Big Bear Alpine Zoo
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.
The snow leopards alone were worth the 12$ to get in! It's small, but has enough animals for a solid hour of seeing new exhibits. Exciting to hear they are building a new location down the street with larger and nicer habitats for their animals, which is opening in around a year. Definitely coming back to see that. This zoo also does a lot of rehab and release of animals, with hundreds of animals passing through their facility and being released back into the wild each year (these animals are not viewable to the public in order to keep them wild and able to adapt back to the wild). I really respect their mission.
Wonderful zoo to support! They are a rescue sanctuary and truly are doing some great work with the animals they have and are able to release back into the wild. Go see this zoo! Help support their wonderful efforts of protecting and educating Big Bear residents and visitors!
Great zoo and fun for the whole family. It's small enough to see and be educated in a couple of hours. This is a wildlife rescue and rehab center and they rehabilitate animals to release them out to the wild to be able to live normal lives. I recommend coming to learn about these incredible animals. Snow leopards, bears, raccoons, wolves, Eagles, geese, etc. It's amazing and we're excited to come back when they open their new zoo location in Sept. 2018.
Cute little zoo with a good variety of animals and easily viewed enclosures. Not sure if we just caught it at the right time, but all the animals were pretty active. Snow leopards, wolves, bears, coyotes, and quite a group of raptors. Try to get there for the feeding demonstrations!
Claudia Violeta Sanchez
Such a lovely place for these animals to be safe - it's an Animal Rescue for local Fauna, but they also serve as the town's Zoo. A great way to appreciate the beautiful Alpine Animals that call the San Bernardino Mountains home!! So excited to know that they are currently building a new & bigger facility, opening soon. Can't wait to go back to the BigBear area and check it out when it opens!💜