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“Take the kids to see wild black bears up close!”

Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary
Ranked #1 of 5 things to do in Orr
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Chicago, Illinois
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
“Take the kids to see wild black bears up close!”
Reviewed May 26, 2013

We had gone to this sanctuary many years ago, back when you parked your car and walked up to the small blind they had built for you to observe the bears from. There were no bathrooms so when our 4 little ones had to go, we got ready to leave. But a mama bear and her cubs had decided to sit and rest right near the parking lot, so the volunteer researchers said we'd have to wait a bit. Finally when the bears showed no signs of moving, they said we could leave 6 at a time. We all walked very quietly and carefully, so as not to spook the mama bear. My husband wanted to take a picture but feared the mama might not realize it was harmless. It was a magical experience that the kids really enjoyed.

Jump ahead about 10 years and we went back.. Now you park in the lot and a shuttle bus takes you up to a ramp that leads you up to the newer, larger blind. There is a gift shop and facilities up there now. But you still get to stand outside and watch the black bears interact with each other in a much more natural setting than a zoo. And they can leave anytime they want to. As the staff explained, to the bears this is a vacation for them, because they are fed regularly by the staff who put out berries and things for them on hollowed-out tree stumps. It's not as primitive as it used to be, but it's still really cool for the kids and helps you teach them about how important it is to preserve nature so that all of the critters living on our planet have room.

Visited July 2012
Thank FionaMcGier
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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94 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Quad City, IL/IA
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“The Best Bear Views”
Reviewed April 18, 2013

This is a must for a trip to nothern Minnesota. The bears are all free to come and go when they want. You watch them from a raised viewing deck great photo oppertunites for you and your family. We got to see some baby bears hiding up in the trees and even a little trouble making yearling wandering around the parking lot. Such a great experience!

Visited August 2012
1 Thank hethrlynn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kabetogama, Minnesota
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Bear Sanctuary”
Reviewed December 18, 2012

The BEST! See all the wild bear in their natural habitat and learn of their lives, natural surroundings and habitat. Cubs are the cutest!

Visited July 2012
1 Thank MoosehornResort
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Level 6 Contributor
111 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Entertaining, unique family activity”
Reviewed October 9, 2012

There are very few places like the VSWS. Bears walk around the grounds (humans are bused out to an elevated viewing platform) and are free to come and go for food. There are frequently cubs, yearlings, and adult bears. There is much information about bears. Our kids love to watch the bears eat and climb trees. You can easily spend an hour or so watching the bears and some other time to read the info, talk to the naturalists, and shop in the store.

Visited August 2012
Thank Andy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lonsdale, Minnesota
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Awesome experience”
Reviewed September 20, 2012

We have been able to visit the Sanctuary a few times now and have enjoyed every minute of it. We were
able to share it with our granddaughter this year....she didn't want to leave. We enjoy visiting at the end
of June when you are able to see all the baby bears. It is so enjoyable to see them up in the trees and the
positions they seem to get comfortable in. Make sure you bring your camera along. Totally safe environment to enjoy watching all the bears (and I mean alot) coming in to feed. It is well worth the modest fee you have to pay to get in.

Visited June 2012
Thank Nancy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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