Bear-Ology is a black bear exhibit where you will uncover many truths about black bears and dispel myths. Visitors also have the opportunity to learn why the Coastal Plain of North Carolina has the world’s largest black bears and why we have the highest black bear densities on the planet!
Bear-Ology is an outgrowth of Tom Harrison’s passion for North Carolina’s black bears. Tom is a local entrepreneur in a small town in which residents often wear lots of different hats. During his career, Tom has served as president of the Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Development Assoc., Historical Society, Chairman - and now Director - of the Washington County Travel & Tourism Authority. As a lifelong outdoorsman, Tom has spent endless hours observing bears in the wild. He has an extensive collection of black bear photographs, which have been published in numerous magazines, newspapers and brochures.
Tom created the award-winning, wildly successful NC Black Bear Festival in 2015 and served as Director for the first 8 years. Bear Fest has won numerous awards including Best Festival in NC 4 times and Best Festival in the 9 Southeast States twice. Tom has been named Director of the Year in North Carolina and in the Southeast. In 2023 the event became the National Black Bear Festival. The success of the festival was the result of the hard work of Tom's office staff and many volunteers and organizations catching the vision and working together.
Having created the NC Black Bear Festival, Tom saw the need to have a year-round black bear education facility so visitors could learn why we have so many bears and why they weigh so much. Since Tom serves as the Travel & Tourism Director, he saw a black bear museum as an opportunity increase visitation to Plymouth and Washington County. So in the spring of 2016, Tom opened Bear-Ology with its small state-of-the-art surround sound theater, interpretive center and workshop.
Do Coastal North Carolina bear hibernate? Find out at Bear-Ology. What do they eat that makes them so extraordinarily large? See examples of their food from each month of the year.
Do bears like honey? Learn the truth!
Are female bears with cubs more dangerous than male bears? Come and discover the answer to this and many other questions. Watch a 17 minute Blue Ray film about NC black bears in our Surround Sound equipped theatre.
See two mounted bears that weigh over 700 lbs. One of these bears was the second largest in North Carolina on record as of 2012, weighing 780 lbs. It is currently #4 in the State. Our bears just keep getting bigger!