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Big Bear Wildlife

Big Bear Alpine Zoo

Big Bear Alpine Zoo is the “go to” facility for injured and imprinted animals. Their rehabilitation facility offers injured, orphaned and imprinted wildlife a safe haven, either temporarily while they heal, or permanently if they are unable to survive on their own. One of only two alpine zoos in the United States, a majority of the Zoo's residents are from the San Bernardino Mountains.

Grizzlies at the Zoo

Fast Facts:

  • 90% of the animals brought to the Zoo for rehabilitation are successfully released back into their native environment.
  • Animals that remain at the Zoo are either too injured or have been imprinted by humans and cannot be released back into the wild to care for themselves.
  • In 1959, a forest fire engulfed the San Bernardino National Forest injuring many animals that then required care. A makeshift hospital/rehabilitation facility was set up on land where the Zoo currently resides.
  • An orphaned 30 pound baby black bear and two bobcats were the first residents of the future Zoo.
  • In 1976, peacocks, chickens, ducks and turkeys would wander grounds freely!
  • The first bald eagle, Stumpy, who lost his leg in a wolf trap, arrived at the zoo in 1986 courtesy of Alaska Airlines. The eagle, scheduled to be euthanized, was saved by a Big Bear resident who worked for the Wrangle Ranger District in Alaska.
  • Friends of the Moonridge Zoo was established in 1989 as a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. Their mission was to support the Zoo by inspiring understanding, respect, and environmentally responsible action for the conservation of wildlife and habitat through public education, volunteer support, fundraising, development, and financial support.
  • In 2008, a raise on admission price allows the Zoo to raise staff salaries, and hire registered veterinarian technicians and experienced keepers.
  • Construction of the new Zoo begins in 2017 on 5.5 of 10.5 acres slated for development.
A bobcat at the Zoo

Lead by Curator, Bob Cisneros, the Zoo plans to keep evolving their care for their residents - most notably through the building of a new 10.5 acre facility and through evidence based animal management and research.

A stroll through the zoo’s grounds makes for a perfect afternoon outing with family or friends. Both guided and self-guided tours are available and provide a look into mountain wildlife and the delicate ecosystem that sustains them. Every day at noon, animal keepers give an "Animal of the Day" presentation where visitors can learn about the animal’s history, where they come from, what they eat, and how they live in the wild. Behavioral Enrichment presentations throughout the day also allow onlookers to witness how animal keepers encourage the animals' natural behaviors which improves their welfare.

The Big Bear Alpine Zoo is located at 43285 Goldmine Drive, just across the street from Bear Mountain Ski Resort.

Petting Zoos

Two girls at a petting zoo

Get up close and personal with animals throughout the Valley Baldwin Lake Stables and Bear Valley Farms both feature a petting zoo for kids and families with goats, pigs, rabbits, alpacas, and more!

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