It’s always intriguing to visit the zoo to see animals up close including grizzly bears, which 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, the other is in Fresno. The San Diego Zoo, Southern California’s most popular zoo, does not even have grizzlies, but these goliath bears are definitely found in Big Bear. The grizzlies are actually a family of bears that were transported from Yellowstone National Park because of their precarious behavior in the National Park. Big Bear’s grizzlies are the only family of grizzlies in captivity. The names of the bears are Tutu (the mother) and her off spring Ayla and Harley. Big Bear is proud to have these bears because Big Bear got its name from actual grizzly bears that once roamed the mountain range pre-1900’s.
Other distinguished inhabitants at the zoo are the black bears. There are four different black bears that have all been rescued. They have all become permanent residents because they are unable to fend for themselves and cannot be released back into 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 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 cat, and coatimundi. Other features include a reptile room, bird sanctuary and bald eagles 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 everyone amazed from toddlers to grandparents. Both guided and self-guided tours are available and provide an excellent first-hand look into mountain wildlife and the delicate balance of nature.
Every day at noon animal keepers gives a presentation about the animal of the day. The keepers share information about the animal’s history and interesting facts about the animal, such as 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 especially interesting because visitors get to see exactly what each animals’ diet consist of. Animal keepers go from pen to pen and explain why certain animals eat certain food.