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.
It can be hard to tell the difference between a beautiful dream and an actual tour from Alaska's Finest Tours & Cruises. Participants enjoy surreal experiences such as taking a boat cruise right up to the face of Portage Glacier, or heading to an active mine to learn gold-panning techniques superior to just yelling "Gold!" and hoping it comes when called. Tours also traverse across Alaska's wildlife, giving guests an up-close look at belugas, eagles, and bears.
Southern hospitality dictates that guests be taken into the home, fed, and kept cozy for the night. But up north, the Alaska Travel Adventures team warmly welcomes visitors by urging them to veer far from their front door. They help guests explore the landscape by designing whitewater-rafting adventures, kayaking tours, nature-trail walks, or panning for gold and sharing bits of history. For lunch, riverside campfires grill fillets of wild salmon and inspire stories from the Klondike gold rush. To complete the day, Alaska Travel Adventures keeps a fleet of newer-model RVs for guests to sleep in so they don't have to set up tents or convince a bear to share its cave.
Jeep and Jeep Wrangler are registered trademarks of Chrysler Group LLC.
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.
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Average Duration of Services: 1?2 hours
Parking: Parking lot
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Brands Used: Deco-Art, Lego, Duplo, Lakeshore Learning, Melissa & Doug
Recommended Age Group: Kids
Pro Tip: Don't forget to bring socks. Drinks with a lid are allowed, but no outside food due to allergies.
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Collaborative play
As the old adage says, "Stuff happens." What training do you and your staff have to stay ahead of the unexpected?
Owner Jennifer Stratton is not content to sit idle. Aside from her creative pursuits, she is also currently seeking a degree in early childhood development. Jennifer has taught art classes based on literature, story-writing workshops, card making and personal publishing.
What is the experience customers can expect, and how do you make it special?
We are an indoor play and art studio for families. We offer art classes for all ages?even grownups. Whether you choose to build, imagine, experience, create, or perform, we will cater to your creative needs and families will easily move through our playscapes.
What?s your favorite part of your job?
At the play studio, we get to experience the occurrence of actual learning: real, organic learning through play, not just curriculum in books. Unscheduled play encourages literacy skills, creativity, and problem solving, and as a business owner I love hearing kids laugh, learn, and play.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
No one is too old to learn through play.