To finish out my week in New Hampshire I decided to visit Clark’s Trading Post. Home of the Famous Bear Show. Now, I’m not usually one to enjoy entertainment where animals are forced into performance, but Murray Clark, one of the bear trainers and narrator of the show, assured me that at Clark’s they train their bears with only love and ice cream. He said they never use whips or chains or anything painful, and that the Clark bears live about four times longer than their cousins in the wild. I still kind of wished the bears were free to live as they pleased, but I felt mildly better that they weren’t abused and lived nice long lives.
The bear show was actually a lot cooler than I thought it would be. Each bear had their own act. One bear had a bit with Murray about “bear” aspirin. In the act, when Murray says he’s getting a headache the bear walks over to a prop first aid kit pulls out a bottle of “bear” aspirin, brings it to Murray, and then returns the bottle to the first aid kit when Murray’s done with it. It was pretty cool. Corny, but cool.
Not as cool as bears riding scooters though. I bet you never knew you wanted to watch a bear ride a scooter did you? Luckily, you’re in luck. I took a video. I figured a picture just wasn’t going to cut it.
The best part of the bear show was probably Murray. I really appreciated his corny jokes and commentary as he interacted with the bears. He genuinely seemed to love the bears and enjoy what he was doing, which was nice. The show was only a half an hour, with two bears each performing for about fifteen minutes. At first I thought the show was kind of short, but now I feel like if it had been longer I would’ve gotten bored.
Next I jumped on the White Mountain Central Railroad through Wolf Man’s territory. I found it annoying. The scenery was nice and I would’ve enjoyed just going for a ride on the train, but the Wolf Man chased the train, first on foot, and then in a car. He had a microphone that went through the train’s speaker system but he wasn’t enunciating so all I heard was incoherent yelling. Like I said, it was annoying. Another bothersome thing about the train ride is that it dead ends. Yep, we got to the end of the line, stopped and then just took the same path back. Is a loop really so much to ask for? I almost rode the train again because there seemed to be more things to look at on the other side, but I just couldn’t handle the thought of listening to the Wolf Man again, so I skipped it.
I wandered into the few museums they have at Clark’s, but they were basically like being in an antique store, cool old stuff, nothing to write home about. The main strip of Clark’s reminded me of Universal Studios in Orlando, and made me really wish I was at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter instead. To appease my appetite for the magical world I checked out Merlin’s Mystical Mansion. From the way they advertised it it sounded like it was going to be a haunted house or something. In reality, we sat in some chairs, had a hand bar come down in front of us, and then the room rotated around us. It was pretty trippy. They had strobe lights and then turned on black lights and had glow in the dark paint on the walls in the room, which was cool, but definitely not what I was expecting. The whole thing was over in about three minutes.
Tuttle’s House also was not what I was expecting. By this point I’d gathered that all of Clark’s is basically a huge corny joke/cliché. While I appreciate a good corny joke, and even laughed a few times during the tour of Tuttle’s I just didn’t understand the point of it. It’s basically a house that’s slanted, and the guide tells the comical story of the Tuttles and how the Tuttle son was lazy and engineered ways to get out of doing stuff, like pulling a rope to release pool balls to ring an alarm to wake him up for breakfast. Weird.
Testing out the segway made me a little woozy. I felt like I was going faster or slower even when I wasn’t changing my body position at all. I was convinced I was going to fall off and make a fool of myself. Thankfully the three minute trial ride only allowed time for three laps around the path before I had to return it and I managed to stay upright the whole time.
The Old Mill Splash Zone was also less fun than I expected. While I’m glad the soakers were off, because I didn’t want to get wet, the bumper boats themselves were hard to steer, that or I was just really impatient and kept over correcting. When you bumped into someone it was only a squishy tap. I don’t know, it looked like a lot more fun than it was.
The Old Man of the Mountain climbing wall was easily my favorite part. I did the medium route and it had an underhang, which I’ve never done before, so that was cool. I even made it all the way to the top and rang the bell in one try – go me!
I caught the tail end of the next bear show, which had a different bear from the show I saw earlier. The new bear had a different act. I appreciated that each bear did their own thing. The cool part was at the end of the new bear’s act they had a raffle to give away teddy bears and this girl above me won, but actually it was her boyfriend proposing! I died a little on the inside. Getting proposed to in front of all those people, at a bear show nonetheless, is definitely not something I would enjoy. The girl seemed to really like it though. I’d overheard her earlier on the train talking about how often she comes here, though why, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out. She said yes. Good for her.
I stopped by the main gift shop on my way out and saw this adorable picture of Murray’s father and a baby cub – it was probably the best part of the whole experience:
I’d done a little backtracking to get to Clark’s from where I spent the previous night, so I passed the Basin again and I stopped to try to get a better picture since yesterday’s post didn’t have a good one. It’s pretty freaking cool..right?!