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Newberry, Michigan: Oswald's Bear Ranch

"Largest bear ranch in the U.S." Walk around and look at bears rescued from zoos and other attractions. Open since 1997; currently has over 40 bears on 240 acres. Dean Oswald began collecting orphan bears in 1986.

13814 Hwy 407, Newberry, MI
Four miles north of town on Hwy 123. Turn left at 4 Mile Corner onto Hwy 407, then drive 4.5 miles more.
Memorial Day - Oct. 1 daily 9:30-5 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Carload $25; single traveler $15; active military and accompanied family free.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
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Visitor Tips and News About Oswald's Bear Ranch

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Oswald's Bear Ranch

Oswald's Bear Ranch

Well worth the price per car. For additional fee, Oswald will take you into the kennel with the bear cubs and take pictures with your whole family. He took about a dozen photos of two cubs climbing on us for the single $5 bill. Other souveniers were also very reasonably priced.

Everyone there was very friendly.

[B. & A. Wolfgram, 06/18/2009]

Sept. 2016: Photo added.

Oswald's Bear Ranch.

Oswald's Bear Ranch

I came across this interesting attraction on my way across the UP. There were 26 bears on site, living in four different habitats. They have dens to sleep in and ponds and pools to swim. You can walk around at your leisure. I would not recommend it for anyone in a wheelchair, or who cannot walk distances. There are times it is uphill and downhill. There are some benches along the paths for resting, and taking in the beautiful scenery. Occasionally there are small holes in the chain link fencing to take photos. There are also tall stands with stairs leading up to get a view from above.

There is a small gift shop which features t-shirts, cute stuffed black bears, books, etc... There were newspaper articles on the walls with info about the ranch, and many thank you letters from grade school students who had toured.

[Dana Bluske, 09/09/2006]

Sept. 2016: Photo added.

Oswald's Bear Ranch

"Largest bear ranch in the U.S." "30 live bears." This place is a walk-thru, not a drive-thru. The bears roam free within high fences and visitors are allowed to walk around and look at them. Oswald's star attraction, "Tyson," was possibly the largest black bear in the world and weighed over 1000 pounds. But he died in 2000, "at the height of the summer when he looked all scruffy," according to Jewel Oswald.

Some say that Tyson died of a stroke, others that he died after he got into a fight and killed the next largest bear. However he passed away, Tyson was quickly buried under a rock, without even a tombstone. "Looking back on it, we should have probably done something, at least with the head," Mrs. Oswald told us. "But, you know. That's the way it goes." Cute baby bears are another big attraction here. "We used to let people in to pose with the bear cubs. But we're not allowed to do that any more."

[ Team, 09/06/2005]
Oswald's Bear Ranch - Tyson Dead!

I regret to inform you that Tyson passed away. He was in a fight which killed the next largest bear, and Tyson died several days later. Got this news from my sister who was visiting with her family last month.

[Robin, 08/18/2000]
Oswald's Bear Ranch

There is a place called Oswalds Bear Ranch that is located north of Newberry, MI, 4 miles then turn left at 4 Mile Corner onto ( H-37 / Co. Road 407). It is about 4 1/2 miles down that road. They have many bears there. One of the bears, "Tyson," weighed 900 lbs. last October. He is the Largest Black Bear in the United States. None of the adult bears are in kennels, they roam free behind a very high chain link fence. Baby bears are kept in kennels and are a big attraction. Oswalds is the largest Bear Ranch east of the Mississippi. This is a walk about place, not a drive through. It is worth the trip and, I think well worth the small admission price. It is open Memorial Day weekend through September.

[Scott O. Simmmons, 06/08/1999]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Paul Bunyan's Cook CampPaul Bunyan's Cook Camp, Newberry, MI - 6 mi.
Pink MoosePink Moose, McMillan, MI - 12 mi.
Top-of-the-Lake Snowmobile MuseumTop-of-the-Lake Snowmobile Museum, Naubinway, MI - 24 mi.
In the region:
Mystery Spot, St. Ignace, MI - 54 mi.

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