One of many great things to do while you are in Big Bear is visit the Big Bear Alpine Zoo! The zoo is a rehabilitation facility and is home to injured and orphaned wild animals. Many animals do not permanently remain in the zoo, but instead only while they heal. If they are unable to survive on their own they are given another chance at life and taken care of through the zoo. 90% of the animals at Big Bear Alpine Zoo are successfully returned back to their natural environment.
Grizzly bears are the zoo’s most popular residents. Big Bear Alpine Zoo is one of only two zoos in California that offer a grizzly bear exhibit. Even the most popular zoo in Southern California, the San Diego Zoo, doesn’t home grizzly bears. Big Bear’s grizzlies are the only family of grizzlies in captivity. The names of the bears are Tutu (the mother) and her two children, Ayla and Harley. Big Bear got its name from grizzly bears that once roamed the mountain range in the pre 1900’s and is proud to home these bears.
Other distinguished inhabitants of the zoo are the black bears. There are four different black bears that have all been rescued. They have become permanent residents due to their inability to fend for themselves in the wild. The black bears are Zuni (the oldest of the bunch), Hucklebeary (a three-legged bear with lots of charm), Hollybeary (the only female black bear), and Pooh (the darkest fur and biggest appetite). Each bear has a unique personality that makes viewing these bears a pleasing experience.
Some other residents of Big Bear Zoo that are a must see include a pack of wolves, mountain lions, grey and red foxes, bobcats, mule deer, porcupine, and raccoons. Some of the more unusual inhabitants include wood bison, fishers, ringtail cats, and coatimundi. Other highlights include a reptile room, bird sanctuary and a bald eagle exhibit.
A stroll around the zoo’s grounds makes for a perfect afternoon outing with family or friends. The fascinating animals are bound to keep all ages amazed. Both guided and self-guided tours are available, providing an excellent first-hand look into mountain wildlife and the delicate balance of nature.
Every day at noon, animal keepers give a presentation about the chosen animal of the day. The keepers share information about the animal’s history and provide interesting facts about the animal. This information often includes where they come from, what they eat, and how they live in the wild. This is a great opportunity to learn about the animals that reside at Big Bear Alpine Zoo.
Another program that happens daily is feeding tours at 3 p.m. This tour is interesting because visitors get to see exactly what each animals’ diet consists of. Animal keepers go from pen to pen and explain why certain animals eat certain food.
As you can see, visiting the Big Bear Alpine Zoo is an experience unlike any other!
For more information, call 909-584-1299.