North American Bear Center

The North American Bear Center is the only black bear and wildlife educational facility of its kind. Dedicated to replacing old myths with facts, it lets people learn from the bears themselves about bear behavior, ecology, and their relations with humans.

Great things await you! 

Our new Northwoods Ecology Hall features the many animals that black bears encounter in Northwoods habitats. Exhibits include a 660-gallon aquarium, terrariums with local reptiles and amphibians, full-sized moose, deer, wolf, and caribou mounts, 40-foot Four-Season Habitat, and touchscreen monitors make it easy for you to learn about all of these animals. 

Watch over 70 exclusive video exhibits detailing wild bear behavior—mating, cub care, foraging, play, den-building, fighting, vocalizations, body language filmed by local researchers walking with and filming wild bears near Ely.

The Cub Room beckons kids of all ages to explore the world of black bears with interactive educational displays or crawl inside our man-made den and act like a bear.

Observe our four ambassador black bears in their 2.5 acre naturally forested enclosure as they play, forage, swim, scent-mark, vocalize, climb trees, hibernate, and swim in their pond complete with waterfalls. The bears can be viewed from the inside viewing windows or the outdoor viewing balcony.

Don’t miss our enrichment feeding programs and free behind-the-scene tours that are offered throughout the day. 

Finally, relax in our wide-screen theater room, take a self-guided walk on our quarter-mile interpretive nature trails, and be sure to shop our Bear Necessities Gift Shop.

Photos in part by Jim Stroner -

Ely, Minnesota
United States