North American Bear Center

Located in Ely, Minnesota, the North American Bear Center promotes the education, research, and rehabilitation of bears. The North American Bear Center is closed from November through March. The North American Bear Center’s season starts on April 15, and is open from 10 am to 4 pm through the months of April and May, 9 am to 6 pm from late May to early September, and 10 am to 5 pm from late September to late October. Photo: hkuchera/Fotolia



Since the North American Bear Center was founded, the North American Bear Center has promoted the understanding of bears. Their efforts of educating the general public about bears has promoted the long-term survival of many popular bear species worldwide.

One of the biggest initiatives of the North American Bear Center is to show the general public that bears are not the demonized creatures that myths, legends, and stories have depicted them to be. Due to these exaggerated perceptions and stereotypes of bears, many bears have been poisoned, trapped, shot, and even eradicated.

Thus, the North American Bear Center actively works to debunk and discredit these misconceptions with facts that can be contributed to bears worldwide. In addition to creating a new and fair reputation for bears, the North American Bear Center works as a safe habitat where bears can prosper. Photo: per/Fotolia

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The bears that live in the North American Bear Center live in a 2.5 acre forest that has a wide variety of terrain and features, including numerous man-made dens and ponds.

Ted is a 19 year old black bear that was born in Wisconsin. He came to the North American Bear Center in 2007 after he was saved from captivity. Ted is known to make pleasant grunts and feast on red grapes. He can typically be seen resting on the front logs or swimming within the main pond.

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Lucky is a 9 year old bear that was born in Wisconsin. Although Lucky was born in the wild, a group of people took him from his mother when he was very young. Lucky bonded with the people who took him, but the people who took him could not properly care for him. Lucky’s caretakers wanted to release him to the wild, but the Department of Natural Resources stepped in and declared it would be unsafe for him. So, Lucky was transported to the North American Bear Center. He is known as the “comedian” of the North American Bear Center, and can often be seen climbing trees or playing along the branches and land.

Holly is the youngest black bear at the North American Bear Center. She was born in early 2013 in the wild of Arkansas. But, three months after Holly was born a fire caused her to be separated from her mother. A man found Holly and nourished her until September of that year. Arkansas wildlife officials stepped in and sent Holly to the Appalachian Bear Rescue with the intent to eventually release her back into the wild. But, at the end of the year, officials determined it would be in Holly’s best interest to remain under supervision and live in the North American Bear Center. Since then, Holly has enjoyed exploring the North American Bear Center. Holly can typically be seen climbing the large white pine tree or playing with Lucky.

Tasha was born in the mountains of southern Kentucky in 2015. She was found by a man who discovered her and her sibling attempting to nurse on their mother, who had passed away. The man successfully caught Tasha, but could not reach her sibling in time before she escaped. The man took good care of Tasha, and allowed her to travel across his 50 acres of land and play with his dog. Unfortunately, wildlife officials discovered the man did not have the proper permits to care for Tasha, so they took Tasha to the North American Bear Center. Tasha is extremely sweet and can typically be seen exploring with Holly or Ted. Photo: gnagel/Fotolia

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»Educational Opportunities

Educational Opportunities

Education is extremely important to the North American Bear Center. The North American Bear Center has a variety of educational opportunities that allow people of all ages to learn about the bears at the North American Bear Center, as well as bears in general. Visitors can enjoy special tours and classes at the North American Bear Center that give in-depth information in a fun and engaging way. The North American Bear Center also offers online lesson plans that can be used by anyone who wants to learn about bears.

Back to: Best Things to do in Minnesota Address: 1926 Highway 169, Ely, MN 55731, Phone: 866-365-7879 Photo: Viktor Gunter/Fotolia

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Things to Do in Minnesota: North American Bear Center in Ely

  • History, Photo: Courtesy of per -
  • Bears, Photo: Courtesy of gnagel -
  • Educational Opportunities, Photo: Courtesy of Viktor Gunter -
  • Cover Photo: Courtesy of hkuchera -