If you live for the outdoors, then you’ll love Anchorage. With its proximity to some of the best skiing, hiking, mountain biking, fishing and wildlife viewing in the country, the city is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. But love the great outdoors or not, Anchorage has a number of activities and museums that would appeal to the whole family.
The state’s largest museum includes exhibitions from local wildlife to native cultures to Alaska’s rich history. The museum’s signature exhibit is the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center, previously housed in Washington D.C., with over 600 Alaska Native objects, like art, tools and masks. The museum holds the largest Native collection in the state. Inside, you’ll also find: the Imaginarium Discovery Center, a hands-on science center for kids; and the Alaska History Gallery, filled with life-size dioramas tracing 10,000 years of human history
Alaska Native Heritage Center
The renowned cultural center and museum is on a 26-acre complex and is the ultimate resource when it comes to learning about Native cultures. Inside the main building, you’ll find exhibits featuring the traditional arts and sciences, such as Native kayaks and rain gear as effective as today’s outdoor gear. Outside you’ll find various performances and structures from the Aleut, Yupik, Tlingit and other tribes around a gorgeous lake.
It’s the only zoo in North America specializing in northern animals, such as snow leopards, polar bears, Amur tigers, Tibetan yaks, Dall sheep and Alaskan native species. The zoo is also renowned for rescuing animals who can no longer survive in the wild, including moose, caribou, seals and wolves.
Tony Knowles Coastal Trail
The 11-mile paved path is perfect for a day of biking, rollerblading or cross-country skiing, depending on the season. As you venture down the path during the summer, there’s a good chance you’ll see beluga whales in the adjacent Cook Inlet. During the winter, moose are abundant in Kincaid Park. Plan to spend the whole day as there’s a lot to stop and see along the way, like the occasional moose or bald eagle nest.
The popular 3-mile round trip hike to the top is easy to follow but may require some scrambling near the top of Alaska’s most visited peak. But your effort will be rewarded with stunning, panoramic views from Denali to the Aleutian Islands.