Tyler Crawford shared a video of the incident on Facebook, writing that it was an “unexpected visitor.” In the footage, the bear can be seen digging through a trash can. At one point, it charges toward a man who was trying to scare it off by clapping.
“Can someone make this thing leave?” one bystander says.
After a few more chaotic moments, park staff finally chase the bear off down a flight of stairs.
“I don’t believe he liked the way his food was prepared as he ran back down to the kitchen to complain,” Crawford joked on his Facebook post.
The bear apparently didn’t make it to Black Bear Village, which opened last week as part of Anakeesta’s $6.5 million expansion. The incident Crawford recorded happened in the theme park’s Smokehouse restaurant, Knox News reported.
“Wow,” one commenter wrote under the video. “Now THAT would ruin my meal.”
A park spokesperson told Knox News that no one, including the bear, was hurt.
The Gatlinburg area and nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park are known for their large black bear population.
Anakeesta is the same theme park where a rider on a mountain coaster had to hit the brakes in August as a family of bears crossed the tracks in front of him.
After that incident – which was recorded in a viral TikTok video – an Anakeesta spokesperson told Fox News that it was a “particularly active” season for local bears.
“It is not uncommon to see a family of bears in our park, or in Gatlinburg, the gateway city to the national park,” the spokesperson said.
In order to discourage bears from entering the park, Anakeesta told Knox News that it uses bear-proof cans and that trash is removed throughout the day so it doesn’t pile up. They also have stringent cleaning policies.
But as Crawford’s video shows, bears do have minds of their own, especially when it comes to food.