Information on:

Big Bear Alpine Zoo

43285 Goldmine Drive


In May 2012, the Moonridge Animal Park had a name change. The new name is the Big Bear Alpine Zoo.

A Story of Survival and Harmony Between People and Nature Big Bear Alpine Zoo arose from the ashes of forest fires in 1959 that devastated the natural ecosystem of the San Bernardino Mountains. Several injured animals were brought to safety for rehabilitation and a second chance at life in the wild. But for some, returning to the forest was not an option due to human imprinting or injuries that would compromise their survival. For those healthy but non-releasable birds and animals, a 2.5-acre parcel located 7,125 feet above sea level in the same indigenous, sub-alpine conifer forest became their protective new home and the site of Big Bear Alpine Zoo.

An orphaned, 30-pound black bear cub, stranded in a tree after the fire, was among the first, permanent inhabitants at the zoo. Other early arrivals to the Southern California facility included mule deer and bobcats.

In 1960, a 50-year lease on the property enabled Big Bear Alpine Zoo to grow into a zoological facility. In 1961, the zoo became part of the San Bernardino County Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District. Today, Big Bear Alpine Zoo is home to more than 150 birds and animals representing 85 species. Notably, Big Bear Alpine Zoo is distinguished as the only zoological facility in the United States located in an alpine/sub-alpine environment, dedicated to the preservation of primarily alpine and sub-alpine species.

Educational wildlife programs have grown right along with the resident animal population. The Big Bear Alpine Zoo presents zoological information in an historical context, to demonstrate the impact of human social conditions on the well being of wildlife. This is done with the assistance of only non-releasable wildlife that serves as educational ambassadors. Each year, with the help of trained docents, Big Bear Alpine Zoo offers hundreds of educational programs for school children, youth organizations, families, and visitors from around the world.

The growth of the facility is testament to the need for alpine wildlife preservation. Neighboring urban areas have grown and encroached upon bird and animal habitats to the point that the surrounding Big Bear Valley is now classified as an urban forest. The San Bernardino Mountains have become one of the last bastions for future generations to glimpse alpine wildlife in natural ecosystems.

Primarily a zoological facility, the Big Bear Alpine Zoo also is a fully licensed, designated care and rehabilitation facility for injured or confiscated animals. Annually, at least 200 injured wild birds and animals are treated here. Over the years, thousands of injured, orphaned, or behaviorally handicapped wildlife have come to the Big Bear Alpine Zoo. The majority of animals rehabilitated at the zoo have been successfully released to the wild.


Erin Ferrell

Tuesday, June 12, 2018
My husband and I went on a weekend get away to Big Bear. We had a great time and this was one of our favorite spots we visited! It was so informative and interesting but yet so laid back and enjoyable. We bought all of our kids something from here even though we weren't planning on spending very much money on this trip. We felt great about our purchuses and would have spent more! Definitely somewhere we are going to support and can't wait to go back with our kids! So thankful to have found this zoo and excited about its new property.

Edward LaSalle

Saturday, April 7, 2018
You can't leave Big Bear without visiting the zoo. It is amazing what they do there. I'm against having animal enclosures and exhibits but this zoo is different. Their purpose is to rehabilitate sick or injured animals and send them back to the wild, unless, of course, they can't because of their condition. The caregivers are so passionate about what they do, you can see it. It is a small zoo, you don't need more than a hour and a half (if you really want to appreciate every animal). But you'll get the chance to see grizzly bears, wolves, bald eagles, my favorite the snow leopards and much more. A booklet with all the info about the animals is sold for $3 and I recommend you get it, it is worth it. Really, visit the won't regret it ;)

john hamilton

Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Our first visiting the big bear zoo. They are doing a pretty good job with what they have to deal with. The zoo is very old but good news that soon hopefully will he moving by the end of 2018 to a new location with double the room. It was fun to see the animals and how much care they are getting. For a fun few hours it is worth seeing.

Xochilt Gonzalez-Salinas

Monday, April 9, 2018
Small zoo, where they house animals that are hurt or need help before releasing them into the wild. It's small, but that means you get to see the animals more up close. They have mostly animals from the region, like bears, deer, and funny 'peeping' ravens. But they also have the occasional recuperating exotic animal, like cranes or even the rare snow leopards. Admittance is about $12 for adults but very fun.

Janet Rivas

Monday, April 23, 2018
The animals were so active when I came. I've never seen zoo animals moving before. The grizzly was even walking around. And they all look so beautiful. Especially the wolves. Great place!!!! Parking can be difficult but totally worth it

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