The Arctic surrounds the North Pole and is usually thought of as the area inside the Arctic Circle. It sits across the northern-most parts of both the Nearctic and Palaearctic regions and includes areas of Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Russia, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland.
Much of the Arctic is a huge ocean that freezes over in winter and partially melts away each summer. The ice is always moving. Land on the warmer fringes of the Arctic Ocean is called tundra, which means ‘treeless plain’. Trees can’t grow as the soil is often frozen and it is too windy.
Polar Bears and other animals that live in the Arctic have amazing adaptations for surviving extreme cold and getting through winter. Many species spend the summer feasting on abundant food in the Arctic then migrate south each winter. For those that stay, hibernation is one strategy for surviving the cold.
In the Wild exhibition we have many animals from the Arctic on display. The Regional Animals box at right contains one of them, with information about why it is special and how it is faring in the wild.