Bear Encounter

Get up close and personal with some magnificent icons of the American wilderness. We are proud to announce our brand new big, bold Black Bear Encounter.

Come meet Timber and Tyler, our resident black bears, in a special, behind-the-scenes experience that’s certain to make an impression. You’ll learn all about these fascinating animals and what it takes to care for these magnificent, gentle giants. You may even have a chance to feed the bears one of their favorite treats.

We have opened the Bear Encounter for new bookings! Encounters will be available every Wednesday and Saturday through the last Saturday in August.

If you're ready for one of the coolest encounters, you can book today!

Price: $160

Price covers group entry for up to 4 people

Health and Safety Notes

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the zoo has instigated special procedures to protect the health and safety of all our guests, staff and animals. Please understand that we strive to bring our guests the best experiences possible while keeping everyone safe and comfortable.

With this in mind, our behind-the-scenes encounters are available to related groups. We cannot mix groups of guests who are not closely acquainted. So, bookings are for singular groups for one, set price. The cost of the encounter covers entry for up to 4 people in one group.

Know Before You Go

  • Meet at the Bear Exhibit 15 minutes before your encounter begins.
  • Encounters are booked as a family group.
  • All participants must wear a face mask.
  • Keep your ticket to show to the keepers for your encounter.
  • Ages 6 and up. Participants under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult (21+).
  • Closed toed shoes should be worn to fully enjoy the experience.


Frequently Asked Questions

Meet at the Bear Exhibit at the Bear Sightings signs located on the back wooden fence by the windows of the exhibit. Keep your ticket to show the keepers in order to enter the encounter.

You may bring your stroller part of the way. However, you will be required to leave the stroller in a public area when you go behind the scenes. It is advised not to leave valuable personal belongings on strollers.

Items you are welcome to bring:

  • Please wear closed-toed shoes to fully enjoy the experience.
  • All participants must wear a face mask
  • Cameras are permitted (no flash please)
  • Cellphones are permitted (please place on silent mode before the encounter)
  • No food or drink is allowed during the encounter
  • Strollers are not allowed within the encounter

You are welcome to bring less than 4 people, but the encounter is sold as a whole experience and tickets cannot be sold individually.

This encounter does feature multiple sets of stairs with no chair lift, going through a back gate off of the concrete path into a grass area, and standing for the duration of the encounter up to an hour. If you have any further questions, please call us at 903-593-0121 or email us at

There is no direct contact with our animals during this encounter. The feeding experience with our bears occurs depending on the discretion of the keeper.

This experience is outdoors. Please check the weather and/or call ahead of your arrival for inclement weather to be aware of potential cancellation. We may still hold the encounter in certain weather conditions. We will notify you if we cancel the encounter due to inclement weather. If the encounter is cancelled due to inclement weather you may be rescheduled or receive a full refund.

Reservations are only valid for the date booked. Encounter fees are non-refundable, however the program can be rescheduled when possible (as long as the request is made two weeks in advance of date of experience). All encounters are subject to availability. This encounter includes admission. Admission for encounters is required present ticket at entrance. Be sure to read encounter information thoroughly. Caldwell Zoo has the right to cancel these programs at any time without prior notice for full refund. Participants should arrive 15 minutes before the start of program. Due to the nature of the animal encounters, late participants cannot be accommodated and your reservation will be forfeited with no refund. If you or a member of your party jeopardizes the welfare of an animal or the safety of anyone in the group you can be removed from the tour with no refund. All participants must be 6 and older. Participants under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult (21+). Wheelchair accessibility is limited or not available. Please call 903-593-0121 for more details on limitations. Service animals will not be permitted on any behind the scenes encounters. Prices are subject to change without notice. Please check the weather in advance to be aware of potential cancellations.

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