New, $1.5 million ecology hall now open at North American Bear Center

by Tom Coombe for Ely Echo PROGRESS EDITION

The completion of a $1.5 million expansion was the highlight of a big year at the North American Bear Center.
The 8,000 square foot addition to the local attraction was completed last year and celebrated with a grand opening, ribbon-cutting and open-house style event last July.
Featuring exhibits including giant-sized mounts of moose, wolves, deer and other animals that can be found in the area, as well as interactive touch screens and audio and video, the ecology hall and the associated Hope Learning Center have dual purposes: serving both as an educational tool as well as a new drawing card to the local attraction.
But while the expansion is complete, progress continues at the NABC.
Earlier this year, the bear museum completed its “extreme makeover,” including an eye-catching, new front entrance to the facility.
The completion of the ecology hall and learning center capped years of effort.
Part of the initial vision for the facility, the ecology area enhances the existing museum which focuses on bears - including a live bear viewing area - as well as videos, photos, information and a children’s area all focusing on bears and the decades of research conducted by Ely’s Lynn Rogers.
Ahead on the docket at the NABC is a special day May 11, when anyone may come in for a free tour of the facility, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. that day.