Bear Country USA, Rapid City, SD




Bear Country USA is an attraction in Rapid City South Dakota. The park is set on 250 acres in the Black Hills. With a three mile drive through the forested area visitors are able to see one of the largest Black Bear habitats in the world. Bear Country USA is a reserve for animals such as the grizzly, elk, reindeer, bobcats, and cougars. It is possible to see the bears and other animals play in pools, climb trees, or move across the road while vehicles pass.

The reserve was started to help preserve the animals, as well as teach visitors about all of the different animals housed within its gates. It is possible to get out of the car at the park's Babyland to take a walk and view some of the animals at the reserve. There are more than a dozen species in Babyland. Bear cubs, otters, and other animals are in the walking area of the park. The otters have waterfalls and places to relax out of the water. Dr. Dennis Casey and his wife opened the park in 1972. At the time they had 11 black bear, one cougar, one wolf, three buffalo, and one large bull elk. In over 26 years they have gathered more animals including 200 black bear. In the 70's there was no zoo near Rapid City, which is one reason the Casey's decided to open their park.

The park is about conservation of animals and land. When visitors arrive they will be greeted by Elk first. The road course takes them to the reindeer, past wolves, big horn sheep, and Dall sheep. After the sheep the park road leads to the Rocky Mountain Goat, before reaching the North American Black Bear. Cougars, Timber Wolves, and Buffalo are next on the drive before reaching the grizzly bears. The tour ends at Babyland.

Bear Country USA is open during May to November from 8am to 6pm daily. In the autumn months the park can close early if weather is unsatisfactory. Costs for the park vary depending on age. The range is $8 to $15 or a maximum of $55 per vehicle. The park charges more for a maximum amount when it comes to a Motorcoach. The maximum amount for a caravan is $200 based on occupancy. There are also group rates available.

Due to the nature of the park there are rules and regulations one must follow in order to drive through the park. This information is supplied at the beginning of the tour. Bear Country USA has events available during the season. Critter Camp is a camp for children where they are able to come to the park and learn about the various animals and their care. There is a pass holder day, and a wild wheels night.

Rapid City, where this different style zoo is located, is the second largest city in South Dakota. It is known for its western history as Native American culture. The Bear Country USA zoo makes Rapid City a key destination.


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