During construction of the park developer Mike Ferguson was ordered to halt excavations due to the delicate nature of the wetlands near the Snake River which was the location of the park. Work was halted in late April-early May, 1998, but most of the work for the park was already completed. According to the terms of the Clean Water Act developers are required to show that they will do no, or little damage to wetlands before work is begun. It is unclear whether Ferguson knew that he needed such permits in advance of beginning development.
On May 28, 1998 Madison County Commissioners voted to grant Mike Ferguson a permit to allow construction on the wetlands where the park was to be located. The vote was unanimous after local residents showed strong support for the project. This was the last step the park needed from county government officials before the park's construction could be completed.
On June 12, 1998 the first of Bear World's bears arrived to the drive-through wildlife park. The bears arrived two days after Ferguson reached an agreement with Idaho wildlife officials who gave him permission to bring in the bears on a temporary basis. This move allowed Ferguson an opening to avoid, temporarily, a ban on the commercial importation of black bears.
Yellowstone Bear World is the only drive-through wildlife reserve in the Greater Yellowstone area. The major attraction of the park is the ability of visitors to see grizzly bears, gray wolves, and other wildlife indigenous to North America in their native habitat from the safety and comfort of their cars.
Three times during each day the park offers children and adults the chance to bottle feed bear cubs and pet them. The feeding experience is part of a complete 'behind the scenes' visit with a professional animal keeper.
Visitors are encouraged to leave their cars and visit the petting zoo which is over one acre containing free-roaming farm animals and birds. There are also bottle-fed deer fawns or elk calves available at times.
There is an entrance fee for visitors to the park. Adults are charged $19.95, and senior citizens are given a $1 discount. Children ages 3-10 are charged $10.95, and toddlers under 2 are free. A full car load pays a flat fee of $89.95, up to 7 passengers. The bottle-feeding experience costs and additional $55 per person.
The park is open every day from 9am to 5pm from mid-May until Memorial Day. From Memorial Day until Labor Day the park is open 9am to 6pm daily. From Labor Day until mid-October the park is open from 9am until 5pm. The park is closed all winter.