Want to walk on the wild side in Michigan? Do you love animals, but you're tired of the same old zoos and animal enclosures? If this sounds like you, then you need to plan a visit to Oswald's Bear Ranch in the Upper Peninsula city of Newberry, MI. As the name implies, this ranch is home to many bear who roam free and live in their natural habitat. Visitors can experience black bears up close without the threat of danger. Since black bears usually avoid human interaction, this park is especially interesting as it gives people the opportunity to see a normally reclusive animal.
Oswald’s Bear Ranch is the largest bear-only ranch in the US. This bear rescue sanctuary is home to nearly 30 black bears that are living the good life. Created to mimic the Michigan black bear's natural habitat, the landscape allows the bears to climb trees, wrestle with each other, nap in the sun, and even play in a waterfall. You will not see any cages at this bear ranch. Who are the lucky bears who get to call the Oswald's Bear Ranch home? The ranch rescues bears who have been abused or abandoned and works to rehabilitate them.
While visiting the ranch, you can walk around the fenced-in perimeter of four large habitats. The safe viewing allows you to quietly watch the bears doing what they do best--be bears! You can watch them sleep, eat, play, explore, and possibly look back at you! There are elevated platforms located throughout the ranch so you will be able to get amazing photos of these beautiful creatures without anything blocking your view. In a few of the enclosures you can watch Dean and Jewel Oswald, the ranch owners, feed the bears, most of whom they bottle fed as cubs. Their bond with these bears is what makes their ranch such a success!
In addition to this being a truly awesome experience, it's also a great place for you and your kids to learn all about the black bears of Michigan. The handlers tell you about the bears as they join them in their enclosures. Each bear has a distinct personality, and the handlers know each one very well. You can watch the yearlings get their daily medications and gobble up delicious granola, veggies, and apples!
For an experience like no other, visit Oswald's Bear Ranch! Only 20 minutes south of Tahquamenon Falls, this is a great stop to make when visiting the UP! Check out their website
Have you been to the ranch? If so, tell us about your experience in the comments!