|Today the temperature dropped a bit so Larry, Bonnie & I decided to visit Bear Country USA, located 8 miles from Rapid City, featuring the world's largest collection of privately owned black bears. Nestled over 200 acres amidst towering pines and along rolling meadows, Bear Country offers intimate views of most North American mammals. We loved taking the leisurely three-mile drive through several enclosures where we encountered black bear, elk, Arctic wolves, reindeer, deer, cougars, bobcats, rocky mountain goats, bighorn sheep, dall sheep, pronghorn and buffalo!
We loved watching as these clowns of nature frolicked in a pool, climbed trees and ambled across the road in front of us!
I'll bet very few people have had a full-grown black bear look in the window of their truck:) Since this is their turf, the animals have the right-of-way. We were reminded to 'stay in our cage', lol! Especially since it is rutting season and guess what? The animals aren't tame! And, just wondering how many of you have seen a reindeer up close? I suppose Santa has to get them from somewhere :)
The founder of Bear Country USA is Doc Casey. Born in Mitchell, S.D. He attended Carroll College in Helena, Montana and graduated in pre-dental. He completed his dental education at Creighton Dental School in Omaha, Nebraska then practiced dentistry in Rapid City for 30 years. After opening Bear Country U.S.A in 1972, he continued to practice dentistry on a limited basis. He retired from his practice in 1992 to devote all of his time and effort to the wildlife park. Doc and his wife Pauline married in 1959 and opened Bear Country USA in 1972. They have seven children: Kevin, Dennis, Brendan, Sean, Shannon, Michael and John. They also have sixteen grandchildren. Bear Country is now owned and operated by Pauline, Shannon, Mike and John. I hope they have it open for many years to come, & if you get in the area you really should set 2-3 hours aside for a visit.
I took almost 300 photos today so I am going to break it up into two posts. The first will cover the driving portion of our day & the second part will cover 'Babyland'. We were fortunate to hook up with Vel, a wonderful guide who took his time with us & gave Larry, and Bonnie & I, a wonderful ride so that he too could enjoy the rest of our time at Bear Country. Thanks Vel! Well, please come back again & I hope you enjoy the photos. We had a wonderful time :)