Oswalds Bear Ranch – Newberry MI

Oswalds Bear Ranch – Newberry MI

I really enjoyed our vacation to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The attractions pretty much equaled our time there. We didn’t sit around bored, but we didn’t have to do tourist triage on the things we wanted to see, either. It was a perfect fit.

One of the things we saw on the UP was Oswald’s Bear Ranch. I am fairly certain that it was the Oswalds who brought some of their bears to the Delaware State Fair one year. I remember being astonished as I watched the man playing with the bears. All parties involved were having a blast, and no one was getting hurt.

So when I read about the bear ranch in Newberry, I put it on our list of things to do. Oswald’s is the largest (bear only) Bear Ranch in the entire United States of America. They have 29 bears in 4 habitats, and most bears are rescue cases. Apparently people adopt bear cubs and then realize as the cubs grow into full sized bears that they cannot care for them. Shocking, I know.

The Oswalds take the bears in and give them a place where they can safely live among other bears, since in most cases they have never lived in the wild before.

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The bears are pretty friendly, although not overly so. It was possible to get close enough to take some photos, but they weren’t curious enough about us to come closer.

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The big highlight was when we got to feed and pet a baby bear cub. Here’s a shot of my daughter feeding him a snack (a mixture of Froot Loops and Puppy Chow).

feeding cub

How cool is that? It was a little disappointing, however, to discover that bears are not as soft and squishy as their stuffed animal counterparts. Baby Bear’s fur was actually kind of coarse and as for squishiness… well, I didn’t test that.  😉

Kids will love the opportunity to see these majestic animals up close and to learn more about them. This is a very family friendly attraction and I recommend that you check it out if you’re on the UP of Michigan!

Oswald’s Bear Ranch is located at 13814 County Rd 407 (H-37), Newberry, MI 49868. Telephone 906-293-3147. Open the Friday of Memorial Day Weekend through Sept. 30th each year. Hours are 9:30 am to 5:00 pm thru Labor Day. After Labor Day, the hours are from 9:30 am – 4:00 pm.  

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