A wide range of trips throughout Southcentral Alaska.
Anchorage: 45°/64°/Partly sunny
Daily News archive 2004
Ahpun, the Alaska Zoo's polar bear, plays in her exhibit. Ahpun was rescued near Point Lay in 1998. The zoo, 4731 O'Malley Road, is home to a variety of animals from northern climates, including Amur tigers, snow leopards and yaks.
Airport Visitor Information Centers
The Anchorage Convention & Visitors Bureau's airport centers can be the first stop for tourists on their Alaska adventure. There is a center in the airport's south terminal C concourse, one in the north terminal's lobby area and one in the north terminal's secure area.
Where: Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport
When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily
Phone: 266-2437, 266-2657, 248-1062
Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum
The museum overlooks Lake Hood, the world's busiest floatplane lake. It has 20 different airplanes and remnants of others on display, including a 1944 Grumman Widgeon amphibian plane and a Stinson L-1, an Army reconnaissance aircraft and the only one still flying. The museum also offers a presentation of Alaska's aviation heritage and its flying pioneers and veterans. Exhibits include photo displays, the early bush pilots and the Alaska Aviation Hall of Fame, and several films are shown in the theater throughout the day. An observation platform is a good place from which to watch local pilots take off from Lake Hood. There is a gift shop.
Where: 4721 Aircraft Drive
When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, closed Tuesdays
Cost: $5 adults with discounts for military, seniors and children
Alaska Botanical Garden
Gentle walking paths guide visitors to beautiful perennial, rock and herb gardens in a wooded setting. Interpretive signs help with plant identification, including native plants along pathway borders. Don't miss the erratic, a boulder left behind during the last ice age. The Garden Fair is June 25-26 and includes a children's village, music, food, plant and craft vendors, garden speakers and a juried garden art show. The garden connects with the Lowenfels Nature Trail, a 1.1-mile trail adjoining the facility with interpretive signs on the trail.
Where: Campbell Airstrip Road, south of Tudor Road
When: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
Cost: $5 individual, $10 family suggested donation
Alaska Native Heritage Center
This year, the center continues the theme "Living From the Land and Sea," an exploration of traditional hunting and gathering methods of Alaska Native peoples. The center also offers interpretive displays, daily performances by Native dance groups and five traditional Native village exhibits on the 26-acre site.
Where: 8800 Heritage Center Drive
When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, May 8 to Sept. 24
Cost: $20.95 adults, $18.95 military and seniors 65 and older, $15.95 children ages 7-16, free ages 6 and younger
Alaska Visitors Center
The visitors center near the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is a warehouse of information. Staff members answer questions and direct visitors to the right trip or activity throughout the state. Ticketing and reservations are available, along with bicycle and cell phone rentals.
Where: 4616 Spenard Road
When: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
Phone: 929-2822, 1-888-655-4020
The zoo provides homes for many orphaned and injured Arctic species. Visitors can learn about wildlife ranging from raptors to camels. Native and exotic species at the zoo include polar, brown, black and glacier bears, moose, caribou, Amur tigers, snow leopards, Dall sheep, Bactrian camels and an African elephant. The zoo continues to make changes, with renovations planned at the seal and otter exhibits, a new black bear exhibit and an enlarged elephant house complete with a treadmill. A picnic area, gift shop and coffee shop are also on zoo grounds.
Where: 4731 O'Malley Road
When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily; open until 9 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays in June and July
Cost: $9 adults, $8 seniors 65 and older, $5 students ages 13-18, $4 children ages 3-12
Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge
Birdwatchers will love the refuge. A boardwalk takes visitors into the heart of the wetland for easy birdwatching, complete with interpretive displays of the refuge's animals and plant life. Some of the birds that call the Potter Marsh area home are arctic terns, Canada geese, trumpeter swans, grebes, gulls, ducks and other waterfowl. Salmon also return to the area. Nearby is the Potter Section House Historic Site.
Where: Mile 115 Seward Highway
When: Open daily
Today, the area is a peaceful park with outstanding views of downtown Anchorage and the Alaska Range. Before March 1964, it was a lively community with dozens of homes; they slid into Cook Inlet as a result of the 9.2 magnitude earthquake that struck Southcentral Alaska and caused $68 million in damage in Anchorage. The earthquake is the largest ever recorded in North America. The park has a trail system with interpretive signs to help visitors understand the destructive power of the earthquake. The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail cuts through the park.
Where: West on Northern Lights Boulevard
When: Open daily
Far North Bicentennial Park / Hillside Park
The parks include about 4,000 acres of rolling, forested hills. There are miles upon miles of trails perfect for hiking or mountain biking. Chester Creek flows through Bicentennial Park. From the Spencer Loop trail, there is a beautiful view of Mount McKinley. Wildlife encounters are possible.
Where: Off Tudor and Abbott roads
When: Open daily
Heritage Library Museum
Thanks to the generosity of the Rasmuson family, the free museum is home to some beautiful and historical Alaska items. Within the walls of the Wells Fargo Bank, visitors will find Native artifacts and baskets that date back hundreds of years and artwork by Sydney Laurence, Fred Machetanz, Ted Lambert and others. The museum also displays ivory carvings. Tours are available upon request. There also is a noncirculating reference library of more than 2,600 books on Alaska subjects.
Where: Wells Fargo Bank building, 301 W. Northern Lights Blvd.
When: Noon to 5 p.m., Mondays to Fridays, Memorial Day to Labor Day
H20asis Indoor Waterpark
If the skeeters and rain are plentiful, why not try out indoor warm-water fun? Attractions at the $7 million park include a wave pool, a slow-moving river, hot tubs, a pirate ship lagoon, a 150-foot water slide and a 505-foot Master Blaster water-coaster ride. The river is open for exercisers from 7 to 10 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; admission is $5.
Where: 1520 O'Malley Road
When: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
Cost: $19.95 adults, $14.95 for ages 3 through 12, free for ages 2 and younger
The park includes about 1,400 acres of rolling, forested hills. There are beautiful views of Mount Susitna, Fire Island, Mount McKinley and stunning sunsets. More than 35 miles of trails are perfect for hiking or mountain biking. The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail ends at the park chalet. Wildlife encounters are possible.
Where: West end of Raspberry Road
When: Open daily; gates open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.