Recently I was able to enjoy a tour of the infamous Bear County USA located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Opened in the 70’s it started out as a small park by a man and his wife to 1 black bear, one cougar, one wolf, three buffalo and one large bull elk and has expanded to what it is today.
After paying admission at the gate and hearing the warning to “keep your windows up at all times”, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The park is one you drive through, at your leisure, or take the tour bus offered. If you’re interested in taking pictures, I suggest either having someone drive for you or taking the tour bus so you’re free to photograph as much as you want.
The animals seemed to be well fed, taken care of, and generally “at home”. However, I cannot help but feel a bit saddened by the fact that there are still fences, etc. that keep them confined….even if the areas look wide open to us. I even had the nagging feeling of a Jurassic Park feel to it as we followed the paved pathway around the park.
Regardless, I was greeted to some of the most beautiful animals I have seen in a long time. There were many bears there, but there were also other animals basking in the warm sun or enjoying shade in the nearby wooded areas.
This bear reminded me of how I feel about going to work after having a day or two off. He inspired me to make a collage for the week. You can check it out at the end of this blog.
At the end of the tour, you come to a gift shop, but I did not see anything there I could not live without or that could not be found on any number of online sites. However, there also is the baby section of the park which boasts even more animals to capture your heart.
So, if you’re in the area and have a couple of hours to kill…go visit the animals. Try to keep your windows up at all times. I failed miserably at that rule.