Bear Hollow Zoo in Athens, Georgia is a free and fun little zoo that takes in orphaned or injured animals from Georgia’s native wildlife and gives them a new home.
Take a trip to Bear Hollow Zoo, an animal sanctuary that’s a haven for native animals that houses over 100 native species and provides a safe and nurturing environment for them. Bear Hollow Zoo offers a unique experience for everyone to discover a deeper connection to Georgia’s native wildlife.
Bear Hollow Zoo
How can I resist a zoo that is named specifically after bears? That’s right, I can’t. So now every time we go to Athens (which has been only two times so far), we go to Bear Hollow.
Bear Hollow Zoo is located in Athens’ Memorial Park and is free to visit. The zoo is home to native Georgia animals who cannot be released into the wild, usually because they had been orphaned, injured, or become too used to people.
The zoo is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, and the Reptile House is open on Saturdays (and some Sundays) from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission to Bear Hollow Zoo is free.
Bear Hollow Zoo Animals
Get to know the animals at Bear Hollow Zoo! They have bears, birds, reptiles, cats, otters, deer, and more.
Bear Hollow has three black bear residents, though I have only seen one bear. DJ has lived at the zoo since 2003, and cubs Athena and Yonah came to the zoo in 2010.
The first time we visited the zoo last winter, they were remodeling the bear habitat and fixing the viewing deck. On our second visit, it was cold and the bears would rather have been sleeping. On this visit, we only saw one bear when he was sent out by the zookeeper who probably needed to clean his indoor habitat.
I don’t know where the other bears were, but I guess I’ll just have to go back again!
Right next to the black bears is Honovi, a bald eagle with a wing injury. Since he can’t fly, he has an uncovered habitat, unlike the other birds.
The resident owls all have great names – Hooch is a barred owl with an eye injury, and Eeyore and Winnie the Whoo are great horned owls with bone and muscle injuries.
A red-tailed hawk named Ohoopee and some turkeys also live here.
The zoo’s reptile and amphibian residents include snakes, alligators, frogs, tortoises, and a soft-shell turtle hybrid (which is a non-naturally occurring hybrid between a Florida soft-shell turtle and a local turtle).
Other animals who have made their home at Bear Hollow include a bobcat named Katie, two opossums who aren’t people-shy at all, two river otters, and two white-tailed deer.
It’s a lot of animals for such a little zoo! But if you miss some, you can just as easily come back and try again, which I will definitely have to to to make sure I see all three bears!
Bear Hollow Zoo FAQ
It costs nothing to visit Bear Hollow Zoo! The zoo is absolutely free!
No, Bear Hollow Zoo is open year-round. However, the reptile house may be closed during the winter due to the reptiles preferring warm weather.
No, there is no food or drinks for purchase at Bear Hollow Zoo. However, the zoo is just a few blocks from some great places to eat in Athens.
Where to Stay in Athens, Georgia
Find the perfect place to rest your head on your visit to Athens, Georgia, from the top rated accommodations to unique stays you can’t get anywhere else.
- Top Hotel: Graduate Athens
- Great Value: Country Inn & Suites by Radisson Athens
- Unique Stay: Athens Condo in Renovated Church
Ready to visit Athens, Georgia? Plan your trip with these tips.
- Book Your Flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
- Find Accommodation: You can find top hotels in Athens using Hotels.com.
- Start Packing: Check out my packing list resources so you’re prepared for your trip.
What’s your favorite animal at Bear Hollow? Let me know in the comments!