Docents can be found around the zoo interacting with the public and using hands-on artifacts and learning tools to teach visitors about the wonderful animals in our care.
As a result of their dedication, we are thrilled to be able to present Docent Lead Tours!
Here are the answers to commonly asked questions:
Do we need to pay admission to the zoo in addition to the tour fee?
No. Admission is included in the price of the tour.
How do we book a Docent Lead Tour?
Get an exact head count, complete the tour request form, submit the form for approval, send in the fee, and obtain a certificate of insurance. Once the fee and form are received and approved, your tour is booked. We will need the certificate of insurance within two weeks of booking your tour.
Why do we need a certificate of insurance?
The Big Bear Alpine Zoo requires this of all groups. It is easy to obtain if you are school or a civic type of group. Just ask your administrative office and they can usually have one for you in about a day. The requirements for the insurance are listed on the tour request form. If you absolutely cannot obtain a certificate of insurance, each person in your group must sign a release of liability form before being allowed in the zoo. If the group is under 18 years of age, a parent or guardian must sign the form, which we will need prior to the tour.
Can we book a tour on the weekend?
No. We only do tours on the weekdays
Is there a gift shop?
There is and it is filled with fun animal related items. Be sure to bring spending money.
Is there a restaurant or snack bar?
There is a snack bar which is open from May to September.
How far in advance can we book a tour?
These tours are very popular and we only book one per day. The earlier you book your tour, the better chance of getting the date that you prefer.
Can we pay with a credit card?
Yes. We accept both Visa and MasterCard.
How long are the tours?
Generally between 1.25 hours to 1.5 hours.
Will the Docents lengthen or shorten the tour to meet our time constraints?
Yes. Just tell us when you book the tour.
How many can we have in our group?
Our tours range from 10 people to a maximum of 80 per tour.
Will we be divided into smaller groups if we come with a large group?
Yes. We find it is easier to share information with those in smaller groups (around 20 or less per group).
What should we wear to the zoo?
We love it when groups have identifying shirts or hats. Our zoo is on a steep incline so we recommend appropriate footwear. In the winter, the zoo is very cold and shady. We recommend you bundle up and wear some sort of snow boot to avoid slipping.
Will we get to touch the animals?
No. These are all wild animals and for their safety and yours, there is no touching allowed.
What will we learn on the tour?
- The history of the Big Bear Alpine Zoo and why we are so important to the San Bernardino National Forest
- Where the animals came from and why they must remain in our care
- Interesting facts about each animal in our care
- Fun facts like what a Mountain Lion’s tongue feels like and how far they can jump and the size of a grizzly paw
- What you can do to protect the animals in the wild
- How the Big Bear Alpine Zoo staff rehabilitates and releases animals
- What are the rules you will ask my group to follow?
- Absolutely no fingers in the cages. Remember these are wild animals. Should you be bitten, the Health Department requires us to euthanize the animals. For both your safety and the animals, keep fingers out of the cages.
- No running
- Please don’t yell at each other or at the animals. Remember you are guests in the animal’s home. They don’t like loud noises.
- Don’t feed the animals. They are all on a special diet to maintain their optimum health.
- Stay with your tour guide. This includes teachers and parents as well. If you wander off, you might miss a fun fact.
- Don’t climb on any railings or climb on any fences. Keep your feet on the ground at all times.