I can’t say enough about this place.
Located in the beautiful small town of West Yellowstone, Montana, the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center is an awesome not-for-profit wildlife and educational center that provides homes for bears and wolves unable to be in the wild–most having become accustomed to human food or orphaned as cubs.
They run educational programs year long. According to their website, their mission is: “to provide visitors to the Yellowstone area an opportunity to observe, learn, and appreciate grizzly bears and gray wolves.”
But the reason we visited was for their Keeper Kids program (I have to admit). This is where kids ages 5-12 (I was disappointed my 4 year old couldn’t do this) get to hide food for the bears. The bears are rotated in their outside enclosure in order to give them a break and so the guests get to see all of them. So in-between a rotation, the kids hide snacks (mainly fruit), which the bears find (assuming the twenty or so crows who have nothing better to do than steal the bear food don’t find it first).
My girls LOVED this. Randy, our guide for the day, did an introduction to bears beforehand and then took the kids back to hide the food.
Our favorite is 101. She’s the 101st bear who was tagged in Yellowstone over 30 years ago and lived in the wild until recently when she became accustomed to human food through human error. She adjusted slowly to being in captivity but Randy informed us she is doing much better.
While there, we got to see 101 and Spirit get into a tiff over the snacks (see photo below).
Randy told us they like to mix up the bears who socialize together as stimulation but there are definitely bears who do not get along. We didn’t get to find out which ones as he was distracted by other questions and we had a long day ahead of us in the park (which included our moose and grizzly sighting!).
They also have 2 wolf packs on the premises (these guys were sleeping while we were there but I did capture this picture while this guy got up to change positions!) and raptors.
Inside, they have a great “museum” with stuffed bears (most of which were killed illegally) and informative displays as well as a well-stocked gift shop.
I would definitely recommend this place. It is well worth the entrance fee and we will definitely go back if we are ever in the area. I like supporting causes and I find nothing better to spend my money on than animals who need help for whatever reason.
Other fun pictures from our day: