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Grizzly Bears Up Close
by April Henry

On our way out of Montana and after only about 15-20 minutes on the freeway we saw a billboard advertisement for the Montana Grizzly Encounter.  It was a rescue facility for domesticated grizzly bears.  (There is no such thing as a "domesticated bear", of course... but these are bears that would no longer survive in the wild because of their upbringing - hence, "rescue").  It was a fascinating experience and great learning/schooling opportunity as well for Christian and Ruth - a family field trip of sorts.

This 850 pound bear was named "Jake" and he was accompanied by "Maggie".  Maggie pretty much roamed and rooted around for any "treat" her caretaker had left behind.  But, Jake... He was a true bear character - frolicking and appearing as if he were a giant teddy bear!  It was like watching a Disney movie 20 feet away.  There was a well-built safety barrier, but Jake still seemed so very, very close!  I had to keep reminding myself (and the kids), "he could actually kill you in the wild".  The caretaker had poured some honey inside a log and Jake crawled up on that log, pawed at it, reached in with his snout and licked as far as he could to lap it all up.  It was adorable!


If you ever get a chance to stop, near Bozeman, Montana, we highly recommend it.  It was better than seeing any bear at a zoo, that's for sure!

Do you have any other road trip suggestions for us?  We're heading to Columbus, Ohio this Wednesday so let us know if there are any quick and fun places for us to see (coming from Missouri)!