One of the primary reasons we chose to travel to Alaska was the strong likelihood of spotting wildlife. We’ve experienced the excitement of going on safari and are all certified scuba divers, so I can unequivocally say that for our family, nothing compares with the thrill of seeing animals in the wild. Nothing. And if there’s one universally truth about children, they love animals.
With that in mind, we paid a visit to the Fortress of the Bear during our 2 days in Sitka. Granted, the animals here are in captivity and our ultimate goal was to see them in the wild. But this isn’t any ordinary zoo. Instead, the Fortress of the Bear is a research and educational center whose sole purpose is to protect southeast Alaska’s brown bear population.
The main (and pretty much only) attraction here are five orphaned brown bears who frolic around an enormous cement tank that replicates their natural habitat while the owner, Less Kinnear, walks around and tells you about how they were rescued from almost certain death. He also told us about what they’re doing to protect the local bear population from being shot by annoyed residence.
Besides being incredibly knowledgeable, Less even allowed our boys to toss some fish into the enclosure during feeding time and got us our first close encounter with the resident bald eagles that paroled the grounds looking for leftovers.
Excited to see more of the local fauna, our next stop was The Alaska Raptor Center . . .