“Drive-thru wildlife park”
Very few people have had a full-grown black bear look in the window of their family car, or if they have, it was not by choice. Even fewer have seen a reindeer or a elk up close. However, many people are getting experiences like these at Bear Country U.S.A. in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Nestled over 250 acres amidst towering pines and along rolling meadows just eight miles south of Rapid City, Bear Country U.S.A. offers visitors intimate views of most North American mammals. Visitors take a leisurely three-mile drive through several enclosures and encounter black bear, elk, reindeer, deer, cougars, bobcats, rocky mountain goats, bighorn sheep, dall sheep and buffalo. At this "the home of the largest collection of privately owned black bear in the world", Bear Country U.S.A. guests are guaranteed to see more than they bargained for. From the comfort of their own car, visitors watch as these clowns of nature frolic in a pool, climb trees and amble across the road in front of their vehicle.
RAPID CITY - Two members of the Casey family, which owns and operates Bear Country USA, pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to illegally selling bear gall bladders to buyers in Spearfish and Alaska.
And a U.S. Fish & Wildlife official said the black bears those parts came from didn't die of natural causes.
"They were being harvested. They were slaughtering them," said Bob Prieksat, resident agent in charge for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Pierre. "They were definitely breeding bears to produce more bears, and that's something they controlled.
Prieksat said the local investigation originated in Colorado, where wildlife officers were investigating a specialty meat business that had reportedly either bought or sold bear parts originating from Bear Country USA. South Dakota officials began investigating in 2001, but Prieksat said he suspects the wildlife park had been selling parts for some time before then.
So to start let me say that I went on July 4th which is apparently the busiest week to go. Therefore what should have taken an hour took two and a half.
This is virtually a drive through zoo: the set up was not even close to what I assumed from the website. Yes, you get to see all of the animals on every trip but they don't roam free as advertised. They are still caged. I would rather go to the zoo so that you can see more animals, these included for a cheaper price.
The best part was the baby bears which are located at the end. So fun to watch play and tumble over each other!
Awesome, I think we should feed people like delle.conner to the wild animals. Get over yourself, Maybe give of a review of the place on it's merits alone and keep your PETA loving opinion to yourself, the comments you made are not helpful to someone planning a trip, Please keep your rants on FB and Twitter, not here...
This was a super fun experience. We were concerned about going because it was a super hot day (104 degrees) and we could only go later in the day (4 pm) and thought the animals might not be very active but they were very fun to watch. The kids were out of their seats scrambling to whichever window the animals were out in each section. The animals truly roam free (within very large caged areas, of course) so they can come right up to your car, onto the road, wherever they want. We saw several different kinds of animals within feet of our car. The bears were the best, obviously. I was surprised by how many they have and how large their area is. It was really incredible to see. The baby bears were the kids favorite! They were super cute and funny to watch. It took us about 2 hours to go through both the driving section and the small/baby animal walking section.
Our family really enjoyed it. Two reindeer walked right in front of our car and right to the side of us. They stopped the truck behind us from going and wouldn't move. It was pretty funny. Of course the Bears were the best. They were practically touching our car. We even got to see two of them fighting...or playing. One or the other. Either way it was fun to see these animals so close to us. So close we could touch them but of course didn't dare put our windows down. We went on a Thursday afternoon in the last week of July and it wasn't crowded at all. Afterwards you can park and look at the baby bears. They were really cute to watch. There are a few others to look at as well while you are walking around (skunks, porcupines, etc) . The water mists were a plus for a hot day. Kids played there for a while and got more wet than I would like but they had fun.
Totally worth every penny!!! Such an amazing experience... I thought it was a bit pricey, but nice to see the animals in such great health and to know they're being well taken care of makes you feel like you're contributing! Also you are guaranteed to see everything!!
This place was awesome! $16 a person or $60 for a whole car of people. Seeing all of the animals right next to the car is amazing! I especially loved all of the bears. Definitely worth stopping!
Agree that this was too pricey for what it was. I also went the last week of August and it was not crowded. Lots of bears and some other animals. For $60 it was our most expensive day. They do walk right up to your car, so that makes for some great pictures.
The best time to go was the last week in August. It was not busy at all, and there was no rush to get through the park. There were so many animals to see, and my goodness... There were hundreds of bears. The animals would come right up to the car; it was amazing.
The best part were the baby bears. It was so neat to watch them play with one another!
Kind of pricy though, we paid $60 for a "car load".
I think that allowing people to pet what should be wild animals is very troubling. Animals that are wild belong in the wild. Not put on display for a tourist attraction because there's not much to see on your little hill. And using them for your own monetary gain is downright appalling. You should be ashamed of yourself.
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Bear Country U.S.A
- Sun - Sat: 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
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