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If you are really adventurous and absolutely love the idea of having a one of a kind close up experience with some of America’s most dangerous (and feared) mammals known to man, you will definitely love Bear Country USA!
Just 8 miles south of Rapid City, South Dakota, Bear Country USA has over 200 acres of towering pine trees and beautiful rolling meadows full of nature and wildlife – which is why it offers so much more than just an average Bear encounter – and is also why Bear Country USA is one of the most popular tourist stops in South Dakota.
And another thing for sure – it is most definitely the experience of a lifetime!
The pristine land of Bear Country USA is home to nearly two dozen species of North American animals and mammals which include Black Bears, Grizzly Bears, Bighorn Sheep, Reindeer, Bison, Mountain Lions, Wolves and Arctic Wolves, Bobcats, Canadian Lynx, Coyotes, Red Fox, Elk, and Rocky Mountain Goats.
It is also home to quite a number of smaller animals such as the Badger, Beaver, River Otter, Raccoon, Porcupine, Squirrel, Skunk, Mouse, and Chipmunk, as well as many different varieties of beautiful birds, many of which you may be able to get a good glimpse of either from the comfort and safety of your vehicle while driving through Bear Country USA or while visiting and walking through Bear Country’s Babyland.
When you arrive at Bear Country, you’ll drive from the admission booth directly onto the wildlife loop, beginning your wildlife adventure, so be sure to have everything you need ready and handy!
Tip: You may want to consider arriving at or near the opening time of Bear Country if at all possible. In my many years of experience while sight seeing and viewing wildlife, I have found that most animals are more active and are more likely to be seen in the early morning hours as these are the much cooler hours of the day when the animals are less likely to be hiding from view and is before they disappear to seek the much needed coolness of the shadier places to protect them from the heat and sun.
Tip: Arriving at Bear Country in the earlier morning hours also has another perk: there may be fewer cars from others visiting the park and less time to wait in line as well, giving you more time for your visit and the freedom to really take your time as you drive through the park viewing the animals.
Tip: It will take 25-40 minutes or more to drive slowly through the wildlife loop of Bear Country as you enjoy the many animals you will be sure to see along the way, so no need to feel too rushed.
Tip: The longest part of your Bear Country adventure will be driving through the bear area, and believe me, you will see PLENTY of bears everywhere around you, even walking across the road directly in front of you, some even as bold as to walk alongside your vehicle as you slowly move along! Definitely not for the faint at heart!
Tip: While it is definitely a lot of fun to watch so many bears walking around so close to your vehicle, it can also be rather unnerving to know these are the same animals that could very easily get aggressive over what they feel may be a threat to them, so be sure to move about cautiously.
Tip: While it may be tempting to roll down your window to get a better picture or a clearer video of the bears at any given time, you need to remember that bears are WILD ANIMALS that are unpredictable and it’s not safe to do, so don’t do it.
Tip: Park rules are very clear at Bear Country U.S.A regarding what is allowed and what is not allowed and they are meant to keep you and your family safe while you enjoy your visit, so please be sure to obey the rules while there.
After you have enjoyed your drive through the wildlife loop, you will be able to park your vehicle and walk through Bear Country’s Babyland.
Babyland is home to many of the bears cubs. It’s also home to other wild bears such as the grizzly bear and is where you will find many of the smaller animals which live at Bear Country as well, such as raccoons, squirrels, skunks, chipmunks, porcupines and much more.
While the smaller animals are cute, the baby bear cubs playing, wrestling each other, and climbing on just about everything in sight are by far the main attraction at Babyland and watching them is an all time favorite part of this bear adventure for all who visit there.
While in Babyland, you can spend as much time as you like viewing the animals. It does not take long to stroll through this particular area and depending on which day of the week you visit the Park and the season during your visit, you may also find Bear Country offering many really cool animal presentations to the public as well as fun family activities you and your children will enjoy. You may also want to plan to spend some time in the large souvenir and gift shop while there as well.
Tip: Before heading out to enjoy your visit to Bear Country USA, consider packing a lunch to bring with you for a fun family picnic or plan on lunching at the Bear Country Cafe.
Tip: Visiting Bear Country U.S.A makes a really fun addition to your Rapid City/ Black Hills/ Mount Rushmore vacation, and I highly recommend it for everyone, including families who will enjoy having the ultimate wildlife experience on their next great family outing!
Tip: Pets are always welcome to drive through Bear Country with you while in your vehicle, but only service animals are allowed in the shop areas and Babyland.
Things to Know About Bear Country USA:
Where it is located: 13820 South Highway 16, Rapid City, South Dakota, 57702
Located 8 miles south of Rapid City, it is on the way to Mount Rushmore from Rapid City, on the right side of the highway.
Phone Number: (605) 343-2290
When it is open: Bear Country USA is open every day of the week but with various different hours of operation, starting from late April through late November, weather permitting. They are always closed on Thanksgiving Day so their employees can be with their families and may also be closed on other holidays such as Easter, as well.
* Please check the Bear Country USA website for more information on hours and dates open.
Adult – $17
Child (5-12) – $11
Senior (62+) – $15
Military Adult – $15
Military Child – $9
Maximum/Vehicle – $65
Children 4 & under – FREE
Season Pass – $150
Bear Country USA also offers special Tour Group Rates as well.
*Be sure to check the Bear Country U.S.A website for information on their most current pricing.
Average Length of Visit: 1 – 2 1/2 hours
Available Amenities: Restrooms, Gift Shop, Cafe, Picnic Area, Various Fun Family Activities
You will also need to be sure to pay close attention to special park rules, such as keeping your arms and hands inside your vehicle at all times, not leaving your vehicle at any time during your drive through the wildlife loop, and not feeding the animals as to not (unintentionally) provoke these naturally aggressive animals in any way.
The rules are meant to keep you and your family safe and will also help ensure you have a really great experience while at the Park, leaving you to make some really great memories of your adventure.
Remember, bears are bears whether in a ‘park setting’ or not, and it is their nature to act like the wild animal they are at any given moment, so be sure to use wisdom, stay alert, and be cautious while visiting and driving through Bear Country USA. A safe trip is a good trip.