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29 votes

North American Bear Center

1926 MN-169, Ely, Minnesota 55731 USA

“Dedicated to replacing old myths with facts”

The North American Bear Center is the only Science/Nature museum of its kind. Dedicated to replacing old myths with facts, it lets people learn from the bears themselves about bear behavior, ecology, and their relations with humans.

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Reviewed by

  • 5 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
July 02, 2015
Rated 4.0

The NABC somehow manages to pack in hours of educational opportunities into a fairly small location. The main building has lots of displays, tons of pictures, and videos documenting all kinds of bear behavior - mating, cub rearing, bluffing, foraging, etc., etc. There's also a small movie theater.

You can very easily spend two hours or more viewing the educational displays. You'll learn a lot about bears.

There's also a nice enclosure behind the main building with a spacious viewing deck where the (currently four) resident bears can be seen. These are bears that, for various reasons, cannot be released back into the wild, so they are now permanent residents at the NABC.

If the bears aren't out in the viewing area, there are regular trips out back to see them. They're pretty short, but you do get to see some of the critters up close. You are guaranteed to see the bears, either in the enclosure or out back.

Live camera feeds are also available on their website.

The staff is very friendly and will be able to answer a lot of your questions about bears.

The NABC is not just an educational organization, but a research one as well. New and original research has been done in conjunction with the NABC.

At the time I visited, late June 2015, the NABC was building a new area dedicated to other wildlife in the north woods of Minnesota.

The focus of the NABC is education, and it does that very, very well. Seeing the bears is great too, but if you want a better bear viewing experience (and any children you have are well behaved), drive an hour to the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary in Orr, MN. Bring a camera.

You can (and should) visit both, though. The NABC closes when the VSWS opens.

The NABC is highly recommended for families, anyone who loves bears, and anyone looking for an educational experience. They will take large groups as well (call ahead and schedule something so they can ensure ample staff).

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 3 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
May 06, 2017
Rated 5.0

Jam packed with fun bear facts. You will walk out knowing something you didn't know. If your there at the end of the day they have a tour out back of the enclosure which is neat.

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