Non-profit bear rescue offering educational tours.
Buy a family pass for $48 for a family of four and unlimited visits!
This is one for your list if you want a unique, feel-good experience off the beaten path (away from the downtown cruise area.)
This non-profit has resident bears that each have a unique albeit usually sad story of how they got to the center. The tour guides are knowledgeable bear handlers and from the way they know bear birthdates and facts to how their stories and facts are conveyed, you can tell they truly care about the cause of rescuing "nuisance" bears.
We thought this educational tour was wonderful for all ages and we took endless videos of bears begging for lettuce and apples, rolling logs and plastic bins in the water, and a slough of family/bear photos.
We really liked the use of an old water treatment facility for the site -- upcycling at it's best! We also noticed that not once during our 1-2 hour stay did we see any pacing or stressed behavior that we often observe at zoos. The enclosures seemed spacious enough and though they were rather sparse, we learned it was because the bears bulldoze saplings just as they do in the wild!
The gift shop has really fun trinkets and all proceeds go back to the bears, so I made a point to get some souvenirs there.
If your kids like bears -- or if YOU do -- this is an easy getaway from the downtown craze and is a meaningful and educational stop. Our family is always appreciative of these up-close learning facilities.
School groups and tours are welcome and available. There are also bear encounters available, in which you get to interact with bears one-on-one for an upcharge. If we had known about this earlier, we'd have definitely gone for it!
Disclosure: My family received complimentary admission to the facility to be able to write about and get the word out about it to the rest of you. We would not change our positive opinion about the place had we paid full price -- it's great!