Shug the grizzly bear didn't always love the spotlight. Before coming to Bear Path Acres Animal Education Center, she was claustrophobic, and accustomed to eating fried chicken instead of a more natural diet of deer. It took months of enrichment and training with the center's owner, Debbie Jeter, to coax Shug out of her shell. Today, however, Shug happily wanders her large enclosure, performing tricks for visitors when the mood strikes her.
Shug is one of many animals at the nonprofit center. Her companions include a tiger, foxes, tortoises, wolves, and even a striped skunk. Though the fauna vary by species, they share a single mission: to educate people on the wonders of wildlife and conservation. Guests can observe the animals during regular hours, or sign up for a twilight tour, during which the nocturnal creatures are more active and less prone to shout "Hey, pipe down!"