Bear Country USA, Rapid City

4.2
#1 of 11 in Wildlife in South Dakota
Set on over 101 hectares (250 acres) in the Black Hills, Bear Country USA hosts a large collection of North American mammals, particularly black bears. The park's animals generally move unhindered through outdoor exhibits. You'll see that the site is not a zoo, but rather a 4.8 km (3 mi) open air "safari" experience you can tour by car. Don't miss the park's special Babyland exhibit, where young animals and smaller species, such as the resident population of bear cubs, can often be seen playing. Put Bear Country USA on your schedule, and learn what else deserves a visit by using our Rapid City online driving holiday planner .
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Bear Country USA Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
3,198 reviews
Google
4.3
TripAdvisor
  • Didn't expect much here but the whole family enjoyed seeing the collection of wildlife here from bears, bison, wolves, mountain goats, big horned sheep, porcupines, beavers, martens, etc.  more »
  • An enjoyable drive through the park, animals in clear view. This is a drive that you can really enjoy at your own pace. Highly recommend this if you love bear's.  more »
  • Oh my I have never seen so many bears in one place. There are other animals to see but I was taken by the bears. Plenty of photo ops . There is also a small zoo to be enjoyed by everyone.  more »
Google
  • This was the worst experience we had on our vacation. They put way too many bears in a small enclosure. All species are mixed together unnaturally. They take the cubs away from the mothers at an early age which was SO depressing for us to learn. This is what their website says: Bear Country U.S.A. takes the babies from their mothers for three simple reasons: survival rate, manageability and marketability. ...By human-imprinting the animals shortly after birth (2 months) we are able to manage them as adults making vaccinating and moving them much easier and safer. Lastly, we have earned a strong reputation among zoos, wildlife parks and even movie studios for even-tempered, manageable animals.” If you love animals at all, stay far away from this place. Bears deserve to live out their lives peacefully and in a natural environment. Too many bears means this place needs to spay and neuter their animals. It's a money making operation and not one that puts animals first. When you see bears pacing and trying to escape, you know it is not a happy place. Those poor cubs, you can just see the fear and sadness in their eyes.
  • I really liked that there are two parts to the zoo: the driving and the walking. I loved driving through the exhibit and seeing the bears cross the roads and coming straight up to the cars! I went on a very busy day, so it took about 2 hours just to get through the driving area. I also enjoyed the walking area; there are many different animals! I also enjoyed the gift shop even though it was fairly expensive. It is worth the price you pay for the zoo!
  • We went at 9 am when it first opened, so the wolves were interested in our car when we drove up. They came right up to our car and even bit the drivers side door handle almost opening it so lock your doors. There were at least 50 bears there it was amazing to see them play with each other and they all seemed very happy which I think is important. There's also smaller animals like badgers raccoons and beavers, all very cute. This place was one of my favorite parts of our 2 week road trip. Definitely worth the money!
  • Overall a great experience, our 5 yr old had so much fun spotting the animals and then checking them off the map...and wildlife spotting is guaranteed. A lot of different animal species can be seen in the span of about an hour, and we had the added bonus of being front and center during feeding time in the bear/wolf area. That was a fun show! I would definitely recommend this stop.
  • If you're planning on going here, let me ask you this.... Is there a zoo in your home city? If so, then this is probably a waste (it was in my opinion...) Don't get me wrong, you get to see all kinds of cool animals, (i.e. Bear, Elk, Deer, Mountain Goats, etc.) however; ALL of the animals are very much IN captivity. When we went to this attraction, I had visions of this being more like a wild life preserve that one drove through, and would likely see various animals in the natural state / habitats. Upon arrival, and $37 later, it was essentially a drive through zoo. Mind you some of the areas you drive, a bear may cross the road on which you're driving, but that's about it. All of the animals are separated into fenced areas and you simply drive from fenced area to the next. To be honest, I was VERY disappointed.

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Where to stay in Rapid City

In Rapid City you'll find a variety of hotels and motels, but you can expect their rates to vary considerably depending on the season. Those located downtown provide easy walking access to some of the area's most popular restaurants and bars. Visitors wanting to explore the iconic Mount Rushmore or Custer State Park attractions may prefer the convenience of a hotel along Interstate 90. If you want a scenic escape, look for a bed and breakfast, campsite, or cabin in the surrounding Black Hills National Forest.
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