and educational interpretive exhibits and large-screen video to illustrate the stark beauty of the Arctic region," said Cheryl C. Turner, interim executive director of the N.C. Zoo Society, the zoo's private, non-profit support organization. "Its interior will simulate a melting glacier."

The Arctic ice cave will be the primary visitor viewing area included in major additions to the polar bear facilities in the zoo's Rocky Coast exhibit complex.
"BB&T's sponsoring gift essentially brings our fundraising campaign for private donations for ‘Project: Polar Bears' to an end," Turner added. "We value BB&T's continuing partnership."

"BB&T is proud to partner with the North Carolina Zoo on this major renovation," said Chris Henson, Chief Operating Officer of the Winston-Salem based financial institution. "The expanded polar bear habitat will help educate visitors for generations to come about polar bears and their plight in the wild."

BB&T has pledged $250,000 to "Project: Polar Bears." The zoo's chimpanzee exhibit and rhinoceros collection were also sponsored by BB&T, in 2000 and 2005, respectively.
The Zoo Society's goal was $2.95 million dollars in private support for the $8.73 million dollar "Project: Polar Bears'" expansion. The State of North Carolina has provided $3.98 million dollars for the project, as well as another $1.8 million dollars to renovate existing, nearby exhibits.

The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Dee A. Freeman, Secretary; Beverly E. Perdue, Governor.