Travelers know they’ve reached Big Bear, Calif., once they start spotting ‘signs’ of bears.
But there’s nothing to be alarmed about. The signs aren’t bear tracks. They’re markers for Boo Bear’s Den, Grizzly Manor Cafe and Teddy Bear Restaurant; shops such as Bear Skins, Big on Bears and Teddy Bear Square; places to stay such as Big Bear Cabins; and The Grizzly, a local newspaper. The list goes on and on at the lakeside retreat northeast of San Bernardino off Highways 18 and 38.
Although there aren’t many wild bears left, the mountain area got its name because of an overabundance of furry critters sighted in 1845 by the grandfather of Gen. George S. Patton — Don Benito Wilson. The atmosphere of the 19th Century remains today at Big Bear. Prospectors still mine the streams for gold. In fact, Old Miners’ Days held in July draws over 100,000 sight-seers. The three week celebration (July 9 – 29, 2012) features Parades, Derbies, music, chili cook-off and Outhouse Races (oldminers.org).
Throughout the summer visitors can tour the Moonridge Animal Park Zoo to see rescued bears, including the newest family member, Pooh Bear who arrived in May after getting himself into a sticky situation with a beekeeper, stealing $8,000 worth of honey. He has found a new home with several Grizzlies and brown bears, all saved (from being euthanized) at the animal rescue facility. At the zoo you can also see a Barn owl, bobcat, coyote, Bald & Golden Eagles, fox, bison, mule deer and more!
Guests can also take their picture in front of the giant bear statue at the Big Bear Discovery Center and see exhibits, attend weekly programs, eco-tours, special events and outdoor concerts at the Big Bear Discovery Center Amphitheater.
Your paws will “bearly” scratch the surface of things to see and do during the summer at Big Bear Lake mountain resort. Many go for winter skiing, but the summer scents in the pine forest are as sweet as honey to this ‘Big Bear’ lover.