Determined to help visitors not just see but experience the majestic beauty of Chugach National Forest and Chugach State Park, Alaska Backcountry Access's guides offer day trips and multiday wilderness outings all yearlong. Come summer, the landscape springs to life as plants bloom and migratory animals return to the area. It is during these months that the guides lead outings exploring the region by land and by water. On whitewater rafting and kayaking trips, they traverse the surrounding waterways as snowmelt streams down the mountainsides, and their hikes journey throughout the canyons and forests while occasionally stopping to explore gold-panning sites or noteworthy natural features.
But their excursions don't stop for the winter?the guides simply change their approach. Snowmobiles, snowshoes, and portable snow-cone machines become the equipment of choice as the guides continue to lead trips throughout the area's frozen landscape.
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.
At Seward Helicopter Tours a dog team escorts visitors on summer and winter tours preceded by helicopter flights. Guests can trek among the icebergs of Bear Glacier, soar above the whales, sea lions, and harbor seals of Resurrection Bay, or rest in a sled as dogs power it through Godwin Glacier. Seward Helicopter Tours' pilots can also drop guests off on half- to multiday kayaking trips or two-hour guided excursions through an ice field's moulins, moraines, and vacationing zambonis.
South Pacific—a story originally brought to life by Broadway greats Rodgers and Hammerstein—presents a titillating and tangled web of love lines, country allegiances, and tetherball death matches, set against the backdrop of World War II. Power-ballad seeking patrons will swoon as they're swept away by the melodies of "Bali Ha'I," "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair," and "Some Enchanted Evening," resounding within the sonically engineered Discovery Theatre. With its two-tiered seating area, swooping curved walls, and a ceiling of silver-saucer acoustic disks, the theater treats earthbound ears to an out-of-body experience unknown since Killer Klowns From Outer Space: The Musical .
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.:
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.