1. Spot a jumping salmon
The Anchorage Sportfish Hatchery is a great spot to watch many of Alaska’s famed king and silver salmon leap high above churning water with the inner drive to spawn during annual “runs.” See trout, grayling, and arctic char, too, at this 134,000-square-foot facility over Ship Creek in Anchorage.
2. Go back in time
The Alaska Native Heritage Center will start the whole family swaying to centuries-old dances with encouragement of elders and youth from Alaska’s diverse Native groups. Take a tour of the authentic Native dwellings along the shores of Lake Tuilana and be transported back to a simpler time.
3. Ride the rails
All aboard the Alaska Railroad Glacier Discovery train along the Spencer Whistle Stop route, where a unique Diesel Multiple Unit (DMV) will chug down scenic Turnagain Arm straight to the flanks of Spencer Glacier. A rafting or canoeing day trip will bring kids up close and personal with a natural wonder.
4. Splish Splash
H2Oasis is Alaska’s only indoor waterpark and it's the fifth largest in the United States!
5. Meet an ice worm
Seriously cool and a bit icky, ice worms can be investigated at the Begich Boggs Visitor Center in Portage. Ask the Chugach National Forest Rangers about an “Ice Worm Safari” and be sure to see the interactive displays within the visitor center.
6. Dig for dinosaur bones
Not really, but the Alaska Museum of Natural History in Mountainview has skeletal remains from many of Alaska’s early creatures, some of whom would take over an entire house with their bulk! Don’t miss the Dig Pit, scavenger hunts, and check out the Wild and Wooly Mammoth, too.
7. Visit with a bear
The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is home to brown and black bears that, for various reasons, can no longer survive in the wild. Investigate their habits and habitats at this spacious facility in Portage.
8. See a beaver dam
Nobody works harder than beavers, and the folks at Eagle River Nature Center love to show off the hard work of North America’s largest rodent. Take an easy hike along the Rodak Trail to the viewing platform, then stop in at the center for some critter tracking lessons and Junior Naturalist programs.
9. Mouth-watering fun
See the mouth-watering world’s largest chocolate waterfall. The 20-foot high milk-chocolate wonder that would make Willy Wonka proud can be found at the Alaska Wild Berry Theater & Park. See how candy is made, walk along the wild berry trail and visit four live reindeer. Across the street at Sourdough Mining Company family style restaurant, kids of all ages enjoy the tales of Dusty Sourdough.
10. Shake it up
The Anchorage Museum Imaginarium Discovery Center offers hands-on science in the form of bubbles, sand, wax, and a host of other creative opportunities that aren’t just for kids (hint, hint, grownups). Experiment with gravity, create a volcano or make a giant bubble in this 9,000 square-foot corner of the museum in downtown Anchorage.