Travel Tip: Bjørneparken

The browns bears were once feared in all of Norway, but the brown bears today are shy of humans and tend to stay far away. If you want to see these large animals up close, your best bet is going to a zoo, and what’s a better place to stop for seeing brown bears than a zoo that is straight up called “the bear park”?

Bjørneparken has several of Norway’s large predators readily available, and in addition to the brown bears, you will also get to see wolves, red foxes and lynxes. In addition to the Norwegian predators, the park also has a few different species of cervids like the moose, reindeer and red deer, some reptiles and amur leopards.

Although Bjørneparken is not the biggest zoo around, it has some great exhibitions where you have a high chance of seeing the animals up close, as well as several fun play areas for the children, so it’s a great place to stop by for a few hours.

The brown bear feeding area in Bjørneparken
The brown bear feeding area in Bjørneparken. Photo: Nicklas Iversen /

Animals that you can see in Bjørneparken

The main attraction of Bjørneparken are the brown bears. There are two enclosures with two brown bears in each of them, so there’s a total of four different bears in the park. These are fed in front of the audience every day, so you can get to see them show off to get something to eat.

The other predators in the park are the red foxes which you can actually feed from your hand (at certain times of the day), the lynx and the wolves. Both of the latter two are also fed in front of the audience, and especially the lynx enjoy to do a little show for the audience to get his food.

And let’s not forget the amur leopard. This is obviously not a Norwegian predator, but there are two of them in Bjørneparken. These can be great at hiding, so again, make sure to take a look during the feeding time to get a good look at them.

You can get a close look at grazing animals like reindeer, moose (can be fed by the audience), red deer, and some farm animals. There is a small reptile house where you can see a few alligators, crocodiles, turtles, and snakes.

A crocodile at Bjørneparken
A crocodile at Bjørneparken. Photo: Nicklas Iversen /

What makes Bjørneparken worth a visit

Bjørneparken is typically not a zoo that people travel very far to get to, but it’s rather one that is a great stop for a few hours if you are already passing by. It’s location just two minutes away from Rv7 makes it a perfect stop if you are travelling with children, and you will be passing this zoo if you are travelling between Oslo and Bergen.

The zoo is roughly two hours away from Oslo, so it’s a nice time to stretch your legs and have some fun. The park itself is rather small, so you won’t have to spend more than a few hours to see all there is to see in the park.

There are play areas for the children, an interactive predator museum, and even a small roller coaster. The zoo has a lot of fun activities for children, but a party of animal interested adults will likely have much more fun at one of the larger zoos in Norway.

The main attraction in Bjørneparken are the large predators. Some of them are fairly easy to spot like the brown bear, but the wolves and lynx often enjoy chilling out far from where the guests can see them. If that’s the case, you will want to take part in the feeding program, which you will find when you enter the park. This shows the times when the animals get fed, and they will almost certainly show up for feeding time, giving you a good chance to take a close look at them.

Jungle gym for children in Bjørneparken
Jungle gym for children in Bjørneparken. Photo: Nicklas Iversen /

Getting to Bjørneparken

To get to Bjørneparken from Oslo: Drive E18 south towards Sandvika and follow E16 and the signs to Hønefoss. From Hønefoss, change to Rv7 and follow this until you get to Flå. In the main roundabout in Flå, take a left, then a sharp right. It is very easy to find Bjørneparken when you get to Flå.

Total drive time is around two hours, but it can be closer to 3 hours if you are really unlucky with traffic, which is likely to happen on Fridays.

To get to Bjørneparken from Bergen: Cross Hardangervidda using the Rv7 route, then drive until you get to Flå.

The amur leopard enclosure in Bjørneparken
The amur leopard enclosure in Bjørneparken. Photo: Nicklas Iversen /

Some thing to keep in mind when visiting Bjørneparken

Below are some things I would advise you to keep in mind while visiting Bjørneparken, to make your visit more enjoyable:

  • Bjørneparken is a very steep zoo, with lots of uphill walking to get to some of the enclosures like the wolves, lynx or farm animals. Be prepared for lots of uphill walking!
  • Make sure to keep track of the feeding times and opening times. Things like the roller coaster operates on time slots, and it is not open all day long (yes, it’s very strange). So make sure to check out the feeding times and other time slots for the park when you enter if you want to do it all.
  • The park is usually very crowded just after opening, but settles down after 2 PM.

Bjørneparken opening times

Bjørneparken is open to the pubic from about Easter to the autumn vacation (usually around the start of October). It is closed during the winter because most zoos in Norway don’t really get a lot of guests during winter, so it’s cheaper to keep it closed.

It’s only open during the weekend and public holidays in the off-season, but it’s open every day during the summer months (June to end of August).

Opening times are from 10.00 to 18.00, but it closes earlier on certain times during the off-season. Since opening times tend to vary a lot, I advise you to check out the current opening times yourself on their website.

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