Big Bear Alpine Zoo

Written by’s Local Expert
Big Bear Alpine Zoo in California entrance.
Bear exhibit at the Big Bear Alpine Zoo in California.
Big Bear Zoo's bear eating oranges.
Eagle exhibit with an Eagle at the Big Bear Alpine Zoo in California.
Internal walkway at the Big Bear Alpine Zoo.
Big Bear Alpine Zoo nocturnal exhibit in California.
Animal skull exhibit at the Big Bear Alpine Zoo in California.
Winter time at the Big Bear Alpine Zoo's bear exhibit in Big Bear, CA.
Big Bear Alpine Zoo's Timber Wolf.
Big Bear Alpine Zoo big cat exhibit in California.


Lions, and tigers, and bears…oh my! If you’re looking for an awesome animal experience look no further than the Big Bear Alpine Zoo

This hidden gem is nestled in the San Bernardino Mountains of California and is located right next to Big Bear Lake. Home to over 80 species of animals, from bald eagles and mountain lions to bobcats and black bears—it's the only zoo in San Bernardino County and has been saving animals since 1959.

Visiting the Big Bear Alpine Zoo will leave you with an unforgettable animal experience! 

Explore the zoo on your own or take a guided tour with one of their knowledgeable staff members, and get up close and personal with some of nature's most majestic creatures— including wolves, foxes, owls, and more. 

With educational programs for all ages, you’ll learn about their conservation efforts and how they're helping to protect endangered species around the world. From summer camps for kids to lectures on wildlife conservation for adults, there's something for everyone at this unique mountain zoo.

So If you're looking for an exciting day trip that will leave you feeling inspired by nature's beauty and filled with awe-inspiring memories, then look no further than the Big Bear Alpine Zoo in California!

Interesting Facts & Cool Exhibits

Since the Big Bear Alpine Zoo’s primary focus is rehabilitation and providing a sanctuary for indigenous wild animals that can’t be set free, they offer plenty of opportunities for volunteers who want to help out with animal care or other projects around the park.

They even host special events throughout the year like their annual Fall Festival and Winter Wonderland celebrations to help raise money.

And if that wasn’t enough to get excited about a visit, we discovered that one of the most unique exhibits of the Big Bear Alpine Zoo is its Snow Leopard Encounter exhibit. This exhibit allows visitors to get up close and personal with these majestic cats while learning about their behavior and habits in their natural habitat. 

It's an incredible experience that you won't find anywhere else!

Or if movies are your thing, you must visit the Wildlife Theater. Here, you can watch educational shows featuring some of the animals living in the zoo, how they care for them, and all of their conservation efforts. 

For family fun, Big Bear Alpine Zoo is a must-visit while enjoying the majestic mountains of California!

Getting There

The zoo is located in the beautiful Big Bear Lake area and is about a two-hour drive from Los Angeles or Las Vegas. 

Whichever city you’re coming from the best way to arrive is by taking a scenic drive over the San Bernardino Mountains, you will not be disappointed! 

Coming from Los Angeles 

  1. Take I-10 E and CA-210 E/Foothill Fwy to CA-330 N in San Bernardino. Take exit 81 from CA-210 E/Foothill Fwy
  2. Follow CA-330 N and CA-18 to Moonridge Rd in Big Bear Lake

Coming from Las Vegas

  1. Get on I-515 N/US-95 N
  2. Follow I-15 S to CA-247 S/Barstow Rd in Barstow. Take exit 183 from I-15 S
  3. Follow Barstow Rd and CA-18 to Moonridge Rd in Big Bear Lake

Local Tips

  • To make the most out of your visit, you’ll want to arrive early so you can explore all that this amazing place has to offer.
  • If you want to avoid the long lines at the ticket booth, you can buy tickets online on their website. It's easy and convenient!
  • Food and drinks are available for sale inside the zoo but you are welcome to bring in your own picnic spread. Aluminum cans, glassware, or breakables of any kind are not permitted.
  • Since the zoo is huge, make sure you wear comfortable shoes so you can explore all of its areas without getting tired feet.
  • The Big Bear Alpine Zoo has some amazing views and photo opportunities that you won't want to miss out on, so remember to bring your camera or have your phone—photo ready!


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