Baylor Bear Habitat Celebrates Indy and Belle’s First Birthday, Launch Habitat Club Membership

Guests are welcome to block party-style event to celebrate Judge Indy and Judge Belle on their milestone birthday

January 18, 2024
Two American black bear cubs climbing on logs inside of a natural rock habitat

Indy and Belle climbing on fallen logs inside the Bill & Eva Williams Bear Habitat in the heart of Baylor's Waco campus. 

Baylor University is hosting a joint first birthday celebration for Judge Indy and Judge Belle – the University’s beloved American black bear cubs – at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)-accredited Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat. The block party-style event will be hosted at the Bear Habitat Saturday, January 27, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Adding to the milestone occasion, the program is launching the Baylor Bear Habitat Club, an annual membership that offers a way for the Baylor Family to gain unprecedented access to behind-the-scenes content from the caregiver team. Member benefits include a commemorative coin, a quarterly newsletter, children activity pages, priority early merch access, a birthday card on the subscriber’s birthday and exclusive Zoom calls with the bears and the caregiver team.

Baylor Bear Habitat Club members will also enjoy “close friend” status on the @BaylorBearHabitat Instagram page, receiving exclusive stories, posts, polls and content.

To join the Habitat Club, an annual donation of $55.56 – honoring Belle and Indy as the 55th and 56th live bears on campus – will earn all the benefits of the club, with all proceeds going directly to care for Belle, Indy and Lady, as well as education and conservation efforts of the Baylor Bear Habitat.

Subscriptions for the 2024 calendar year may only be purchased from January 18 to January 29 at 12 p.m. CT.

Free commemorative t-shirts will be available for the first 500 Baylor students, with additional shirts available for purchase. A portion of each purchase will include a gift to the Habitat. In addition, individuals may add-on additional monetary support to help fund the care of Indy and Belle. The online storefront for merchandise and the Baylor Bear Habitat Club annual subscription can be found at

Visitors to the Habitat will enjoy free access and family-friendly activities, including a live DJ, caricature artist, face painting, bounce houses and balloons. Local food and drink vendors will have trucks along the M.P. Daniel Esplanade with refreshments available for purchase.

Free birthday cake – for humans – will be available to all visitors while supplies last.

Officially welcomed to the Baylor Family in May 2023 and moving full time to campus in August 2023, Indy’s birthday is January 24, while Belle’s birthday is close behind on January 29. The birthday bears – cousins by birth – will enjoy plenty of unique birthday enrichments to help mark the occasion.

Along with Indy and Belle’s celebration, Judge Lady, now permanently residing at the Bear Habitat’s private auxiliary facility, will celebrate her 22nd birthday with her own special enrichment treats, which the Habitat team will share on social media.

With guiding pillars of stewardship, education and conservation, the Bear Habitat has cared for bears on campus since 1917. The construction of the Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat in 2005 and the program’s AZA accreditation in 2021 were milestone achievements along the way to developing the Baylor Bear Habitat into a gold standard animal care provider.

The addition of Indy and Belle has built unprecedented excitement across the University, giving visitors even more reason to stop by the Baylor Bear Habitat. This tremendous responsibility carries a high financial commitment – one that would not be possible without the generosity of the Baylor Family. For more information about how to donate to the Bear Habitat and continue the legacy of this important Baylor tradition, and the conservation and education opportunities the bear program provides, visit


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.