Oswald's Bear Ranch
Oswald's Bear Ranch
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Address
Highway H-37, Newberry, MI 49868
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  • fshawjr
    Jackson, Michigan113 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great place to see. A must see. it was worth the money.
    This place is amazing. We took the girl scout troop here. When I was told about this place I was like ok bears in cages. BUT when we got there and paid the $25.00 per car. We was surprised how big this place was. The employees was awesome. they have the bears separated by females males cubs and yearlings. The area where the bears was located was huge. The girls ages 12 and 13 was happy that we came. WE will definitely be back. Thank you for all your wonderful help with saving the bears.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 1, 2023
  • Tweet150
    44 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fun for a bear lover
    We saw a flyer for this at our hotel and decided to make the trip up. It's deep in the woods with 0 wifi so make sure you have directions downloaded before you get there. $25 for the family/car to get in. They have separate areas for males, females, yearlings, and cubs. They all appear to be well cared for. One of the yearlings couldn't use his back right leg. Not sure what was wrong with him, but it's a refuge so he may have come with a problem. The males weren't too interested in people. The juveniles were food motivated and playful. The females were also food motivated & some of them were doing tricks to get apples from the spectators. Almost like they were/are circus bears. Sitting up on their bums, front paws up, one sort of waved even. The cubs were fun to watch. You can pay $10 to get your picture taken with a cub (They use your phone/camera to take it). They get people in and put really quick & they change out the cubs as soon as they see the cub starting to lose interest. The gift shop has everything you could imagine. If you're in the area and like bears it's a good stop. They have some educational signs throughout so you can learn more about bears in general.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 9, 2023
  • traveler59
    Florida183 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Enjoyable experience
    We took our nine year old grandson on a trip for his birthday. This was definitely the highlight of the trip. He loved feeding the cub ice cream - said it was the best way to start the day. $25 for the carload to get in, $10 for the photo with the cub, $4 for the bag of apples to feed the bears. Interesting facts posted and the environs were humane and the animals were well cared for. The gift shop was nice. The bears are all rescues so the cubs were separated from their birth mothers not by the ranch but by other circumstances. They don't breed their adults. The biggest black bear ever in MI was there. Very educational and highly recommend.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 10, 2023
  • heepwh
    Springfield, Illinois31 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Awesome
    We loved Oswold's Bear Ranch. It is family owned. Entry for active military is free! You purchase bags of apples to feed to the bears. All of the bears are rescues. The habits are adequate and safe to house the animals. We liked the one year olds the best!
    Visited July 2023
    Written August 5, 2023
  • daischop
    Chattanooga, Tennessee208 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    If you like bears, go here
    Oswald Bear Ranch was one a place on our "must visit" locations in Michigan. We planned a day and included Oswald's Bear Ranch within it. As with most place in the UP of Michigan, it takes a bit of a journey to get there. But the scenery was interesting and there was almost always something to look at it. As we got closer, the less cell phone connection I received, to the point there was none. Fortunately the GPS was still working and great signage lead to directly to the Bear Ranch. Friendly fellow greets you before going completely into the bear ranch, where you pay him and he directs you where to park. From there, you are on your own. You can buy a bag of apples to throw to the bears, an area where you can take a picture with the baby bears. The cubs were quite cute and had quite a noisy racket going as they sought new places to hide. There are several cages, well fenced along with electric wiring so at no point did you feel in danger. Plenty of walking available, although we chose the yearlings, the males and some of the females to walk around. It was a game of find the bear. All the bears look to be well taken care of and I like to think that my entrance fee into the park helped to pay for the bears and their upkeep, including the pay for the workers. There is a great gift shop on site. All in all, it was a great trip and thankful that we took the time to visit the bears.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 22, 2023
  • SteveSly
    50 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Must Experience If In The Newberry Area
    I will be honest. We stopped at Oswald’s Bear Ranch because my wife wanted to check it out. I was not as enthusiastic, but boy was I glad we did. This place is amazing. Oswald and his family have taken in rescue bears from all over the country and given them a home on this sprawling property. Unlike a zoo environment, these bears have huge areas to live. We enjoyed the experience immensely. For me this would be a must stop if in the Newberry area.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 11, 2023
  • Mark S
    World8 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Must Stop
    Bears are fascinating critters, scary yet loveable. Oswald's Bear Ranch is a place to get pretty close to the action and learn a ton about these lumbering yet surprisingly quick animals. Something important to keep in mind. These animals are not being abused. They are kept in large, naturally arranged enclosures with ample food and care. Since breeding bears is illegal in MI, the ranch takes only cubs that would otherwise be destroyed. They allow them to mature and move to other spacious enclosures to continue to thrive. The facility has a ton of 'bear' facts to help you understand more about these amazing creatures. If you are anywhere in northern Michigan, you need to go. The price is reasonable and the mission is helpful, not harmful. The gift shop, by the way, has the largest single collection of branded items I have ever seen.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 14, 2023
  • Douglas H
    Michigan379 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great every time
    Not the first time and won't be the last. Dean has run this farm first class since 97. People think they can go to the UP and see bears running everywhere. We did see 1 outside of the Soo. BUT, If you want to see bears. Go here!!
    Visited May 2024
    Traveled with family
    Written June 3, 2024
  • brandasa
    Centerville, Ohio1,340 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Surprisingly good!
    I wasn't sold on visiting here but my sister wanted to. I didn't love the idea of the cub photos - but found the entire park to very bear friendly. They are certainly well cared for. You MUST get a bag of apples. We walked around the entire enclosures and enjoyed our visit immensely.
    Visited June 2024
    Traveled with family
    Written June 9, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles790 reviews
Excellent
441
Very good
205
Average
79
Poor
29
Terrible
36

Trish W
McMurray, PA1,060 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2020 • Couples
There were only two of us and it was a miserably rainy day but they still charged $20. The ranch is nicely spread out but the walkways were full of big puddles so it was not worth getting drenched to try to spot the bears. The yearlings were active and amusing but don’t have any trees for shade. The 3 cubs at the entry are given a splash of honey water to pacify them while people paid to have their picture taken on their own cameras with a bear. I think children enjoy this activity. You can feed the bears apples which they sell you there. You can probably bring your own but they wouldn’t like that. Even on this miserable day, the parking lot was full of takers. The bears do seem to be well-cared for.
Written September 12, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Timothy A
Saint Peters, MO178 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021
What a cool, quirky place!!! Almost Tiger King feel, but you can tell the bears are well taken care of here from what we saw. Lots of room to roam and looked very healthy!!! We were able to feed the bears a bag of apples which was really cool. We only made it to see the females and then get a picture with the bear cub before bad weather set in. We were only there about 30 minutes before a terrible storm set in and rushed us all inside. We had gotten in line for our bear cub picture and it started to thunder. The workers were rushing to try and get the photos taken of the people in front of us before the bear got anxious. As the rain started the bear became more restless, but I think he wanted to play in the rain. We were in the photo area all of about 15 seconds, but we did get the photo. Everyone we dealt with there was very friendly and polite. Wish we would have had more time to explore and see the males before we left, it just got too muddy then. I would definitely stop back by if in the area!!!!
Written July 22, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

psutuckers
Clinton Township, MI4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2020 • Couples
Had a great time at the Bear Farm! After reading mixed reviews, I was slightly skeptical about visiting, but so glad we did visit. The bears are well taken care of and have plenty of room to roam, eat apples, pose for pictures, and entertain us humans. Although it is advertised that there are around 40 bears on the farm, we didn't see that many, but we still enjoyed the experience. Waited about 10 minutes in line to feed one bear cub. It was very quick. The guys working that detail rush you through in and out. Only took 3 pictures with our cell phone. However, how often can you experience touching a live bear? They dip a stick into honey and put some in front of the cub to distract it while taking your picture.

The yearlings were fun to watch. My favorite part was watching the females eat the apples. They have a way of putting the apple just right on the top part of their paw before diving into the apple to eat it. Very fun to watch. They all seem to know that humans = apples = yummy treat time! Big spread out area to walk around. Little but reasonable gift shop. Spent about one hour here. Would highly recommend! Thank you Oswalds for a great experience!
🐻🐻🐻🐻
Written September 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Astromisses
Grand Rapids, MI1 contribution
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2021 • Family
Not what my family expected. We saw two staff members, who like many others have said… could be straight out of Tiger King, open up both gates to the male enclosure, and then undo the electric fence wiring and leave the gate wide open while they took their time talking and messing around before getting on a quad to enter. Honestly, I wish I had caught this on video to report it because this behavior could kill someone someday, but unfortunately I didn’t get a video because I got away from the enclosure as quickly as possible once I saw there was nothing between my family and a very large male bear. The entire rest of the experience left us all feeling very uneasy. The staff doing pictures with the cubs was very rude. We didn’t get a picture after watching how the patrons and cubs were both treated. They take the pictures on your cell phone very quickly… people wouldn’t even be looking at the camera and the man moved so fast some pictures would clearly be blurry and people were disappointed. He yelled at everyone that if they didn’t follow the rules while doing their pictures, that they would be kicked out. There was a dog tied up on the property too, he looked as sad as some of the bears aimlessly pacing by the fence of their enclosure. Cubs are in an enclosure with a cement ground, & it makes you wonder how do they always have cubs available for photo ops? Is it truly a rescue or a money making scheme? We didn’t purchase anything else from there and will not be back. It felt the bear version of Tiger King. It was sad.
Written July 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Seven A
24 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2019
Oswald's is not exactly on your way anywhere (unless you are driving to or from Lake Superior) but it's worth the drive! There are bears, bears, bears and more bears everywhere! Buy the bag of apples to throw them over the fence to feed the bears. You won't get this kind of chance from any city zoos that's for sure. You won't need to budget your entire day to visit. You can see all the bears, pose for your picture with a baby bear cub, feed the bears, and visit the gift shop in about 2+ hours. Small children will never forget the experience.
Written February 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

lamalfi
Roseville, MI33 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2020
Lots of walking and plenty of bears to see. Bags of apples are a little overpriced but the bears do love to eat them. Tip: the cub picture is $10 for a group or individual picture and they use YOUR camera. It is not a professional photo, but they do take plenty to choose from in case you aren't smiling in one, there will be one with a smile! Very warm outside the day I went and there is plenty of walking if you want to see all the bears....just be sure to have water with you!
Written July 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Brian R
Oswego, IL554 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2022 • Couples
A nice Bear sanctuary in the UP of Michigan. It a walking tour around Extra large fenced in natural areas for the Bears to roam. They separate the residents into 4 groups, males, Females, yearlings and cubs. $25 per car to enter with discounts for active military. $4 will get you a bag of apples to feed the Bears. Most will sit for you to toss through the fence.
What im still not settled with is you can get a picture with a Cub for $10. They spread a peanut butter, berry yogurt mixture on a long stump and as the Cub laps it up they hand you the spoon for him to lick and snap a picture on your phone. Hummm still a wild animal your in with. All in all I think they do good for the rescues.
There is also a gift shop on site. Picnic tables, vending machines.
Written August 9, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Robert R
Grand Rapids, MI119 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2020 • Couples
Saw the sign and reviews on TA and went there, as we were in Newberry for the night. It is a family run operation where the bears are separated, Males in one area, Females in another and cubs in a third. You have to walk around the area to observe the bears so, the terrain can be strenuous as you go up and down and in total walk about a mile or so. Feeding the bears, do not the cubs, is fun as you buy a bag apples for $3 and then toss the slices inside for the bears to eat. You can op for a picture to be taken on your camera with a cub for $10. They take about 5 pictures, I enjoyed it. The bears have a ton of room to wander, hence the long walk around the site and you have to be on the lookout to see some of them.
Written September 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Tweet150
44 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Family
We saw a flyer for this at our hotel and decided to make the trip up. It's deep in the woods with 0 wifi so make sure you have directions downloaded before you get there.

$25 for the family/car to get in. They have separate areas for males, females, yearlings, and cubs. They all appear to be well cared for. One of the yearlings couldn't use his back right leg. Not sure what was wrong with him, but it's a refuge so he may have come with a problem. The males weren't too interested in people. The juveniles were food motivated and playful. The females were also food motivated & some of them were doing tricks to get apples from the spectators. Almost like they were/are circus bears. Sitting up on their bums, front paws up, one sort of waved even.
The cubs were fun to watch. You can pay $10 to get your picture taken with a cub (They use your phone/camera to take it). They get people in and put really quick & they change out the cubs as soon as they see the cub starting to lose interest.

The gift shop has everything you could imagine.

If you're in the area and like bears it's a good stop. They have some educational signs throughout so you can learn more about bears in general.
Written July 9, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Douglas H
Michigan379 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2020
Again people, they use the funds they collect to feed and take care the bears. This is a ranch that takes in cubs that their parents were killed or died in the winter. Yes, it's $20/ carload and $10 if you want a picture. Now that being said. It's a place that my autistic son loves coming up to EVERY year, Loves having his picture with the cubs- So for $30, it's worth it.
Written August 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Oswald's Bear Ranch - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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