Zoo in Anchorage


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In the late 1960s, Anchorage's grocers held a contest to see who could sell the most toilet paper. One of two first-place prizes was $3,000, but the victor chose the other?a baby Asian elephant. He quickly realized he couldn't take care of her, so he put her up in the heated barn of local horse rancher Sammye Seawell. Sammye fell so in love with this small pachyderm that she began housing other abandoned creatures?enough to fill a zoo. More than 40 years later, The Alaska Zoo's keepers and veterenarians continue this simple but powerful mission: to rescue orphaned, injured, and captive-born animals of the Arctic, sub-Arctic, and similar regions. Today, the zoo?s habitats house more than 110 animals from 53 cold-loving species. In semiaquatic zones, polar bears nap, harbor seals swim, and river otters attempt to solve calculus equations. In terrestrial environments, amur tigers play with a ball attached to a zipline, and black bears lounge in a hammock made from recycled fire hoses. Other habitats house residents such as snow leopards, reindeer, and wolves. In addition to caring for these animals, staffers conduct Iditarod-focused educational events in March and use animal-themed light displays to celebrate both the summer solstice and approaching winter holidays. They also raise awareness for wildlife through educational programs, such as seasonal adventure camps and zookeeper shadowing, and join in conservation efforts, such as serving as ambassadors for Polar Bears International and the Toupees for Bald Eagles Project.
4731 O'Malley Rd.
Anchorage,
AK
US
The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC) shelters orphaned, injured, and ill animals that could not otherwise survive in the wild. Bears, elk, and coyotes roam in a natural-habitat enclosure where they are regularly fed, rehabilitated, and given medical attention under the direction of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The AWCC seeks to educate the public about protecting Alaska’s native species with educational programs and tours. Patrons can also see the animals living in near-wild conditions, with bald eagles swooping to the ground in search of prey and wood bison plodding through 65 acres of tidal terrain. The latter comprise the only herd of wood bison in the U.S.: the species had been extinct in Alaska for more than a century until the AWCC acquired its herd from the Yukon as an effort to reintroduce the animal to the state.
Mi Post 79 Seward Hwy
Girdwood,
AK
US
What began as a colony farm built by the U.S. Army in 1935 became, by the mid-1950s, the childhood home of Reindeer Farm's head honcho, Tom Williams. After studying the habits of Scandinavian and Siberian reindeer herders in high school, Tom began to understand why the antlered creatures were considered the "cattle of the North": The brisk Alaskan climate suited their dense coats and languid presence at pool parties. In 1987, after years of practicing law throughout Alaska, Tom ventured to Canada to meet his first herd of reindeer, which he kept corralled next to a tiny sign and donation jar on the modest farm. Since then, that initial herd has blossomed into 150 reindeer, who graze beside 35 elk, 13 horses, one bull moose, and one surprisingly well-adjusted bison. Now a petting zoo, the farm has grown alongside the herd, with guided tours, scavenger hunts, and horseback rides treating guests to an up-close and hands-on experience with the majestic animals. Located in the colony's original chicken coop, a gift shop provides guests with any number of collectibles to commemorate their visits.
5561 S. Bodenburg Loop Rd
Palmer,
AK
US
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