By Staff Reports
(Big Bear)– After two decades of planning, fundraising and construction, the Big Bear Alpine Zoo opened its doors to the public at its brand-new state-of–the-art facility on Thursday, Nov. 5.
The Big Bear Alpine Zoo originally opened as the Moonridge Animal Park on Goldmine Drive in 1961. In 1998, The Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District was approached to relocate the zoo and build a brand-new facility. Starting in 2002, the County Board of Supervisors started funding the zoo budget to relocate the Moonridge Park with assistance from the Big Bear Valley Park District, the Friends of the Big Bear Alpine Zoo, and the U.S. Forest Service. In 2006, architecture firm Peckham Guyton Albers & Viets (PGAV) was retained by the Friends of the Big Bear Alpine Zoo to design the new zoo. On July 25, 2016, construction began. The total cost of the project was $18.2 million.
Big Bear Alpine Zoo is a sanctuary and rehabilitation facility offering injured, orphaned and imprinted wild animals a safe haven. The Alpine Zoo temporarily houses animals while they heal or permanently if they are unable to survive on their own in the wild. The zoo successfully rehabilitates and releases a vast majority of the animals brought in for care. Those that remain on exhibit are either too injured or have been imprinted/influenced by humans and are not fit for the wild and cannot be released back into the wild to care for themselves. Guests are able to experience up close and personal every type of animal that lives in the San Bernardino National Forest along with some special residents – Snow Leopard Sisters and a Family of Grizzly Bears.
The Big Bear Valley Recreation and Park District, a Special District of the County of San Bernardino owns the zoo, the facilities and the animals. The new Big Bear Alpine Zoo is more spacious for the animals, and provides a better guest experience. The new zoo is made possible through the generosity of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, the Friends of the Big Bear Alpine Zoo, and The Nay Foundation. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony The Nay Foundation presented the Big Bear Alpine Zoo with a check for $1 million for construction costs of the new animal care building.
The zoo is at 747 Clubview Drive in Big Bear Lake. Masks and social distancing are required during a zoo visit. The zoo is open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. except for Christmas Day or due to snow conditions.
Media is welcome to visit the zoo. Please contact Amy Ledbetter for more information or to schedule tour of new Big Bear Alpine Zoo.