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Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, Deadwood, and Sturgis all come to mind when one thinks of South Dakota.  Those are great places to visit and should be on every bikers list, but another place that is worthy of a visit when you are out riding in southwest South Dakota is Bear Country.
Bear Country is a drive through animal (primarily bear) park with 20 species of North American mammals.  While planning the trip I called and found out that Bear Country would provide a loaner car for those of us showing up on motorcycles.  Bear Country is about 8 miles south of Rapid City, SD on US 16.

 10 of us rode up on seven bikes to the front gate of Bear County at approximately 1:00 pm.  We were warmly greeted, but told that they were down to one car and it was out.  I explained that there were 10 of us and we all wanted to go at the same time.  The young lady made a phone call and reported back to us that the  owner would prepare the bus they have and use during the Sturgis Rally and he would take us at one time.  We would need to visit the walking portion of Bear Country first for about 45 minutes while he got the bus ready.  Normally one would drive through the park and then visit the gift shop and Babyland (zoo like exhibit with various animals, most young, but some adults.

We purchased our tickets and then rode up to the gift shop and Babyland.  There were two adult grizzly bears in one exhibit.  They were huge!  Very impressive,
There were exhibits with bobcats, raccoons, porcupine, baby bears, and other critters.  Babyland is not very big, but the exhibits are nice and it was enjoyable watching the baby bears chase each other and play.  The gift shop was big and had a large selection of items.
While in the gift shop we received a call informing us the owner was ready with the bus.  The bus was similar to ones at an airport, however; the glass in the side windows had been removed which made viewing the animals a lot better.  The owner was a wealth of information and he gave us an awesome tour.  He told us many stories about individual animals and how the animals are cared for.  Having him drive us made the experience exceptional.
The areas for the wildlife were separated by tall fences and cattle guards.  We saw reindeer, elk, artic wolf, Big Horn sheep, Rocky Mountain goat, buffalo, and of course bear along with other animals.  Here is a complete list of animals at Bear Country.
Elk were the first critters in the tour.
The owner actually stopped the bus and went over the small hill 
to herd the Bighorn sheep where we could see him.
Reindeer just like Santa uses!
The owner told us that the bear are feed 6 times a day near the road so that visitors can see them up close.  He explained the various personalities of some of the bears and how they handle any bears that become overly aggressive.
Feeding time.
Big boy!
There was even a rare young white buffalo in the herd.  The owner gave my son a small tuft of hair from the white buffalo.
American Bison with rare white buffalo.
You can't ride you bike in Bear Country, but it is worth ride to Bear Country.  We had a great time and my son really loved it.  It is worth the time to stop and visit.  I give Bear Country an A+


  1. Oz - I love your posts. They give me so many good ideas about places to go and things to see.
    Keep up the good work!

    Gary’s USA Tour

  2. Cool! We'll have to check it out next time we go to Sturgis.

  3. So glad to hear you had a great time at Bear Country! Thanks for visiting SD and passing along your experience with others.

    Office of Tourism