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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal Services, Animals, Arts & Culture, Museums, Wildlife Sanctuaries

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 myths and misconceptions 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 four 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 and North American Bear Center Facebook pages. In addition, our Educational Outreach Program supplies comprehensive bear / nature curriculums and materials for K - 12th grade teachers across the country.

Community Stories

44 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

handymandy

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've been to the bear center 4 times when I've traveled to Ely for an annual gathering of bear supporters and friends. It is one of the highlights of my trip! It has so much information on bears and how to coexist with them. The recent additions and improvements make it a state-of-the art museum! And I adore seeing the resident bears, Ted, Lucky, Holly, and now Tasha. If you haven't been there it's worth the trip!

Previous Stories
2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

​NABC has so much useful information on how to co-exist with black bears. As well as what to do when or if encountering them and how to prevent encounters. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable. Will take the time to discuss in detail any questions you have. Always very friendly. Pleasant way to start the day in the chat room chatters and moderators are the best for family friendly interactions.

5 Patie M.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a fabulous educational experience. I hope many more people can visit and learn about the bears.

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Great place to learn more about Bears and other wildlife. I truly enjoy visiting the North American Bear Center. The staff and volunteers are so friendly and helpful. The NABC is a very educational place and the resident bears are a delight to observe. Great place and I highly recommend that you include a stop here during any visit to Ely.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The North American Bear Center is one of the best attractions in Ely, MN. Visitors learn about black bears and also learn about all species of wildlife in the north woods eco system.

It can be visited for an hour or for an entire day, based on the amount of information you want to take in from the multiple displays, movies, or the "behinds the scene" tour, to see the live bears up close.

Each year there is something new and different. This is a powerful way to learn about all north woods wildlife species and is a summer adventure I never miss. ELy is very fortunate to have the North American Bear Center to educate the public about behavioral patterns of the Black Bears.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

It is a must see educational experience from the driveway to the entrance of the Bear center WOW then you step in and it takes your breath away !! through out the Bear center nothing but excitement and it changes your thoughts about Black Bears and sends you in a direction you never expected to get to. behind the scene tours are no charge and cap off a great experience !!

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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!

2 dbialek

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

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2

Donor

Rating: 5

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.

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2 Barb24

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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.

Previous Stories
3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Wonderful place to learn the truth about black bears.

2 Kerry M.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

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...

Previous Stories
5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

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