One of the perks of working for KOA campgrounds is that often we are given free tickets to check out local attractions. This helps us to better recommend these attractions to our campers. That being said, we decided to take advantage of this perk and visited two animal parks within a few miles of the campground.
Bearizona Drive-Thru Wildlife Park
Bearizona was our first stop. Located in the town of Williams, approximately three miles from the campground, It is a must see for children and animal lovers alike.
Bearizona does not want to be known strictly as a zoo. It is a drive-through wildlife park where visitors can get up close and personal with some amazingly beautiful and wild animals.
Yep, up close and personal with wild bears!
For a $20 admission for adults and $10 for children, you can actually drive your own vehicle along a three mile gravel road to see bears, wolves, buffalo, deer, elk and other wild animals right up next to your car!
The question we get asked the most is do you really see lots of bears there? Up close and in your face?
There are many, many bears there. In fact, the park asks that as you drive through the bear exhibit, you do not stop your car.
You see, the bears love to climb and have been known to not only climb on top of vehicles, but take their own little souvenirs too. Like maybe your license plate, side mirror or bumper.
Fortunately for those of us that kinda like our cars, they also offer a free shuttle into the drive through area. You can drive through in your own car, take the shuttle, or even do both!
The nice thing about the shuttle is that you have a very informed driver who talks about the animals, gives you their names as she sees them and tells you background stories on them.
Along with the drive through section is Fort Bearizona, where bear cubs, river otters, foxes, pigs, goats, and other animals are on display in man-made habitats.
Fort Bearizona has a great set-up where the animals are easily seen, but we aren’t a bother to them. They are happy to bask in the sun nearby and allow beautiful photos.
If the premise of Bearizona sounds familiar, it is because it is owned and run by the sons of the owners of Bear Country in the Black Hills of North Dakota.