It’s not every day you can see dancing bears. Clark’s Bears started from humble beginnings in 1928 and has since grown to one of the White Mountain’s biggest family-friendly attractions. Nestled along the banks of the Pemigewasset River along Route 3 in Lincoln, Clark’s has an abundance of activities for the young and young at heart.
Over 90 Years of History
Clark’s Bears first opened as a roadside attraction by Florence and Ed Clark in 1928. “Ed Clark’s Eskimo Sled Dog Ranch,” featured guided sled dog tours for travelers visiting the White Mountains. Originally from Westchester County, New York, Ed Clark spent three years in Labrador managing raw fur trading posts where he fell in love with sled dogs. Upon his return to New York, Ed brought home a sled dog team and quickly realized New York wasn’t the place for a sled team. Ed and Florence fell in love with the White Mountains and the Clark family still calls it home today.
In 1931, Florence and Ed purchased their first Black Bear and added the famous Black Bear Show to their growing trading post. It wasn’t until 1958 when the Clarks started the White Mountain Central Railroad that the family business started to grow into the modern day park that you see today. Over 90 years later, Clark’s Bears is a family affair. It’s not uncommon to see over 20 family members working at the attraction during the height of the summer.
Clark’s Bears is fun for the whole family! With a variety of rides, shows, and museums, there’s something for everyone at Clark’s. First introduced in 1973 by the longtime employee, Leon Noel, the infamous Wolfman is eager to please in his unruly ways. Just hop on board the White Mountain Central Railroad and look for the famous backwoods recluse and all his antics.
On a hot summer day, cool off on the Anaconda Escape, a 300-foot waterslide comprising of lots of twists and turns, drops, and plunges. If you’re not soaked yet, head over to the Water Blaster Boats for even more splish, splash fun. You’ll definitely want a towel after this ride! Climb to new heights on the Old Man of the Mountain Climbing Tower, a 30-foot replica of the famous Old Man of the Mountain.
Let your feet rest and jump on a Segway for a ride through the park. Clark’s is home to the nation’s first Segway park. Just watch out for the Wolfman! Merlin’s Mystical Mansion will be sure to turn your world upside down and the Yandong Chinese Acrobats will make you question your own flexibility. Catch a crowd-pleasing show full of high-flying tricks and contortions. And, of course, you can’t miss the Bear Show at Clark’s! Two baby girl cubs have been added to the bear family. Make sure you check out the how the adorable new additions have grown this summer!
Take a stroll down Main Street to visit one of many museums and eateries in the picturesque Victorian town. The brick American Museum is full of old-time Americana treasures, like steam and gas engines and old advertising from yesteryear. For car enthusiasts, you don’t want to skip Avery’s Garage with its fully-restored 1931 LaSalle Touring car and Mobil gas pumps. You’ll find antique horse-drawn fire engines at the 1884 Pemigewasset Hook and Ladder Fire Station.
After all the exploring and fun, you’ll be ready to fill your belly. For something hearty, stop by the Whistle Stop Snack Bar for burgers and fries, sandwiches, and more. Pullman’s Lunch has pizza, sandwiches, and paninis. For the classic summer treat, visit the 1890s themed ice cream parlor, Peppermint Salon, for an ice cream sundae. Boxing fans will be excited to hear that part of the bar is from Sharkey’s Tavern’s 145-foot bar in Boston.
On your way out after a long day of fun, stop by Clark’s Main Gift Shop to pick up a few souvenirs to remember your trip to Clark’s Bears. There’s something for everyone and many of the items are made in New Hampshire and the United States.
Plan Your Visit
Clark’s Bears is open from Memorial Day through Columbus Day weekend. Days and hours vary so check out their website for more details!
For state-wide information, head to VisitNH.gov