Traveling With Kids in Anchorage
Alaska is a big state filled with plenty of pint-sized adventures. Family travel in Anchorage packs all-ages excitement and keeps both kids and parents happy.
Kid-friendly Museums and Attractions
Shake up your understanding of Alaska science with the Anchorage Museum’s Discovery Center. Create earthquakes and tsunamis, make Alaska-size bubbles and travel the stars in the planetarium. During live afternoon demos, you’ll also meet critters like sea stars, king crab and the museum’s resident snapping turtle, Chomper.
For even more animal adventures, the wooded trails of the Alaska Zoo are the perfect setting for encounters with creatures from all over Alaska and other regions with similar climates. Amur tigers, polar bears, wolves, eagles and moose are among the species that call the zoo home.
Can’t sit still? Dance along with performers at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. With life scale examples of traditional buildings, kids can also scoot through the narrow tunnel into the Inupiaq house. Inside they can touch musk ox fur and learn about traditional Alaska Native practices.
Find out if you have what it takes to be a bush pilot. Jump into the simulator at the Alaska Aviation Museum and take the controls in the skies over Alaska. The museum restores vintage Alaska aircraft, and the workshop is filled with aircraft projects in progress. The museum sits on the shores of Lake Hood, the world’s busiest floatplane base, making it a perfect location to watch planes roar off the water.
Putters Wild gives mini golf a neon glow. The 18-hole indoor course features wild, colorful sea life paintings under black light as well as air cannon blasters and other games.
Kid-friendly Hikes Near Anchorage
Get outside without getting outside your comfort zone. Anchorage is loaded with small hikes for little legs.
Start the day on the Coastal Trail and keep an eye out for eagles and moose. The 11 mile paved path is stroller friendly, and includes plenty of scenic overlooks, parks and benches for rest stops, especially on the stretch closest to downtown. You can also rent bikes of all sizes to get more mileage out of your coastal travels.
Head to Glen Alps for a hike around Blueberry Loop, a flat traverse named for the berries that grow there in late summer. Glen Alps has longer hikes and shorter walks too, so it’s a good option if you aren’t sure how far you (or the kids) want to go.
Eagle River Nature Center’s ¾ mile Rodak Trail includes interpretive signs and viewing platforms perched over salmon streams near the beaver dam. It also has some gorgeous views of the surrounding Chugach Mountains. The center also plans walks and special programming designed for preschool age kids and those in kindergarten through 6th grade too.
The Portage Valley is studded with glaciers. Get up close to a big one with a one-mile hike to the edge of Byron Glacier. If you’re uncertain where to start, head to the nearby Begich, Boggs Visitor Center for advice, or meet up with a ranger for a guided hike.
In late June, Anchorage sets aside a section of Campbell Creek during the king salmon run just for anglers 15 years old and under. Anchorage lakes offer easy access and great fishing for species including trout, arctic char and salmon all summer. Stocked fisheries like Cheney Lake, Delong Lake and Campbell Point Lake are each perfect for young anglers.
Free Family Activities in Anchorage
Some of the best things for kids in the city don’t cost a cent! Try one of these ideas for a free, fun getaway:
Enjoy a concert in Peratrovich Park. Anchorage Downtown Partnership’s summer concerts run several times a week from June to August.
View salmon from the platforms over Ship Creek, or watch for moose and migrating birds at Potter Marsh boardwalk.
Head inside the Alaska Public Lands Office for free movies on Alaska subjects and exhibits on Alaska wildlife and park lands.
Pop in to Alaska Wild Berry Products shop and marvel at the huge chocolate waterfall. You can also spot chocolatiers hard at work crafting candies in the adjoining workshop.