Nature abounds in Alaska and Anchorage has a little bit of everything for you to see while on your next vacation. Take the time to see something truly unique and head over to the Fur Rendezvous Festival where you can see sled races and more. Some nature attractions that you will want to see are the Alaska Naturally Aurora Show, Westchester Lagoon, Chugach State Park and Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. You can also take in a little culture and have a learning experience at Alaska Native Heritage Center. To get a more detailed picture of all the different things you can do while in the area read further.
This amazing, unique and culturally significant festival is held in the winter, an alternative time to visit but the best time to come and celebrate Alaskan culture and wintertime. You can partake in anything from snowshoe softball, shop the native arts market, check out the outhouse races, stand in awe at the ice sculptures during the contest, see the rare but fun "running of the reindeer" and of course ogle over the gorgeous sled dogs at the sled dog race. This should be at the top of your list- after all, it made ours!
Eleven miles of paved path await you at the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. You'll be able to enjoy the plants and wildlife up close with your camera while on foot, rollerblades, bikes, or cross country skis. Another perk to this attraction is that it is free of charge to explore year round. The summer is arguably the best time to go, as the trail winds its way around Cook Inlet and this is where you can catch glimpses of beluga whales.
This venue has done a fantastic job of preserving the unique cultures of Alaska. There are people and customs from Alaska that are much older than the cities and modern places that exist there today, and they're all made available to you at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. The center has been divided up into three main sections: an exhibit of seven traditional tribal dwellings, a gallery of native cultural artifacts and a performance hall where native community members tell stories, dance and share their culture with guests.
Address: 8800 Heritage Center Dr, Anchorage, AK 99504
From 10am to 10pm daily this park is open to visitors who are seeking to explore the Alaskan outdoors without having to go too far out of the city. It's located in the city's southwest area and overlooks Cook Inlet. The views are unparalleled and the trails are well groomed - the perfect recipe for an unforgettable experience.
Anchorage Museum is the state's largest museum and the best to visit if you're in town. Its galleries and information range from the history of Alaska to its wildlife and native cultures and peoples. Many leave pleasantly surprised at the high quality of the museum as well as at how interesting the Alaskan history portion turned out to be for them.
This state park is so diverse in nature- you've got your wildlife habitats, your skiing and rock climbing areas, and of course the half a million acres of hiking trails. It's an 18-mile drive east of downtown Anchorage but the breathtaking scenery is well worth the car time to get there.
Yes, Westchester Lagoon is another outdoor venue, but how could you come to Alaska and not expect to check out all of the stunning natural wonders that it has to offer? This is a place where you can see what the locals do to hang out and have fun. It has something for everyone and is a popular spot in the area, so get your lunch packed and head out there!
Even if you come to Alaska in the summertime, this show is available for you to see the aurora borealis that is typical of the months that see more darkness. Dave Parhurst, the creator of this show, brings you 40 minutes of Alaska's Great Northern Lights in a film composed of thousands of northern lights pictures streamed together. It is awe-inspiring and stunning and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The state of Alaska has historically relied heavily on transportation due to its isolated location, so it makes perfect sense why the railroad system has been so valuable there. You can take a guided tour and pass by mountains, rivers, forests, glaciers and the ocean all in one short trip to Anchorage's train depot.
If some of the prior attractions left you feeling nervous regarding Alaskan wildlife encounters in the, well, in the wild- then head to the zoo where you can see all of these beautiful creatures up close but with a little security between the both of you. Many of the animals have been rescued, which is even more of a reason to check out this quaint, devoted venue. The wildlife range from polar bears and moose to wolves and seals and are so treasured by locals that they all have been named.