Canyonlands Restaurant at Bearizona officially opens

Canyonlands Restaurant opened earlier this month at Bearizona Wildlife Park. The restaurant is fast, casual dining

Canyonlands Restaurant opened earlier this month at Bearizona Wildlife Park. The restaurant is fast, casual dining

Bearizona has officially opened its much anticipated 6,000-square-foot restaurant, Canyonlands.

The restaurant has been a year and over $1.5 million in the making. The themed restaurant features soaring canyon walls and ancient ruins that allow diners to immerse themselves in the true spirit of the Southwest. The expansive two-story covered deck includes priceless views of the park’s spectacular jaguar exhibit, which features a 25 foot waterfall.

The design and construction of the Canyonlands Restaurant, located next to the gift shop at the park, was completed by Jesse, Josh, Ann and Jonathan LaBenne. They have been working at Bearizona since the parks inception in 2009. Over the years they travel back and forth from their home in Afton, Wyoming as new projects arise at Bearizona.

Bearizona owner Sean Casey said he and Jonathan LaBenne had fun brainstorming together about what they were going to do next. Casey and LaBenne met at Bear Country, a similar wildlife park, run by Casey’s extended family in South Dakota.

The restaurant has a Southwest canyon lands atmosphere. As patrons enter the restaurant, floor to ceiling sculptures of rock walls, ruins, and the Grand Canyon surround them.

The Kennelly family, who owns Station 66 Italian Bistro, the Historic Brewing Company and the Grand Canyon Winery in Williams, will run Bearizona’s restaurant.

Bearizona operations manager Jocelyn Monteverde said, in a previous interview, the 6,000 square foot restaurant will be considered fast casual but will offer a buffet line for larger groups such as bus tours.

The park currently has a snack bar, but the restaurant will offer more food options and indoor and outdoor seating for about 500-600 people.

Canyonlands Restaurant will open its doors at 10:30 a.m. and will close two hours after the park’s posted closing time. This restaurant is only accessible to park guests and annual pass holders.

Bearizona is a wildlife park which invites guests to experience a scenic three-mile drive in their own vehicle, witnessing North American animals in their natural environment. In Fort Bearizona, visitors can leisurely stroll along winding walkways through the forest for an up-close view of even more animal antics. Guests are encouraged to catch the complimentary Birds of Prey free flight show, where they will come face to face with hawks, owls and other raptors.

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