Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bear Country U.S.A., Rapid City, South Dakota

Along with our foray to Reptile Gardens, we also went to Bear Country, mostly because our friends who were visiting wanted to go.  Again, as with Reptile Gardens, The Mammoth Site, and other area attractions Bear Country was free with our VIPcard (normally $16 per adult).

What to say about Bear Country? Well, not our thing.  It’s a drive through animal park, and we’ve seen many of these animals in the wild when we’ve hiked. Yes, bears included. Upon first entering, one drives through the elk area where, yup, there are elk, and yup, we’ve seen them in the wild (think Jasper National Park among others). 

There was one very cool “Northern Exposure” moment:

After the elk area is the arctic wolf area, which, no, we haven’t seen these on one of our hikes

But we have seen sheep (Glacier National Park)

Then one enters the bear area where you will see bears – there were probably 40-50 bears in a 3-4 acre enclosure.  This is where we had the most problem/concern with Bear Country USA – this many bears are not meant to be in this small of a space. There was no room for these guys, no stimulating play toys, nothing. Granted it was a hot day and many were snoozing, but this simply does not seem healthy for any of these bears. In fact, when our neighbors went to Bear Country, two bears had a fight right in front of their truck, to the point where our neighbors came home with bear blood on the front bumper.

We wonder who oversees an operation like Bear Country, but we hope there is some overriding agency that ensures these bears are safe and healthy. A google search (a quick one) did not bring forth any answers, but did illustrate that we are in the minority – people love Bear Country.
Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

1 comment:

Jim and Gayle said...

That's why we don't go to places like that. Sounds like they have a history of problems so hopefully someone is watching them.

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