Bear pair stars at new attraction
ELY, Minn. — Black bears Ted and Honey have become the main attractions at the new $1.7 million North American Bear Center in Ely, near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
The center, in the heart of Minnesota bear country, expects about 50,000 visitors a year. Its mission will be to educate the public about bears, said Lynn Rogers, a bear researcher from Ely who first envisioned the center.
The center includes a two-acre enclosure for Ted and Honey Bear, bear-viewing areas, interactive displays, audio displays of bear sounds, DVDs of bear body language and vocalizations, photographs, stuffed and mounted bears, a theater, a kids room and nature trails.
Ted and Honey Bear, who center officials hope will mate, are on loan to the center from Jeff Traska of Wausau, Wis.
"Ted is the big male," Traska said. "He’s just a big, happy bear. All he wants to do is lick your face. Honey is kind of more high-strung and afraid."