Bearizona, a popular wildlife park devoted to providing homes for wild animals in need, broke ground today on an all-new 40,000-square-foot habitat called The Grizzly Encounter, to house the three orphaned grizzly cubs rescued by Bearizona in June. The nearly $1 million addition will offer a top-of-the-line grizzly bear habitat and multiple viewing experiences for guests upon completion in Spring 2021.

Since their arrival to Bearizona, the young siblings are in good health and are settling into their new home nicely. The have nearly doubled in size from 25-35 pounds to 55-65 pounds, thanks to a pristine diet of fish, ground beef, fruits and vegetables. Paying homage to their Montana roots, two of the cubs, Sky and Crockett, are named after Big Sky, Montana and the Montana-based wildlife conservation organization, Boone & Crockett Ranch. The third cub, Hanna, is named after Jack Hanna, the nationally renowned zookeeper who played a role in the bears’ rescue and rehoming to Bearizona. 

While Sky and Crockett mostly spend their days playing in the ponds, running laps or digging for bugs, ringleader Hanna keeps her siblings in line in between splashing around in the puddles herself. Anyone can see the playful bears throughout the day on Bearizona’s webcams.

“We’re extremely proud of the progress our three new grizzly bear cubs have made since coming to Bearizona, and their playfulness shows how well they have adjusted,” said Animal Director Dave O’Connell. “With state-of-the-art care, Bearizona is committed to investing in the best possible habitat for their continued growth, and will emphasize conservation education to all of our guests through The Grizzly Encounter experience. We are confident this new habitat will set the course for a long and happy life for Sky, Crockett and Hanna.”   

The new Grizzly Encounter will incorporate expansive grounds and multilevel spaces for the bears to enjoy and guests to experience featuring, a 200-foot by 24-foot cliff, two waterfalls, underwater viewing sections and a rock ridge from where people can look down, into the habitat, or up, into the grizzly ponds. Visitors will be able to safely view the bears due to the construction of moats, railings, and some glass paneling. Once complete, The Grizzly Encounter will be one of the largest and most impressive grizzly bear habitats in the United States.

Bearizona is a 158-acre facility accredited by the Zoological Association of America and is currently home to 39 black bears and many other species of North American wildlife. The drive- and walk-through park’s mission is to rescue wild animals in need of new homes and promote conservation by inviting visitors to view wildlife in spacious, natural environments. Since it was founded in 2010, Bearizona has fast-become a must-see attraction when visiting the Grand Canyon’s South Rim or driving through Northern Arizona. It was voted among the top three wildlife parks by the annual USA Today Readers’ Choice Awards twice in the past three years. 

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