The non-profit Alaska Native Heritage Center honors the diverse indigenous peoples of our 49th state by chronicling Native cultures, languages, and traditions and instilling pride in Native communities. Alongside a serene lake, a wooded path winds through six life-size dwellings in the center's outdoor facilities. These re-creations of ancient homes showcase Alaska's 11 cultural groups, and at each site, cultural representatives perform Native dances, demonstrate games and art, and tell stories about life in the past. The Alaska Native Heritage Center utilizes education and celebration to spread knowledge of Alaska's unique Native cultures across the globe, while also preserving and perpetuating indigenous traditions.
Inside the museum, a collection of tools, artwork, and drums provides a tangible representation of contemporary Native people’s lives. The museum covers all native cultures in exhibits such as the Inupiaq exhibit and the Athabascan exhibit, which features a hand-woven birch-bark basket and moccasins made of moose hide and beads. To supplement the interactive displays, the Heritage Center conducts cultural outreach through a variety of programs, including the Walking in Two Worlds program, which connects 6th- through 8th-grade students with their cultural roots. The Alaska Native Playwrights Project helps Native people to find an outlet for their stories through theatrical productions and eloquent playbills.:
State investigator Suzan Armstrong sifts through heaps of paperwork, carefully mulling over government cases. Though her eyes focus on the documents' dense text, her thoughts momentarily drift away to daydreams about erecting a creative haven where people can funnel their imaginations into a slew of colorful crafts. In January of 2007, Suzan's reoccurring daydream materialized when she hung up her investigative briefcase, broke the glass on her emergency paintbrush holder, and opened her own franchise of Color Me Mine—named one of the top 10 places for kids' birthday parties by Parents magazine.
The 1,750-square-foot studio brims with décor and fixtures crafted by its own staff members, including custom-tile floors and a grandfather clock made from shards of shattered pottery. Patrons browse well stocked shelves of ceramic plates, vases, and—thanks to an exclusive partnership with the magic magnate—Disney characters, then garnish their chosen bisques around crafting tables in the main studio or long tables in the private party room. Experienced staff members stand closely by to help with bisque or paint selection and answer any questions about materials, design ideas, or how to emblazon Tinker Bell with a perfect Mona Lisa smile, then glaze and fire each creation to forge a bounty of long-lasting keepsakes.
Ever since The Alaska Club opened its first location in 1986, they've been striving to serve their members by adding amenities, classes, and opening new locations. Though each location’s offerings vary, they supplement their well-stocked fleets of cardio machines and strength equipment with cycling studios, climbing walls, basketball courts, swimming pools, and play centers for the kids. The club also offers spa services including hydromassage beds, tanning, and saunas.
Group fitness classes include yoga, step aerobics, and Pilates, and personal trainers stand at the ready to help clients focus on fitness goals. The clubs also offer swim lessons and summer camps for kids, setting in stone their commitment to making The Alaska Club a place for the whole family, not the half-formed family, which needs at least seven more years to gestate in the laboratory incubator.
The most popular films at the Alaska Experience Theater covers a monumental moment in area history: the devastating Good Friday Earthquake of March 27, 1964. After learning about the quake's massive power in the adjoining museum, viewers enter an earthquake simulator, shaking along with hydraulic tremors as a brand new documentary drives home the quake's destructive scale.
The Alaska Earthquake Experience is just one of the
various short documentaries on Alaskan history and lifestyle screened at the theater throughout the year. In the 96-seat main theater, a 40-foot screen commands attention. The theater displays longer documentaries along with cult classics, independent films, and wide release blockbusters. In addition to hosting these screenings, the theater can also be rented out for use in weddings, conventions, or other memorable events.
The Alaska Experience Theater's dedication to lively historical learning also extends outside of its walls. Out in the marketplace, two permanent exhibits reveal more information about the earthquake and display the full collection of prints by Alaskan artist Fred Machetanz.
In 1937, the nonprofit Anchorage Ski Club coalesced with the aim of preserving the Arctic Valley, which is surrounded by 320 acres of snow-dusted peaks that loom up to 4,000 feet high. The valley encompasses the 6-mile Arctic Valley Road as it weaves through sites for seasonal fun. During warm months, visitors chow down at the trailhead's picnic tables before hiking the 4-mile Rendezvous Peak trail, an easy path that overlooks the Anchorage Bowl, Cook Inlet, and other scenery that inspires awe and spontaneous poetry slams. As the sun sets on summer, wintry activities such as tubing and skiing take center stage. Ski routes range in difficulty, but each powdery course exudes the calm and isolation of backcountry with the safety features of a resort. Kids who are too young to surf the slopes can mold snow into forts, sled, or relax at Alpenglow Lodge. The sunny lodge lures in both youngsters and parents with two floors lofted over panoramic views of Anchorage.
Helmed by experienced trainer and former Buffalo State Bengals hockey captain Rocky Reeves, Rock Hard Fitness squeezes functional workouts into a convenient 30-minute package. A maximum class size of 12 ensures that each recruit receives trainer attention as well as group motivation. During strength-training sessions, exercisers of all levels bolster muscles with strength circuits, which alternate weightlifting with bodyweight exercises to prevent dumbbells from developing a superiority complex. High-intensity boot camps goad students to maximize their potential with dance, techno, and rock music that encourages shimmying betwixt reps. Core and cardio workouts then fortify heart health as they tone perspiring torsos and torch calories. Patrons should report to the Rock Hard studio for their indoor routines, which, like most psychic dentists, do not require prescheduled appointments. To help clients tackle their wellness goals as quickly as possible, the studio also offers personal training, meal-planning assistance, and Isagenix nutritional supplements.
Growing up in Chicago Heights, Illinois, Kelly Lee Williams was more focused on crossing the finish line at high school track meets than crafting the perfect punch line. In fact, it wasn’t until he took the stage of a Chicago-area comedy club in 2001—after stints as a soldier, an IT worker, and a DJ—that Kelly truly immersed himself in the world of professional comedy. In the years since his life-changing career shift, Kelly has honed his comedic chops with performances for audiences from New York to Montego Bay, coaxing forth laughs with witty self-penned songs. His plunge into the entertainment business has taken him across the country and earned him diverse gigs that include serving as a member of the Chicago Bulls’ Incredibulls squad to gracing the big screen with a speaking role in the recently released Drew Barrymore film Big Miracle. After making the move north to Anchorage with his family and pet rubber chicken in 2008, Kelly branched out again, adding the role of teacher to his expanding arsenal of occupations.
Body Renew Alaska's 12 boot-camp sessions (three classes a week) help participants shed pounds and build muscle in a group fitness environment. Each one-hour session, available at four different locations, will push participants' workouts to the next level to produce intense results in one month. Augment your muscle chiseling with six months of full access to eBodyLive, where users can utilize a customized online food and workout journal and four one-on-one video chats with a nationally certified trainer who reviews and guides each fitness program. The workouts—sent as detailed instructions with video clips and images—can be sent to most phones, allowing participants to access their fitness regimen from the same device they use to arrange meetings of the Millard Fillmore Appreciation Society.
Laughing Lotus Yoga of Anchorage’s founders, Kim and Svia, have shaped their studio around the mantra “freedom in practice”—the idea that clients should interpret yoga to best suit their own needs. In this mantra's spirit, the 11-yogi staff instructs classes in diverse modalities, such as stress-relieving Hatha, mind-and-body-balancing Kundalini, and Vinyasa flow, a mashup of styles. To further personalize lessons, instructors can tailor asanas and stretches to injured clients in private sessions, to expecting mothers in prenatal classes, or to children stressed from memorizing all the rules of freeze tag in yoga for kids aged 3–5 and 6–10.
An on-site healing team pampers physiques with traditional massages, Thai bodywork, and Rolfing. The studio’s boutique stockpiles yoga gear from brands such as form-fitting lululemon and festively tie-dyed Shining Shakti.
Curves has established nearly 10,000 gyms for women in more than 85 countries, with 4 million members worldwide. Three Anchorage locations invite ladies of all fitness levels to the training circuit. Circuit trainees gather in a circle comprised of 13 resistance machines and 13 recovery stations. During the course of a 30-minute workout, they alternate between machines that work two opposing muscle groups with a single motion and recovery stations where they run, dance, or swagger in place to maintain heart rates. Ladies carry Curves Smart chips that feed their personal fitness info into the training machines. A green light on the chip indicates sufficient workout intensity, which rises as one's strength increases.
Curves now offers the 90-day Curves Complete program, which pairs diet and exercise with the motivation of peers and trainers.
With its craggy mountains, monochrome tundra, and verdant valleys, Alaska itself stands as a monument to the beauty and power of nature. Focusing on the state's prehistory, the Alaska Museum of Science and Nature's sprawling collection of artifacts educates the public with engrossing and educational dioramas and displays. Among the museum’s notable exhibits is its newest installation, Ice, which delves into the profound geological changes wrought by the last Ice Age. Likewise, the Schmidt Mine exhibit lets visitors touch and pick up craggy specimens from the collection, including meteorites and fluorescent stones. Ancient mammoth bones and fearsome saber-tooth tiger jaws show patrons the fauna encountered by Alaska's first human inhabitants, whereas fully assembled dinosaur skeletons transport viewers even further back in time, way before the Jurassic Park movie came out.
In a steady procession, waves rear up to 4 feet high before collapsing and delighting waders with blasts of spray. Unlike ocean waves, these aren’t governed by the moon, and they don’t crash against a beach. Instead, they rhythmically rise and fall in the wave pool at H2Oasis Indoor Waterpark, which stays open year-round and is the state’s only indoor water park.
Outside of the wave pool, park visitors can find watery solace floating down the 575-foot lazy river with its gentle current. For a higher-octane experience, the Master Blaster water coaster rockets riders through a splash-filled adventure much safer than riding a scooter into the shower. And when it comes to entertaining the younger set, the four cannons on the park’s pirate ship evoke intrigue on its waters, and the placid children’s lagoon gives tentative youngsters a haven for safe play.
The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC) shelters orphaned, injured, and ill animals that could not otherwise survive in the wild. Bears, elk, and coyotes roam in a natural-habitat enclosure where they are regularly fed, rehabilitated, and given medical attention under the direction of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The AWCC seeks to educate the public about protecting Alaska’s native species with educational programs and tours. Patrons can also see the animals living in near-wild conditions, with bald eagles swooping to the ground in search of prey and wood bison plodding through 65 acres of tidal terrain. The latter comprise the only herd of wood bison in the U.S.: the species had been extinct in Alaska for more than a century until the AWCC acquired its herd from the Yukon as an effort to reintroduce the animal to the state.
Okamoto's Karate's dedicated karate and tae kwon do instructors transform pedestrians of all ages and experience levels into finely calibrated martial artists within fully mirrored training facilities replete with changing rooms. During a diverse lineup of classes, the highly trained staffers shepherd students aged 4 to typewriter-user through a dynamic training system that fuses Japanese karate with Korean tae kwon do, working to lay the foundation for active and confident lifestyles. In addition to hosting classes for average citizens and out-of-shape superheroes disguised as average citizens, the studio is also home to the world-championship team, Team Alaska, which has been featured on ESPN's worldwide telecast of the US Open & ISKA World Martial Arts Championships in 1999 and 2000.
Founded as a nonprofit by philanthropist Shana Harris, the Alaska Quake strives to build confidence and character through exhibition and education of basketball. A recent expansion member of the American Basketball Association,
the Quake suit up against West Coast competitors that include the Seattle Mountaineers. During games, the athletic young men of the Quake careen over the hardcourt with smooth pick-and-rolls and rim-rattling dunks, powered on by the cheers of the crowd and the energetic moves of the Quake Girls dance team. In addition to their regular-season competitive schedule, team players and coaches also lead youth skills sessions in the offseason, teaching future all-stars the finer points of foul shooting, ball handling, and ref-tickling.