Before visiting Mount Rushmore, we decided to check out Bear Country USA in Rapid City. Its a 250 acre animal park where you can see bears, buffalo, wolves, reindeer, elk, mountain goats, and more. We were prepared for it to be a huge tourist trap – and it didn’t disappoint.
It was a whopping $16 per person and there was a long line of cars waiting to drive in. We decided to give it a whirl anyways, since both of us were eager to build up our collection of animal photography.
We felt like we were on a ride and Disneyland and expected to hear a voice saying “Keep your arms and legs inside your vehicle at all times, and keep the windows rolled up and doors closed” followed potentially by a “or you will be eaten.”
The first section of the 1 mile driving loop was game – elk and reindeer.
I love this shot of the reindeer – he has quite a snout!
The next section was wolves, which we didn’t actually until the bear section of Bear Country USA, when a wolf came right up to our car.
After the wolves we got a chance to see mountain goats. They were very human looking.
And some more bighorn sheep.
There was a log jam of cars around the mountain lion section, which you could hardly even see from the road. This was about the part of the park that made me uncomfortable – Bear Country USA had clearly not given them enough space to roam as they were caged in to a small area. We passed about 3 cars and continued on our way to the bears.
This guy had a major itch he was trying to get to the bottom of.
If I had an Indian name I would be this – Resting Bear. Looks comfortable, and warm.
We bypassed quickly the buffalo section since we had already gotten our fill in the actual wild. That said, we couldn’t resist a pic of this massive mound of bufaffo poop. It looked EXACTLY like the prairie pie cookie we bought in Chugwater.
Bye bye Bear Country USA.