Bearizona announces the grand opening of Canyonlands Restaurant

WILLIAMS – Bearizona has opened its much anticipated 6,000-square-foot restaurant, Canyonlands. This themed restaurant features soaring canyon walls and ancient ruins that allow diners to immerse themselves in the true spirit of the Southwest. The expansive two-story covered deck includes priceless views of the park’s spectacular jaguar exhibit, which features a 25 foot waterfall.

Canyonlands Restaurant will open its doors at 10:30 a.m. and will close 2 hours after the park’s posted closing time. This restaurant is only accessible to park guests and annual pass holders.
Bearizona is a wildlife park which invites guests to experience a scenic three-mile drive in their own vehicle, witnessing North American animals in their natural environment. In Fort Bearizona, visitors can leisurely stroll along winding walkways through the forest for an up-close view of even more animal antics. Finally, guests are encouraged to catch the complimentary Birds of Prey free flight show, where they will come face to face with hawks, owls and other raptors.

Bearizona jaguar gives blood to jaguar at Reid Park Zoo

Click on image to view video of Bagheera swimming.

WILLIAMS — This time of year is all about giving, and what better Christmas gift than to help a friend in need. Bearizona Wildlife Park’s resident jaguar Bagheera was able to give a blood transfusion to a Jaguar in dire need from the Reid Park Zoo.

Jaguars are a near threatened species and numbers are rapidly declining in their wild habitats which include the southern regions of the United States, Mexico and Central and South America. The last known wild Jaguars living in the United States were actually last seen in the Tucson Arizona, with the most recent sighting just last week.

Bearizona’s Owner stated “we received a call last week from Reid Park Zoo stating they had a Jaguar who was in need of help. We of course wanted to help, and after some discussions with our veterinary team we decided it was a great opportunity to help out a jaguar in need.

Bearizona’s male jaguar Bagheera is one of the most beloved critters to call Bearizona home and now he can add life saver to his list. They say a cat has nine lives and it looks like that very well may be the case for Reid Park Zoo’s jaguar Nakita, after the successful blood transfusion.

Casey also stated that “We are happy we were able to help and wish Nikita a speedy recovery.”

Bagheera can be seen frolicking in his home at Bearizona, an 11,000 square foot exhibit complete with a 30 foot waterfall.

Visited Bearizona tonight. You otter been there

wildwonderland16-12-02-01WILLIAMS — Tonight we went to check out the Wild Wonderland at Bearizona drive-through wild life park. There are a few photo ops and the addition of the pit with s’mores was a great idea. It takes the chill out of the air.


At Bearizona you can conspire, as you dream by the fire.

wildwonderland16-12-02-04Some of my photos did not turn out. I should have had some of the friendly staff take the pictures for me.
wildwonderland16-12-02-06wildwonderland16-12-02-07The lights of Wild Wonderland dance with the beat of Christmas music at the walk-through area. You can still walk through and see the animals roaming at night. The porcupines were even out. We got to see the Bobcats receiving their Christmas presents early.wildwonderland16-12-02-02The gift shop is stocked and open and they even have gloves, wool caps and other warm clothing in case you forgot something.wildwonderland16-12-02-08The upper level of the gift shop is finished and this is where Mrs. Clause tells stories. We did notice her computer there but were not allowed to view the naughty list. Not only does it prevent getting juicy stories, reporters cannot get in to change their marks on the list.wildwonderland16-12-02-03The drive-through portion of the park closes about 3 p.m. to get ready for the Wild Wonderland event. The gates open at 5 p.m. and the light show begins at 5:30. The cost for Winter Wonderland is $12 at the gate. Here is a tip, however, that might help this report get back on the nice list. You can get a hefty discount by getting tickets through Groupon. Your can visit the Bearizona web site to get more details on the park.

Bearizona Winter Wonderland begins tonight


Bearizona photo

WILLIAMS — Bearizona is hosting their second annual Wild Wonderland event which starts this weekend. Patrons to Wild Wonderland are sure to get in Christmas spirit while enjoying the magic of Bearizona at night.

This family friendly event allows visitors to enter the park after normal operating hours and takes place in the Fort Bearizona walk through portion of the park only.

Snow makes the animals more active and light show more spectacular. - Bearizona photo

Snow makes the animals more active and light show more spectacular. – Bearizona photo

Guests will enjoy the lights and sounds of the season while strolling through the beautifully lit pine trees that are synchronized to traditional Christmas music. This merry light show occurs every half hour. Other festivities include a nightly visit from Mrs. Claus for a special Storytime, plenty of photo ops, and a couple of the park’s sturdier critters stay up late to enjoy the cooler nights and will even get the chance to open their Christmas presents early! Bearizona’s program animals are eager to participate in the season’s festivities as well, and will be out for all to meet.

Guests can stay warm by the outdoor fire pit while roasting s’mores, or purchase a Christmas goodie or seasonal beverage while they peruse the gift shop filled with plenty of gifts ideas to finish off your Christmas shopping.

Wild Wonderland is held every Friday Saturday and Sunday evening in December. Then beginning December. 19 it runs every night through the 31, but is closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas.

More information can be found at and make sure to get your 50% discount tickets on Groupon.

Bearizona may be the missing link to the Chicago Cubs success during the regular season.

bearizona-cubs02WILLIAMS — Baseball has always been a sport filled with superstitions. One of the most longstanding and widely believed superstitions has to do with the Chicago Cubs and The Curse of the Billy Goat. Some believe this so called curse is the reason the Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908, and haven’t qualified for a series since 1945.

Bearizona may be the missing link as to why the Cubs had such a successful season. Bearizona worked with Cubs manager Joe Maddon to surprise Cubs players in the pre-season with a visit from two bear cubs that were born at Bearizona Wildlife Park in Williams, Ariz. this past January. These two cubs, named Cubby and Rizzo, in honor of their famous pro-athlete buddies, could very well be the reason the cubs have made it this far in the playoffs.
Bearizona’s owner Sean Casey stated “The Chicago Cubs clearly have the talent to make it happen, but the Bearizona luck that cubs Cubby and Rizzo bring can’t hurt their chances either.”

Bearizona assists AGFD in rescuing a troublesome bear

800-bear-lemmonWILLIAMS — Wildlife Park officials at Bearizona report that they have worked with Arizona Game & Fish to facilitate a rescue of a young female bear that was seen multiple times around the Mt. Lemmon area. The bear reportedly followed hikers, tried to get into homes and had no fear of humans. In cases like this, usually the bear would be euthanized.

Often time’s bears will venture into campsites or urban areas for food that is more easily accessible. That’s where the saying a fed bear is a dead bear comes from. It’s important for people to clean up after themselves while camping and not make it easy for bears to get a quick meal. If a bear finds easily obtainable food and/or food trash, the animal will continue to return until the food source is gone.

Black bears usually avoid people, but are attracted to human food and trash. The AGFD reminds campers to be “bear aware” by doing the following:

  1. Keeping a clean camp or picnic site.
  2. Stowing food, pet food, trash and picnic coolers out of sight and out of smell range of bears.
  3. Utilizing bear-proof food and trash receptacles where provided.
  4. Washing and stowing cooking utensils immediately following use.
  5. Not taking odorous items (toothpaste, lotions, etc.) or clothing used while cooking into tents.
  6. Keeping pets leashed.
  7. Avoiding contact with bears.

If bears are seen in the distance, it is advisable for visitors to change their route to avoid contact. If approached by a bear, discourage contact by looking large and imposing, waving arms or jacket, making loud noises and giving the bear an opportunity to leave the area.

Sean Casey, Bearizona’s owner stated “This past year we enacted a birth control plan for all of our bears. Cubby and Rizzo, our current cubs, will very likely be the last bear cubs born at the Park. We do this so we are able to rescue bears out of the wild when possible. Unfortunately we won’t be able to rescue every bear in need, but we are moving in a direction to rescue when the situation works for all parties involved.”

“We are fortunate to have found a new home for her,” said AZGFD Region 5 Supervisor Raul Vega. “That rarely is possible with common species like black bears. So this story has a happy ending, but it could have gone another way. Young bears that seem dangerous grow up to be large bears that are aggressive.”

Out of all of the bears that call Bearizona home, over 60% were rescued. Bearizona’s newest addition named “Lemmon” after Mt. Lemmon in Tucson where she lived, will stay in mandatory quarantine for 30 days before being released into the cub exhibit with Cubby and Rizzo.

Williams Council Meeting to accept resignation of City Manager

WILLIAMS — There will be a special meeting of the City Council on Monday at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. The purpose of the meeting is to accept the resignation of City Manager Brandon Buchanan effective February 19.

The Council will discuss the appointment of an Interim City Manager and the recruitment process for the City Manager position.

Sean Casey of Bearizona wrote in an email, “We were lucky to have him for so long I guess. He added a high level of professionalism to our Williams team.

“Good luck in your future endeavors Brandon. I am sure you and your family will be very successful wherever you land.”

Al Richmond of the Arizona State Railroad Museum added, “Williams has been the beneficiary of Brandon’s tenure and hopefully his successor will come close to being as positive for the City and community. This move is good for him professionally and in the best interests of his family. I will miss working with him.”

Bearizona remains open

ZBearizona160113-01WILLIAMS — For over five-years Bearizona has entertained thousands of kids and adults. We visited the very first year when they allowed residents in free for a period of time. It was impressive, but not spectacular.
Over the years we have watched Bearizona grow. They have built an expansive gift shop with a fantastic diorama and separate room for close up introduction to animals and other activities. For Christmas, this year, they introduced the Wild Wonderland. This amazing light and music display I found as impressive as the Zoolights at the Phoenix Zoo. We got to see both.
This year—despite the most snow Williams has seen in some time—Bearizona even managed to stay open to the public. The snow even makes the animal displays more impressive just like the snow did for the Wild Wonderland display.

During the summer the animals tend to sleep during the heat of the day. With the cold weather, they are more active throughout the day. Especially the wolves and the bears. The same for the animals in the walk-through area. The otters are out and the bear cubs are playing in the snow.
If you plan to come to Williams, you should plan to visit Bearizona and the Grand Canyon Deer Farm petting zoo. For about the same price as the entrance to the Grand Canyon, you can get up close and personal with various animals of north America. If you are on a planned tour to Williams, you should urge the driver to visit these Williams attractions.

80% chance for up to 2″ of snow today

sno-16-01-12-043WILLIAMS — In the early morning hours only a sliver of blue sky remained as a backdrop to the Three Sisters. That was soon covered by an overcast sky.

According to the latest check, there is an 80% chance of snow today. It could drop as much as 2″ of new snow. Winds could rise to 17-mph this afternoon with gusts as high as 28-mph today and 30-mph tonight.

Saturday is predicted to be cold with wind chill down to zero. The sun and temperatures around the mid-40s are expected for Sunday through Martin Luther King day making the free entry day at the Grand Canyon a definite possibility.

The chance of rain and snow returns again on Tuesday.

While they may close temporarily depending on the weather, Bearizona and the Deer Farm east of Williams generally remain open for visitors to get up close and personal with the wild residents of Arizona.

Remember that, because of the expected low temperatures, ice is possible on the roadways and walkways.Winter-Bearizona16-01-13-010

Wow on Wild Wonderland at Bearizona

800-Bearizona15-12-13-039WILLIAMS — When I first saw the video with the press release for the Wild Wonderland lights at Bearizona, I was less than impressed. I went to see them. Wow.

The Wild Wonderland is an event separate from the normal park tour that is similar to Zoo Lights. The first show starts just after it starts getting dark around 5:30. The show repeats every half-hour after. You can find special coupons for the event at businesses, such as Circle K, Hotels and the Grand Canyon Railroad—now hosting the Polar Express through January 2.
The addition that made this show was the snow. With a fresh blanket of at least 3″ so far today, and more expected, you should get out to see this show. The snow reflects the light from the show making it even more spectacular and bright. One staff member informed me that more lights are intended for next year. The center of the attraction is the Christmas tree.

While waiting for the show, you might want to stop in the warmth of the gift shop and take in the train diorama created by Colonel Jim Garvey. Colonel Garvey has been building this diorama for years. A staff member told me the El Tovar Hotel took nearly 15-years.
You can get a cup of coffee while waiting for the arrival of Mrs. Clause who tells stories to children of all ages. They also bring out animals to see.
The Wild Wonderland will continue every evening, now, until December 27. The only exception is that they will be closed December 24 and Christmas Day. We have been told that Santa has some sort of prior engagement those dates.

If you are coming for Polar Express, you need to add this show to your agenda. Add a daytime visit to the Deer Farm Petting Zoo to get up close to animals. The Deer Farm is located about five-miles east (toward Flagstaff) of WIlliams. Then you can check off all the slots on your Christmas To-Do list.