Have you ever been to Bear Country USA? When I was looking for attractions to visit on our trip to South Dakota, Bear Country USA kept coming up. After seeing it for the fourth time I decided to take a look and see what it’s all about. It’s a driving tour, through a park, filled with animals! Specifically, bears. Lots of bears.
The drive is only 3 miles but expect to be in the car for about an hour or more depending on how busy the park is and how active the animals are. We spent about an hour and half on the driving portion of the park. You can pull over, to the side of the road and watch the animals. However, at no time may you roll down your window or get out of your car. Car doors must remain locked at all times. Windows must remain closed at all time. If you have a Jeep, be sure to take the leather cover off your spare tire. It’s a good idea to stop at a gas station and clean all the windows so you can get clear pictures.
The kids were thrilled to be seeing bears up close! But first, we had to work our way back to them. Elk were the first animals we saw as we entered Bear Country USA. They stayed pretty far away from the trail.
Next up was the Arctic Fox. Boy, was he gorgeous! Unfortunately, the little stinker would not turn around and look at us! The rest of the pack was snoozing in the shade. But this guy never left his lookout. He stood there the whole time.
As we left the Arctic Fox area we came across a Big Horn Sheep. The kids and I have never seen one before. Those horns really are impressive! This fella was not impressed with us though. He just sauntered by without even acknowledging us.
The Reindeer were up next. Peyton was wondering how Santa was going to deliver Christmas presents if the Reindeer were at Bear Country USA! She was so adorable as she fretted about Santa having no one to pull his sleigh.
Then it was on to the Bears! Before today, I never realized how beautiful bears are. These Black Bears looked so kind and gentle. It’s hard to believe they can look so sweet and cuddling yet rip a person apart in seconds. We watched them as they sunned themselves on rocks, drank from the watering hole and even munched on some bread.
Once you are done with the driving portion of the park, you can park your car and take in Baby Land! The kids were itching to get out of the car and see some animals. Baby Land is where you can see some of the smaller animals and some baby animals. Still no touching. But you get an up close experience similar to a zoo experience.
There’s a Badger! I have never seen a badger in person before. We all thought the badger looked adorable taking a nap in the sun. They even had a porcupine! He was so cute waddling his way down to the fence. Unfortunately, I was so taken in by his cuteness I forgot to take a picture. Sorry.
After you’ve walked around Baby Land and seen all the adorable baby animals you can finish the visit with a stop at the gift shop. Of course, they have lots and lots of bear themed merchandise.
Bear Country USA was a fun excursion for us. I would suggest setting aside 2-3 hours to fully enjoy the park. You can only drive thru once and there is no re-entry without paying a second admission fee. Admission is somewhat pricey so be sure to check the website to see if your family qualifies for any discounts.