Meet a Grizzly Bear at the San Francisco Zoo

Meet a Grizzly Bear at the San Francisco ZooLast Thursday, my friend Cindy and I were headed to the San Francisco Zoo for a behind the scenes tour and to get up close to the Grizzly Bears…all thanks to IfOnly.

Cindy was pretty pumped for our bear themed day. She brought gummy bears for the car ride plus wore her bear shirt.IMG_0001

It was Cindy’s first time at the San Francisco Zoo and I had not been in years. We were told to meet at the big cat statue in the front of the zoo to meet our tour guide, Katherine.IMG_0003

We got really excited when we saw that Katherine had a golf cart for us! Already I knew it was going to be a really fun experience. There was still some time before meeting the Grizzly Bears, so we got to visit some animals on the way.IMG_1140

Katherine took us inside the giraffe building to see the newest member of the zoo.

What a cutie! I am a sucker for baby giraffes. I love that they are all awkward looking and wobbly. It looks like they are standing still so they don’t fall down. It was fantastic to hear Katherine give us details about the giraffes and how they are cared for at the zoo.

Our next stop was the gorillas.IMG_0004 IMG_0008

Then it was time for the Grizzly Bear feeding! We parked the golf cart and headed over to the Hearst Grizzly Gulch. To my surprise, they had a section just for us to see the bears!IMG_0022 IMG_0034

But we didn’t stay there long. An animal keeper, Sandy, met us at the sign and asked if we wanted to go to the side of the fence to get up close to Kachina and Kiona. In 2004 the two sister cubs were found roaming around Montana and getting too close to the grain storage…and near the town. The wildlife team reached out to the SF Zoo because they were to be euthanized if they didn’t find a home. Of course the zoo took them in. At the Hearst Grizzly Gulch, we were told the story of Monarch, the grizzly bear that was the inspiration for the San Francisco Zoo and whose image appears on the California state flag.

Needless to say, we were in awe of the bears. It was mesmerizing to watch the bear tear into the ice block full of fish. Those claws were massive! Her sister is a little reserved and was wandering around the back of the exhibit.

Sandy had a bucket of fruit so we could get even closer to Kiona. We were constantly warned about not getting too close to the wall because she could reach us.IMG_0049

I never thought I would get that close to a Grizzly Bear. That was truly a once in a lifetime experience! Sandy was amazing and was nice enough to answer all of our questions. Even when I asked if bears like honey. (They do.)

Then Katherine took us over the sea lion pool to meet to meet two special animals in need, Silent Knight and Henry. Both sea lions are blind and no longer able to survive in the wild, Silent Knight and Henry were rescued by The Marine Mammal Center and found second chance at life here at the San Francisco Zoo.


Here they are trained to show their body during a quick health inspection. Each trainer has a shaker and guides the sea lion to the fish.IMG_0062

Katherine had a meeting to get to, but she was kind enough to show us one more exhibit. Here we met Uulu, one of the oldest polar bears in captivity at 35. This year on International Polar Bear Day, the SF Zoo gave Uulu a snow day.

The rest of the day at the Zoo was spent exploring the animals on our own.

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IfOnly is giving my readers a special promo code to get $50 off your first experience, just use PINKCHEEK at check out! Also, if you are interested in becoming a luminary (experience leader), you can find more information here. Bonus – you can use promo code PINKCHEEK to jump ahead of the application list.

What is an experience that you always wanted to try? Visit IfOnly to check out experiences that are perfect for Mother’s Day!

7 responses

  1. Cindy

    You forgot to mention the part where we saw a chimpanzee pee on another chimpanzee. ???

    1. I couldn’t see it from the pictures we took! That pee stream was too thin!!

  2. So fun! What a cool experience. 🙂 Love your website, by the way!

    1. Thank you so much!! We had so much fun on our experience. So memorable!

  3. AMAZING! This is next on my IfOnly to do list!

    1. You should do it! I had signed up for the Red Panda feeding but they were all booked. This was a great experience as well 🙂

  4. […] You might remember my friend Cindy from our adventures at Hog Island Oyster Company and when we met a Grizzly Bear. […]