This article relies too much on references to primary sources. (December 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (December 2017)
|Date opened||1993 |
|Location||West Yellowstone, Montana|
|No. of animals||47 (2017)|
|No. of species||14|
The Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center (originally Grizzly Discovery Center) is a not-for-profit wildlife park and educational facility opened in 1993 that is located in West Yellowstone, Montana, United States. It is open 365 days a year, and admission is good for two onsecutive days.
The Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
The Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center was started by Lewis S. Robinson, and opened in 1993 with three bears as the Grizzly Discovery Center. It was intended as a sanctuary for bears that were removed from the wild because they had become too familiar or aggressive with people. In 1995, the G.D.C was sold to New York-based Ogden Entertainment. A wolf exhibit and ten captive-born wolves were added to the center in 1996.
In 1999, Ogden Entertainment decided to close the center if a buyer couild not be found. Three long-term managers of the center formed a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation and made a $1.7 million offer to include the center and undeveloped land north and south of the center. The offer was accepted, and was financed by a 30-year financing package guaranteed by a United States Department of Agriculture program for rural development.
The center then made agreements with Yellowstone National Park to host some of the park's programs and to test bear resistant containers for the United States Forest Service. In 2001 it received accreditation from the AZA.
In 2002, the center was renamed "Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center," and purchased two buildings north of the center in order to house the "BEARS: Imagination & Reality" exhibit.
The bears at the center were all acquired after having become nuisance bears or the orphaned cubs of nuisance bears. They are provided with a large naturalistic outdoor habitat that includes a pool and waterfall, as well as private indoor areas. Bears are rotated into the habitat so that different combinations of bears can interact. Staff hides food in the habitat, and stocks the pond with fish, so that the bears can discover and catch food as they would in the wild.
This exhibit was originally created by the Science Museum of Minnesota, and is now permanently located at the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center after having traveled around the United States. It is an interactive exhibit comparing bears in myth, art, literature, and folklore with the bear known by outdoorsmen and researchers. It contains over 25 taxidermic mounts of grizzly bears and black bears.
The center has two groups of wolves. The High Country Wolves are the original residents, dating back to 2006, and were moved into their current habitat in 2009. The River Valley Wolf pack arrived as pups later, and are in a separate habitat. The two habitats are separated by the Naturalist cabin, and the two packs can see each other through the large windows of the cabin. In 2013 the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center added a third wolf habitat. (Source) 
The Naturalist Cabin, located between the center's two wolf habitats, lets visitors see two separate wolf packs from the same indoor location through large floor to ceiling windows facing each of the packs. The cabin also includes interpretive displays and a National Geographic film on wolves, and provides a place for the daily "Pack Chat." 
Ground squirrel Exhibit
In 2015 the Grizzly and wolf discovery center added a unita Ground Squirrel Exhibit that allows guests a deeper appreciation of predator and prey relationships. Unlike the center's bears, the Ground Squirrels are allowed to go through their natural hibernation. They emerge in March and go back into hibernation in August. (Source) 
Bird Of Prey Exhibits
In 2013 the Grizzly and wolf discovery center added four new bird of prey exhibits that house raptors that can no longer survive in the wild. In 2014 the center added an additional bird of prey exhibit and renovated the former golden eagle aviary into a new home for their bald eagles. The exhibit is open from April to November. (Source) 
in 2016 the Grizzly and wolf discovery center built a new viewing area for the bears called the Warming Hut. This new viewing area allows guests to view the bears while staying warm as well. (Source) 
In 2014 the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center built a new exhibit called Bears on Easy Street. It's an exhibit that teaches people how to be bear aware and also ways to keep bears away from your house. In 2013 the Grizzly and wolf discovery center opened a new kitchen behind the scenes, as well as a new playground area for children. A new outdoor amphitheater was added in 2014. (Source) 
Future plans include a Riparian Habitat Pavilion and a new bear exhibit. The Riparian Habitat Pavilion will highlight the effect of bears and wolves on the ecosystem. Animals to be exhibited in this pavilion will include river otters, cutthroat trout, boreal toads and American dippers. The new riparian habitat will also connect the river valley wolf habitat to the riparian building and will cover three acres of GWDC land. This exhibit will be open year-round and is expected to open in late 2018 or early 2019. The new bear exhibit will allow the center to rescue more bears that can no longer survive in the wild. The new habitat will feature river rapids for the bears to play in, trout for the bears to hunt for and will also rotate in and out of their habitat throughout the day. The new black bear exhibit will be at about 2 acres and is expected to open in 2020. (Source)