Oswald’s Bear Ranch is a must see attraction if you’re traveling through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. With 29 live, roaming black bears in 4 separate habitats this complex is the largest Bear Ranch in the United States.
The habitats are safely enclosed so there’s no need to worry about the bears escaping. You can take the steps up to the platforms for a barrier free view of the bears.
It’s $20 per car load or $10 if you’re flying solo. Since it costs by the car load this makes it a very affordable attraction for larger families.
This is a family owned and operated business. The owner as well as the owner’s son were on the premises at the time of our visit. I got a chance to speak with both of them and they are very friendly people and passionate about what they do and their mission. The love that they have for these animals is very apparent and certainly shows.
The bears seem to be tame and you can tell they’re very used to people. Workers were in the female habitat doing some landscaping while we were there. The bears were following after them while they worked looking for attention. It was a neat experience to watch these big ole bears crave human interaction.
For $10 you can pay to have your picture taken with a bear cub from the ranch. They use your own camera and you get about a minute with the cub. We didn’t really feel the need to do this as it was really busy and an extra expense but it seemed to be popular with the crowd.
I do recommend spending a bit extra to feed the bears some apples. It costs $3 per bag and you can purchase them near the front entrance by the gift shop. The bears smell the apples and will come right up to the fence. There was a couple of juveniles that were “begging” on their hind legs. I’ve never seen a bear that close let alone standing up. It was pretty cool.
The gift shop is superb. There was many options for cheap souvenirs ($5 and under) and we ended up taking some things home with us.
There’s plenty of picture taking opportunities so make sure you bring your camera!
Here’s a cute video we got of a bear scratching himself.
The Bear Ranch is open the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend through September 30th; 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. After Labor Day the hours are from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm.
Make sure you bring cash. No ATM’s are on the premises and they don’t take debit/credit cards. Active military members are admitted free of charge.
Oswald’s Bear Ranch:
13814 County Rd 407 (H-37)
Newberry, MI 49868