Oswald's Bear Ranch – Newberry, Michigan - Atlas Obscura

Oswald's Bear Ranch

Newberry, Michigan

Two dozen rescued bears roam (mostly) free at the largest bear ranch in the U.S. 


Oswald’s Bear Ranch is the largest in the United States, with roughly two dozen rescued bears. They live in huge enclosed habitats that visitors can observe from viewing platforms. The cubs have their own smaller habitats, complete with a waterfall for them to play in.

Dean and Jewel Oswald opened the ranch to the public in 1997, though they had been taking in orphaned bear cubs for 13 years before that. Dean, a former firefighter, had previously been a bear hunter but decided he would “rather save them than hunt them” after his retirement. 

Though the ranch found itself in controversy when an attorney reported seeing visitors feeding Froot Loops to bears, which led to a complaint from Michigan’s Fish and Wildlife Department, forcing a brief closure. However, the Oswalds have repeatedly been commended on their safety provisions for both humans and animals alike on the ranch, where visitors can walk about and see bears much as they would be in the wild.

Know Before You Go

Admission is $20 per vehicle or $10 per individual, cash only. For a further fee, you can get your picture taken with one of Oswald's bear cubs.

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