North American Bear Center

Rating: 4.68 stars   120 reviews

Issues: Animals, Arts & Culture

Location: P.O. Box 161 Ely MN 55731 USA

Mission: The Need for the Bear Center: Bears have been unfairly demonized worldwide in folklore, print, movies, and taxidermy. Generations have been raised to fear them or perceive them as economic risks. All 8 bear species are now listed as vulnerable, threatened, or endangered in parts or all of their ranges. Black bears, the most numerous species, are listed as threatened or endangered in 5 states but are expanding in the Upper Midwest and northeastern United States. There is a worldwide need to replace myths with facts, teach practical methods for minimizing conflicts, preserve habitat, and stop poaching for body parts. The need for accurate information becomes ever more urgent as more and more people move into bear habitat.
Target demographics: Bears world-wide
Geographic areas served: Ely, MN and all around the globe
Programs: The North American Bear Center is the only Science/Nature museum of its kind. Dedicated to replacing old myths with facts, it lets people learn from the bears themselves about bear behavior, ecology, and their relations with humans. In addition to our onsite Learning Center, you can view our three Ambassador Bears, play in our Cub Room, watch films in our Theater and walk along our Interpretive Trail. From the comfort of your home, you can watch two live video feeds of our bear viewing area and learn and participate on Lily the Black Bear's Facebook page. In addition, our Educational Outreach Program supplies comprehensive bear / nature curriculums and materials for K - 12th grade teachers across the country.
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

Absolutely wonderful place to visit if you want to learn more about bears, their habitat and behaviors. Also a lot of information regarding other wildlife who share the Northwoods. I have been to the NABC at least 4 times and never get tired of learning....you can't help but learn when you go there! the videos are the best.....to see actual bear behavior in the wild is priceless. And I will DEFINTELY be going back....there's always more to learn!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

There's nothing I would change....obviously the NABC is run by incredibly knowledgeable people who are the best at what they do!

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

I have made the North American Bear Center a destination vacation for three years. The opportunity to see the ambassador bears in a setting that mimics the wild habitat as much as possible for animals in captivity, has been awe-inspiring. Learning about wild bear behavior has made me better equipped to co-exist with the animals in my rural home. You can't help but become engaged by the bears and can't help but learn something in the highly entertaining yet education-centric environment. And the web-cams make it possible to "return" to the NABC any time I want.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I don't know of anything I would change ~ it's a well run organization with people standing in line to volunteer!

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Kindle your relationship with Nature and the beauty of Minnesota's Northwoods, with a visit to the North American Bear Center. Young & old alike are enthralled by the beauty of the exhibits and education about the region and its flora and fauna is achieved, almost by osmosis! I have spend several days there, and haven't absorbed everything yet. So, I'll be going back as often as I can to see the live bears & the facts about wild animals including bears and how we humans can be better neighbors to them.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

change nothing.

Was your donation impactful?

Unlikely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

18 people found this review helpful

I have had the distinct privilege of visiting the NABC, meeting the staff, volunteers, Dr. Rogers and Sue Mansfield, and meeting THE BEARS. If you have not afforded yourself that opportunity, please put it on your bucket list! The Black Bear has been vilified erroneously for generations but if you open your minds and hearts, you will learn truth from fiction. One of the most docile of creatures whose life is spent in search of food, preferably wild, natural food, the black bear is more apt to be afraid of humans than to approach them. These huge creatures, weighing as much as 700 pounds in the wild, are gentle enough to handle a new born the size of a stick of butter without inflicting any harm. The work of Dr. Rogers and Sue Mansfield, research conducted under the auspices of the Wildlife Research Institute, is awesome to say the least, and groundbreaking. The three bears who live at the NABC are no longer "wild", but were rescued by Dr. Rogers; 2 were "pets" until they became too large for their captors. The NABC environment is as close to wild as could be... and the bears are ambassadors for their wild North American counterparts and other similar bear species world wide. I cannot say enough about the awesome experience of getting to see the bears up close, and getting to meet the folks who have made Mother Earth and the Black Bear their life's work.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been to the North American Bear Center numerous times. I HIGHLY recommend it to everyone, including families with children. If anyone wants to hear the truth about black bears, this is the place to go. There are many display's and articles about black bears. There are also 4 resident black bears that live there that cannot be released back into the wild for numerous reasons. Please give yourself at least 2 hours to see everything. I assure you, you will not be disappointed.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

Wonderful place to learn the truth about black bears.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have visited the NABC the past five years, and hope to continue every year ~ it is such a grand place to learn, meet wonderful people who work there, see the resident bears, and just walk around watching videos and looking at pictures. They have a fantastic enrichment program and the staff are incredibly dedicated and helpful. There is so much to learn from visiting the center, you will want to come back for more. The Hope Learning Center is coming along nicely and it, too, will have vital information about the true nature of black bears and their lives. It's a magical experience...

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

The North American Bear Center in Ely Minnesota has become one of my most favorite places to go every year. The Center is packed with information from videos to books to pictures - and the three bears that reside there are visible from outside viewing to a huge window inside the Center. There are daily gatherings, teachings, exhibits and more ~ a children's section and new Hope Learning Center soon to open. One could spend a day there and not see it all! The gift shop has something for everybody - at great prices. It has provided thousands of visitors a chance to truly understand the Black Bear and how to co-exist with them. The staff at the NABC consists of loyal, hardworking and knowledgeable employees and volunteers who make it their mission to give each and every visitor a warm welcome and a reason to return. There is something for everyone - regardless of age - to learn and to remember with fondness. It is a magical experience, for sure.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I have learned more about black bears and how they live from the North American Bear Center. Dr. Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield, biologists, have gained the trust of the research bears and never use tranquilizers to collar them or check their heart rates. They are humane and dedicated researchers who have spent countless hours making this educational process what it is today. They are about what is best for the bears, and how to spread the word about these wonderful creatures. I admire and respect their work and their humanity, and will forever be indebted to them for what I have learned.
Kerry Mahoney

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

10 people found this review helpful

You will not find a more dedicated and professional group of people who work for the North American Bear Center. The Wildlife Research Institute biologists, Lynne Rogers and Sue Mansfield, have done more to educate thousands of people all over the world about the black bear and how they live their lives in their natural environment. Their tireless efforts and compassion have enlightened and inspired countless followers who trust and respect their humane research. Children of all ages are now able to learn about and understand these amazing bears in classrooms throughout the country.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I have been to Ely the last 3 summers for vacation. The first place I stop is the NABC. I love to go there, see the displays and see the bears. Contrary to some other reviews I've read, they do not keep the bears "locked up" in cages. They have their den areas where they rest but the bears are out a lot. I particularly enjoyed seeing Holly, the newest resident bear. This 19 month old bear is a joy to watch. It's especially fun to watch her and Lucky play and to see her start to stand up to Honey, the dominant female. The staff and volunteers are great. They are always ready and willing to help, to answer questions or to inform us of what the bears are doing and why. The gift shop has a lot of merchandise, most of which is very reasonable. I could have spent a lot of money there. I highly suggest people stop by there, especially if you have children. It's very educational. Before I started going to Ely, I thought all bears were aggressive and violent. Not so with the American Black Bear. They are gentle creatures. They are very smart. They are wonderful mothers to their cubs. Do yourself a favor. Go see the NABC.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

I have followed the work of Dr Rogers and Sue Mansfield of the NABC and the WRI in Ely, MN. I have to say they have changed my entire view of the North American Black Bear. Learning about how they live, what causes them to react to many things, and how to deal with being around a black bear, is so great to know. I do not fear them, but I respect them as Dr. Rogers says, he teaches how to co-exist , yet in the realm of things he teaches how to hunt as well in a way that is most humane. Wonderful place to see, wonderful place to learn.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

add more den cams, so seeing how they live in the wild prepares us for an encounter, and having more classes that teach about the North American Black Bear.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

I have volunteered for years for this wonderful organization, I have learned so much, and help to educate people on the importance of co existing with our wildlife, in this case Black Bears. I respect the work and dedication, Dr Rogers and Sue Mansfield have done. The hours of work, and more than 250 volunteers make this a wonderful place to visit and learn.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

That the DNR of Minnesota allow the research to continue, it is to important to lose.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

6 people found this review helpful

This is a wonderful place to take you family for a visit a learn all about the black bear .

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Not change a thing the NABC is doing a wonderful thing with their new changes with the Hope Learing Centre

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

I have been watching the Ted, Honey and Lucky now for 5 years from the pond chat at NABC , This is a wonder place to learn about the black bears, and they also have a wonderful gift shop. ..

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would not change a thing .. The NABC have been making changes that is a great thing ..

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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Rating: 1 stars  

Under new management, very poor experience! We waited for over an hour to see a bear only to eventually find out they were locked up away from visitors view. Walking around the few exhibits we had questions but no one there could answer them. $38.00 for 4 of us, definitely not worth the money.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Hire knowledgeable people. Do not keep the bears locked up in small enclosures.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

None

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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Rating: 1 stars  

In 2013, The bears are now locked up in small cages all day long. But when I visited in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and all 3 bears were visible if you stayed for more than an hour. The bears now look depressed and angry . Why ?
The new staff does not appear to know how to run the place. The have scripted answers for your questions, and it feels like a museum. They call it a museum now, and ignore the needs of the resident bears.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Get some new staff and a new Bear curator.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A little

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 1 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

Not worth your TIME or MONEY. We brought our Grandchildren to see the bears. Wait time was over an hour to be led up a rough incline to view bears in a cage.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Allow the 3 bears to be outside their cages and into the fenced in enclosure. More people to give out accurate information. We often heard the same questions with completely different answers.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

No

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

None

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

 
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