The Biggest Bear Ranch in the Country is in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
No lions and tigers here, but there are plenty of bears.
Usually, when you go up north, coming into contact with a bear is NOT a good thing and highly discouraged. However, if you want to safely interact with a bear in a controlled environment, you can do that right here in the mitten state.
Oswald's Bear Ranch is a 240-acre habitat in Newberry, just about 20 minutes south of Tahquamenon Falls in the upper peninsula. It's a family-owned business that's been around since 1997; they've rescued bears (usually cubs who have lost their mother) from all over the United States in their 23 years in business.
Dean Oswald, one of the owners, told MLive, "We have 38 bears here right now. Every bear is a rescue. Last year we took in five. Three came from Wisconsin and two came from Wyoming from the Bridger-Teton National Forest where the mother was euthanized for being aggressive towards people.”
It's illegal to breed bears in Michigan, so the males and females are separated into different habitats.
“They have a lot of room to roam. There’s no cages in the habitats. The only cages we have are for the cubs, who eventually go into a habitat when they’re ready. The bears even hibernate in the winter. We built houses for them years ago, but they just dig underneath them. They do their own thing.”
It's $20 per car, regardless of how many people are in it. You can feed the bears apples that can be purchased for $3 per bag at the ranch. And yes, the bears will sit up and beg for them and it's adorable.