BEAR BEAR ALPINE ZOO: PurrFect Time To Visit The Animals (PHOTO ESSAY)

BBAZ Black Bear
Pooh, a black bear (Ursus americanus), invites you to come and visit him at the Big Bear Alpine Zoo during the winter months. (Photo By Big Bear Alpine Zoo)

By W. Edward Clark

Big Bear Lake, CA – The winter months can be one of the most spectacular times to visit the Big Bear Alpine Zoo. As many of the zoo’s animals are of the alpine species and well adapted to cold weather, their coats are often full.

BBAZ Gray Wolf
Blair, a male gray wolf (Canis lupus), is one of seven housed in one enclosure. He was born April 9, 2009. (Photo By Big Bear Alpine Zoo)


Big Bear Alpine Zoo ‘s Curator Bob Cisneros shared with how the natural beauty of Big Bear enhances a visitor’s experience at the zoo.

Big Bear Lake is a four seasons resort town where every season offers majestic views. Seeing a snowy owl with its full winter plumage and our wolves with their thick winter coats, our guests will be able to appreciate winter wildlife at its very best,” Cisneros stated.

And while many zoos actually pay money to have snow blown into their exhibits,” Cisneros explained, “we offer it free of cost, courtesy of mother nature.”


As pathways are often icy and slippery during winter months, visitors are strongly encouraged to wear appropriate footwear – snow boots – with a good tread for gripping icy surfaces.

Animal presentations take place at 12 noon, 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. at various locations throughout the zoo.

Winter hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Sunday.


BB ZOO AlpineAdmission is $12 for adults and $9 for seniors age 6o and older. Those with military ID and children 3 to 10 years are $9. Children under the age of 3 are free.

Hours may very during winter months. Please call ahead to make sure the zoo is open on snow days.


The Big Bear Alpine Zoo is located at 43285 Goldmine Drive in Big Bear Lake.

For more information, please call (909) 584-1299 or visit BIG BEAR ALPINE ZOO online.

BBAZ Mtn Lions
Mountain lions (Felis concolor) Cascade and Canyon are considered to be very large for females and came to the zoo in 2002. (Photo By Big Bear Alpine Zoo)
ZOO Rosy Kit Fox
Rosanne — affectionately known as Rosy — is a San Joaquin Kit Fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica) is a desert animal. However, zoo staff report that when she thinks nobody is looking she happily rolls in the snow. (Photo By Big Bear Alpine Zoo)
BBAZ Snow Owl
Cyrus, a Snowy Owl (Nyctea scandiaca), has lots of feathers on his feet making him look like he is wearing warm fuzzy slippers. (Photo By Big Bear Alpine Zoo)