Bear Country USA in South Dakota

I recently visited Bear Country USA while on a trip to the South Dakota Black Hills. We had a little time left after visiting Mount Rushmore and other area attractions that day, so decided to stop at Bear Country USA on our way to our hotel in Rapid City.

Bear Country USA is a three mile drive-thru wildlife park located along Highway 16. The main attractions are the bears (of course) and Babyland, an area where visitors can walk around an enclosure where baby animals are kept. Babyland features baby bears, foxes, and pronghorns as well as small animals like raccoons and otters. There are bison, mountain lions, mountain goats, elk, pronghorns, wolves, and other animals in the drive-thru section of the park that covers over 200 acres.

A fox pup at Babyland at Bear Country USA

A fox pup at Babyland

Bear cubs playing at Bear Country USA

Bear cubs playing in Babyland

An elk at South Dakota's Bear Country USA

An elk at South Dakota’s Bear Country USA

Big Horn Sheep at Bear Country USA

Big Horn Sheep in South Dakota’s drive-thru wildlife park

A black bear in Bear Country USA

A black bear in Bear Country USA

My thoughts on Bear Country USA

While I enjoyed seeing the animals up-close at Bear Country USA, I always prefer to see wildlife in the wild. I try to always practice responsible tourism and found myself wondering if this park was a good environment for the animals. I am far from an animal expert, but some things seemed a little off to me. bears were feeding on a pile of what looked to be old sub rolls, arctic wolves were kept in a small enclosure with no shade (it was sunny and 90 degrees), and I’m not sure how ethical it is to take baby animals away from their parents to be put in a small separate area.

Have you been to Bear Country USA? What are your thoughts about it?

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