Bears Up Close!

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Oct 222016

Note: This story first appeared in the July-August, 2011 edition of the Gypsy Journal.

If you have ever wanted to see bears up close and personal, make your way to Williams, Arizona, and spend some time at Bearizona Wildlife Park, one of the best attractions in a region that offers everything from historic Route 66 to a train ride to the magnificent Grand Canyon!


Bearizona features a winding three mile drive through a Ponderosa pine forest, where you will find an exciting variety of wildlife in a natural setting, including black bear, wolves, buffalo, Dall and bighorn sheep, in a natural environment, all from the comfort and safety of your own vehicle. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a rare white buffalo!


This is a self-paced tour, so feel free to pull over anywhere to admire the wildlife and take as many photos as you like. Just be sure to keep your windows rolled up for safety – the animals at Bearizona may look cute and cuddly, but remember, they are still wild!

How close do you get to the animals while on the driving tour? At one point a black bear walked up to the truck, and we could have almost reached out and touched it! We were glad we obeyed the rules about keeping our windows up!


At the end of the driving tour, there is a walk through exhibit, called Fort Bearizona, with winding paths where we could walk while we watched bear cubs playing, saw bobcats, javelina, and foxes, and visited with the animals in the petting zoo. Be sure your camera batteries are charged up, because you’ll be taking lots of pictures!


Fort Bearizona also has a concession area with umbrella tables, and a gift shop where you can purchase souvenirs of your visit.

Allow at least one hour for the entire Bearizona adventure, which includes both the drive through and Fort Bearizona walk through portions, and that’s if you hurry. But why hurry? There is so much to see at Bearizona, that you could easily spend two or three hours. You are welcome to stay until the park closes at dusk, and drive through as many times as you want to.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABearizona’s mission is to promote conservation and preservation through safe, affordable, and memorable encounters with North American wildlife in a natural environment. The facility’s professional staff and local veterinarians work together to insure the animals are provided a safe and healthy environment.

Bearizona is open every day from March to December 31st, weather permitting. The first visitors are welcomed at 8 a.m., and closing times change, based on daylight hours. Visitors can tour the park with domestic pets in their vehicle, with the windows up. Non-domestic pets are not allowed on the premises.

Admission to Bearizona is $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, $10 for children ages 4 to 12, and children 3 and under are free. For more information on Bearizona, call (928) 635-2289, or visit their website at

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Nick Russell

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