Bears are the stars, of course, at Bear Country USA, home to the world’s largest collection of privately owned black bear. However, bears aren’t the only animals you’ll see as you take the three-mile drive through the 200 acre attraction. In fact, we didn’t see any bears for quite a while as we traversed the trail.
We saw elk, reindeer and snow white arctic wolves.
Twenty species of North American mammals live at Bear Country USA’s natural habitats. They roam freely throughout the park. Cattle guards keep the animals in their designated areas.
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About midway down the trail we spotted our first bear—taking a nap alongside the road. There were a few more bears in the same area, but the end of the trail is where we found the most. I had never seen so many bears in one place before.
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My favorite part of Bear Country USA, however, was Babyland, a fenced-off area away from the drive-through trail, where animals younger than one year old are kept. There were baby fox and a few other animals. But once again, bears were the stars. The cubs were so entertaining as they romped, play fighting with each other. Here’s a short video that I took:
If you go:
Bear Country USA, located about eight miles south of Rapid City, South Dakota, is open mid-April through late November, weather permitting. Check the web site for hours and admission fees.
Tip: Take advantage of the window washing station located just after the entrance gate. Since, for safety, you aren’t allowed to roll down your windows on the drive-through trail, you’ll want your windows as clean as possible if you want to take photos.
Disclosure: My visit to Bear Country USA was hosted by the South Dakota Department of Tourism. However, all opinions in this article are my own.
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