Bearadise Ranch is a unique attraction in a natural Florida setting and home to the famous Welde family bears. Established in 1926 to promote awareness for habitat preservation and conservation for all bear species, and it all began with Johnny Johnsen Welde in Trondheim, Norway. Welde had a fascination with bears and a dream as big as the Norwegian sky. His love for these animals became a reality when he ran away and joined the circus and made his American debut with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus for the 1947 and 1948 seasons.
With his wife, Tove and daughter, Conny, they settled in Tampa, Florida. They left the circus and went into Hollywood where they made movies for Walt Disney, 20th Century Fox and Universal Studios. Their bears also appeared in television shows such as the Lucille Ball Show, Beverly Hillbillies, and Lassie just to name a few.
Generations later the tradition continues with grandson and 3rd generation animal trainer, Johnny D. Welde. His love and concern for bears in the wild has urged he and his wife, Monica, to offer Bearadise Ranch as a learning facility to teach people about what bears are facing in the wild today. Unfortunately all species of bears are threatened or endangered due to man and loss of habitat. Some of the bears on the ranch are descendants of the original bears his grandfather brought from Europe and some have been adopted into the family. These are bears that were in need of a home and have found a forever home here. Bearadise Ranch is a natural habitat facility and is licensed and regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. On the grounds you will view the bears in a natural habitat and take a stroll through the museum and gift shop. Educational presentations are also part of the tour. If you love bears, you won't be disappointed. Learn about bears and gain an appreciation for these magnificent animals on a tour to Bearadise Ranch.
Myakka City, Florida
Tour days are Thursdays and Saturdays.
Reservations are required.
941-322-2462 or www.bearadiseranch.com.
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