After a long, spectacular flight we landed at (Senator) Ted Stevens International Airport.
Our US Air flight arrived in Anchorage at Ted Stevens International Airport's north terminal, with the international carriers, but most domestic flights use the main south terminal. This doesn't have the amenities of the main terminal but there's lots to see and it reminds you of many things you came to see. We got our luggage and took the shuttle to the south terminal to pick up our rental car. Rentals are down on the garage level, so we needed the elevator.
Leaving the airport
wasn't too stressful. We followed Mapquest out to the Merrill Field (where the Amazing Race contestants landed in helicopters) Inn. The rush hour in Anchorage isn't the logjam you see in bigger cities, but it was busy.
We wanted to see something of the native peoples. Joe had read Michener's 'Alaska' and knew something about the Athabascans in the interior and Inuits on the coasts.
The Anchorage Native Heritage Center, outside of town, was a wonderful way for us to see how man adapted to Alaska's many climates and terrains. The staff and performers came from the different tribes and clans from all over the state. They were knowledgeable and friendly with a good sense of humor (we got an unexpected Tlingkit version of the hokey pokey). We were invited to join in the 'butterfly' (visitor) dance at the end of the show. Nobody should miss this!
This is the entrance to one of the meeting houses. It was carved out of a single tree. There are examples of dwellings from all Alaskan tribes, some dug into the ground and others built from logs and other wood products, all painstakingly carved by hand.
No, these aren't mammoth tusks... they're whale ribs. You get some idea how big the cultural center's grounds are. Things are not crowded giving a very natural feel to the exhibits.
This Aleutian ivory carver had some beautiful things out of walrus, whale, elk, caribou, brown bear and even a knife carved out of mammoth ivory ($1,500).
We took a drive out to Eagle River Valley and Crow Pass after leaving the cultural center. It was rainy and cloudy but truly beautiful. We stopped several times to take pictures.
JJ used his phone to send pix to friends.
Sightseeing in Anchorage
There are many things to see and do in Anchorage and so little time. Here are some things you may enjoy that we will try to include on our next trip to Alaska:
Biking along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail or the Lanie Fleischer Chester Creek Trail.
Saturday Market - Located between 4th and 5th Avenues is a MUST if you want to try a reindeer hotdog or pickup souvenirs at 'street' prices.
Fishing - Fly fishing is available through Rust's Flying Service 800-544-2299. They will fly you into a lake and provide everything you need or you can bring your own gear.
Salmon fishing - is available in season right in the streams and rivers in and around Anchorage. Get more information at Alaska Department of Fish and Game 907-267-2218. You can rent everything you need next to the bridge at Ship Creek right downtown near the railroad station. Travel downstream about five minutes to see where Amazing Race contestants battled with cod and alaskan crabs.
6th Street Outfitters - Shop where the Amazing Race finalists picked up a clue...for all of your Alaska needs. Don't forget your gear bag!!!
Alaska Zoo - is full of Alaskan animals (your only chance to see a polar bears) well as many from all over the world. Admission is $9 for adults and $5 for children. Call 907-346-3242 and inquire about the shuttle available from downtown and for daily hours of operation.
Anchorage Museum of History and Art - located downtown, this is the largest museum in the state with constantly changing exhibits and art galleries 907-343-4326. Admission is about $6 and children are free.
Resolution Park - See the statue of Captain James Cook in the park named after his ship. Captain Cook made his last voyage here seeking the Northwest Passage. Unsuccessful, he went back to Hawaii where he died. A clue box from Amazing Race was placed right next to this famous statue.
Chugach State Park is loaded with amazing scenery and breathtaking views of Alaska's number one attraction-its natural unspoiled beauty.
Hiking in Far North Bicentennial Park or from Glen Alps Trailhead to Flattop Mountain. If you are spending any amount of time in Anchorage it is a must to get out and see the wilderness and taking a hike is the best way to do it!
Whitewater Rafting is available close to town on the Eagle River for as little as $35 and we understand it is terrific for beginners. Call Lifetime Adventures 907-746-4644.
Eklutna Cemetery - The blend of Russian and Indian traditions is amazing and can be seen in the church yards. 26 miles north of Anchorage is the Eklutna Historical Park and it is worth the drive. There is a Dena'ina Indian Village dating back to 1650!
Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum - located across from the airport terminal and right on Lake Hood has a variety of rare vintage aircraft and a flight simulator. The address is 4721 Aircraft Drive or call them at 907-248-5325.
Anchorage People Mover - you can get unlimited bus trips daily on the local people mover for $4.00 per person. Passes are available on board. This might be a better way to get around town instead of an expensive car rental.
Note: Always be on the lookout for wildlife - even in the city. Over 1,000 moose call Anchorage home as do 5 packs of wolves, 80 black and 60 brown bear!
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