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.
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.