Built in 1968 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the purchase of Alaska from Russia, the Anchorage Museum’s mirrored skin now holds an immense collection of exhibits that celebrate Alaska’s history and innovations in art and science. Using grants awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts and other organizations, Anchorage Museum was able to devote four floors and a small but well-appointed fourth dimension to art, cultural history, natural history, and science and technology—all represented by more than 25,000 objects.
Through a series of permanent exhibits, visitors embark on a cultural and geological voyage. More than 600 Alaskan Native artifacts on loan from the Smithsonian Institution join miniature dioramas of indigenous lifestyles in illuminating the cultures that first shaped the area, while other collections peer into the gold rush era, World War II, and the process of becoming a state. Itchy hands find relief in the Imaginarium Discovery Center, a playground for DIY discovery where visitors of all ages can touch sea stars, shoot air cannons, and learn more about what makes a volcano erupt or the aurora borealis cast its eerie glow.
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 sporting aficionados at Bearpaw Archery believe the art of the arrow can and should be a family-oriented activity. They frequently populate the 20- and 30-yard ranges on their Wasilla facility with activities, instruction, and events that involve archers as young as 5. Youth leagues and 10-week homeschool classes accustom kids to the sport, and veteran competitors and recreational archers are treated to league play and a pro shop outfitted with equipment from brands including Excalibur Crossbow, Genesis, and Parker Compound Bows. The archers also welcome high-level competition by hosting the state shoots—an event where skilled archers plant their arrows precisely where they want them: holding up that slipping poster from Woodstock ‘69.
Boasting a "steep and deep" mountain with one of North America’s longest continuous double-black runs, Alyeska Resort packs both an adventurous punch and about 650 inches of snow annually. The mountain benefits from top-to-bottom snowmaking capabilities across the 2,500 feet of vertical terrain, as well as a brand new Ted's Express high-speed quad chairlift to access beginner runs.
The 76 named trails crisscross 1,500 skiable acres, whose lower regions grant visitors breathtaking glimpses through coastal tree lines. As Claire Walter put it in a 2009 Frommer’s review, "No other resort combines true high-mountain terrain, a low oxygen-rich elevation, and splendid ocean views." In the summer, an aerial tram showcases lush flora and fauna and wildlife such as moose and a vacationing Smokey Bear, who acts as a trail guide.
Aside from quick bites at the Daylodge, skiers refuel with burgers and live music at the Sitzmark Bar & Grill or venture to the AAA four-diamond Seven Glaciers restaurant for more formal dining. Guests can rest their heads at the chateau-style Hotel Alyeska and soothe weary muscles at a full-service spa.
Not every hotel keeps an on-site helicopter, but Knik River Lodge has a chopper on deck for flight-seeing tours that show off the surrounding Alaska wilderness. Located about one hour northwest of Anchorage, the inn manages to be both isolated in woods teeming with mountain goats and moose yet convenient to the big city. Likewise, its 15 cabins let guests rough it without sacrificing luxuries such as down duvets on king-size beds, free WiFi, and private decks overlooking the surrounding mountains.
Housed in a yurt, the hotel?s on-site restaurant draws inspiration from African safaris. Candle lanterns provide the ambient lighting, and the menu emphasizes its muscovy duck and beef wellington. As the restaurant gets its produce, meats, and seafood from local sources, the menu also changes based on seasonable ingredients, but the selection of local beers and wines remains a steady staple.
In addition to the helicopter tours, other activities available through Knik River Lodge include bear-viewing and wildlife photography outings. Join an Iditarod musher and his dog team in glacier dog sledding, a distinct Alaskan pastime. Participants dash over snow-covered mountain slopes with plenty of opportunities for taking photos and pointing confused Tour de France bikers in the right direction.
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.