"There is a bear in the park."
Translation:В парке медведь.
It is a list or it is an answer. Yes or no? Has the park a bear? Да. Есть медведь. The zoo has seventy animals. Есть медведь, есть лиса… есть кролик. "Есть" Most often, we put in front of the interrogative sentence . Есть в зоопарке медведь? Есть в зоопарке кролик? Forgive me for my mistakes.
No, "to be" is быть. Есть is an obsolete/archaic 3rd person singular. I presume it once meant something like she/he/it is, now it has various meanings depending on its function... there is/are, (he/she/it) has, etc.
(To be honest, I can't offhand think of a context in which it means "to be", but I can't claim that my memory on Boxing Day afternoon is infallible!)
In that context, it means "there is" or "there are", not "to be". В парке есть медведь would mean "there's a bear in the park" (I don't recall if there's a particular context where actually using есть would be more appropriate), there's no "to be" in there. I'm not claiming there's no context in which it could be translated "to be" in contemporary usage, but I can't think of one, and that definitely isn't one.
Медведь в парке = The bear is in the park.
Unfortunately, I haven’t seen a good explanation of word order in Russian. Probably they exist somewhere, but I haven’t found them. So I’ll explain it based on my understanding as a native speaker.
The word order depends on what is the new information and what is already known (linguistically speaking, it depends on what's a topic and what's a comment). English uses articles for that (and marks new information with 'a', known information with 'the'), whereas Russian employs word order and intonation for that.
Russian generally places the new information in the end of the sentence.
So, in «Медве́дь в па́рке», «медведь» is the known piece of information: the speakers already knows there's some bear (therefore we translate it with «the bear»). And «в парке» is the new info you want to tell about the bear: the fact it's in the park.
In «В парке медведь» it's vice versa. «В парке» is something the speaker knows, and «медведь» is the new information: you want to tell some new information about what's in the park, and the information is that there's a bear.
However, this is not a strict rule, because you can use intonation to mark the new information. So if you emphasise «Медведь в парке», it will still be understood as «There's a bear in the park». But since intonation is not usually marked, we tend to avoid such word order in writing.
So if you were running for your life screaming "There's a bear in the park!" would you be more likely to say "Медведь в парке!" rather than "В парке медведь", or would the translation here still be the normal way to say it?
I hope I never need to know this, but I want to be prepared just in case... :-)
В is used when you can inside something, на is used when you go on the surface of something. So, в школе (because you can actually go into the school's building), but на пля́же (because you don't go inside the beach, you're on its surface).
This gets more complicated with парк because there is no roof, but since trees are tall, we somehow consider that we can go 'inside' the park. That's why we use «в» and not «на». This sentence sounds strange with «на», as if the bear is threading over the tree-tops or something.
It is not about plural vs. singular. We use "есть" to inform the listener about the existence of something and we drop it otherwise.
"В парке есть медведи" would be a perfectly normal warning to the visitors of some National Park. Somehow it would make much less since with singular "bear": are we certain there is just one in existence there? In some contexts it might work, of course, but it's not as natural.
"В парке медведь" would be a normal warning/scream following a sighting of a bear. Not sure why you would normally skip "есть" in this situation; seemingly we state the existence of said bear. Perhaps because you are expected to be less verbose in this situation. In general, the rules for using or omitting "есть" are more guidelines than strict rules. Both answers (with and without "есть") are acceptable.
Because in the English sentence "there" isn't really talking about location, it's just there because the sentence "is a bear in the park" needs something at the beginning. "There is X" just means "X exists". Because Russian works differently that word "there" isn't needed and just disappears in the translation.
The park is defined by its trees, and you’re among them, not on them, so you use «в». Compare «в лесу» ‘in the forest’, «в парке» ‘in the park’, «в городе» ‘in the city’.
Just to add to what others have said:
Logic notwithstanding, the use of "в" vs "на" for describing locations is sometimes random in Russian. In this example it is actually quite logical: в лесу (in the forest), в саду (in the garden), hence "в парке" is to be expected. But then it's "на лугу"= "in the meadow" but "в степи"="in the steppe". And then there is both "в поле"="in the field" and "на поле"="on the pitch/field", with the latter referring to sports fields. Notice, however, that English has the same "confusion" regarding in/on the field.
Because "Медведь находится в парке"="The bear is in the park"
The information that is conveyed by articles in English is often conveyed by the word order in Russian. There is a good explanation from a [deactivated user] why "Медведь в парке"="The bear is in the park". Your addition of "находится" does not change it. If anything, it makes your sentence more complete and hence unambiguous.
In general, I suggest you try reading this guide to the Russian word order.