Named one of the top 10 trail rides in the country by USA Today, Bardy's Trail Rides transports riders through pristine Alaskan countryside, providing visitors with an unforgettable vacation and residents with a fresh perspective on their home state. Groups of up to seven travelers trot alongside majestic mountains and ford rippling rivers, following an unsullied trail only accessible by horse or crafty zebras disguised in horse costumes. Amble beneath bald-eagle nesting areas and through the old town of Seward while listening to a native guide impart spellbinding true accounts of the region's destruction during a 1964 earthquake. Twice-daily rides commence at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m., but guests should arrive 20 minutes early to don provided helmets and christen horses with suitable names, such as Trailblazer or Car with Legs.
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.
Dedicated to studying and rescuing the animals of Alaska?s unique marine environments, the keepers of Alaska SeaLife Center facilitate encounters with marine life at an array of exhibits. Integrating the terrain of Resurrection Bay, the exhibits give guests an up-close view of animals at their most natural. Harbor seals sun themselves on the rocks, 2,000-pound steller sea lions glide ballerina-like through the water, and a giant Pacific octopus gestures with all eight arms during a solo rendition of ?Y.M.C.A.? Alaska SeaLife Center?s veterinarians also work behind the scenes at the I.Sea.U, a refuge for rescued marine mammals that has helped rehabilitate otter pups, walrus calves, and beluga calves.
The Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum takes visitors on a flyby of the the state's aeronautical history. The vast facility—composed of five hangars of planes and exhibits, a restoration hangar, and three theaters—covers aviation history from the early days of flight to modern military aviation. More than 20 vintage aircraft can be found throughout, including a 1931 Fairchild Pilgrim 100B, a 1943 Grumman G44 Widgeon, and a 1981 Boeing B737-290C. Meanwhile, the museum's spot on the south shore of Lake Hood—the busiest seaplane base in the world—gives visitors a glimpse of modern planes in action.
Supporting education. Building a stronger community. Creating accessibility. Alaska Junior Theater aims to do all that and more. The nonprofit organization hosts youthful audiences at educational and entertaining performances, which address subjects such as geography, social studies, and history. Dedicated to bringing the arts to the community at large, the organization also partners with villages and rural school districts throughout Alaska and includes bus transportation in its youth ticket sales.
Endless rows of machines and plentiful amenities make this recently updated, 40,000-square-foot gym a luxurious emporium of healthy living. Dimond Athletic Center offers a variety of equipment for total-body fitness, allowing members to break a sweat on Precor treadmills, stationary bicycles, free weights, and low-impact ellipticals, or firm up out-of-shape thumbs on the computerized, user-friendly Life Fitness machines.