Each year in Fairbanks, thousands of giant clear blocks of ice are transformed into beautiful sculptures, slides, tunnels, a maze, and even a phone booth at the Ice Park. This is a large park and the carvings are very impressive. From February 25 - March 25 the Ice Park is open and you can walk around and admire the ice sculptures. Youll also see ice sculptures all around town throughout the winter. Its a growing tradition and I enjoy it.
There is an ice musuem downtown (indoor) for summer visitors. I havent been there yet.
For more ice sculpture photos see Aurora907's page!
Its 8$ to get in, and the park is open from 10am to 10pm. This was my first year to visit the park... its well worth the price and Ill probably go at least once more (at night) before it all melts. There is a lodge where you can warm up and get hot chocolate.
There are hundreds of sculptures. This years park includes a huge Stonehenge re-creation and an entire dog sled team. The sculptors start with giant blocks of ice and you can watch them carve. The detail and intricacy of some of the exhibits is amazing!
World Ice Art Championships March 5 -10, 2006 and every year.
From February 27 -to March 25 in 2007.
Many types of ice sculpture and it is soooo cold they hold up very well.
1st Place Abstract was Sunrise Over Spring Water
by a Russian- American team, Sergei Zaplatin,
The University of AK Musuem of the North was an informative and comprehensive look at Alaska's history. All ages can find something of interest, whether it involves the animals of alaska, prehistoric and current; gold in Alaska, soft (fur), hard (gold itself), or black (oil); or the history of the native peoples or the pioneering sourdoughs. Oh, and the view from outside the museum was beautiful on a clear day.
One of our first stops was at the Vistor's Center in downtown Fairbanks. This ended up being a very wise decision, despite the prostests of the guys in our group about "winging it." The ladies here were very friendly and helpful and did not steer us wrong. Their insight was beneficial in making decisions between conflicting activities. They were also very helpful about visiting other areas of the state. Definitely got our vacation off on the right foot.
We had a choice between this and the Gold Dredge #8, but due to the recommendation of someone at the Visitor's center, we took a chance on this one. This is a very touristy thing to do, but, that said, we had a FABULOUS time. The initial train ride with our conductor was worth the price of admission alone. We were waiting on a bus group to arrive and had some time to kill, so he entertained us with stories and his fiddle. Wow, can he play! The site was very informative about the gold mining history of the area, and my nephew wrote a great report for school with this information. Then we got to pan for gold. The staff is very helpful, and they guarantee that you will find at least eight pieces of gold to take home with you. (If you don't they give you another bag to pan until you do.) We found $24 in gold all together, but the girl in front of us found about $44. The owners are very friendly as well, and gave some personal attention to my nephew (who now has gold fever). This was one of the best activities we did the entire vacation, and certainly the best family activity we did! Highly recommended.
(But well worth it)
My family went to the 8 p.m. show at the Ice musuem across from the visitor's center in Fairbanks. We had a great time here, the proprieter, Dick Brickley, was very friendly and gave us a lot of facsinating information about the area. There are several types of ice carvings (huge) and we had a great time walking through the frigid exhibits and experiencing the cold of Fairbanks in Winter (this was late May). The kids can experience the ice slide, and the owner may even let them sit on the polar bear. Tons of great photo oppotunities! We had a great time.
You have to time it right, but if you can see the breakup of the river ice on the Tanana it is pretty impressive. We usually like to go down to the wayside rest down Chena Pump Road just before you start going up the hill to Chena Ridge. You are just down below where the Chena meets the Tanana and the river gets much narrower, which makes for some good breakup action. We bring a cooler down and get a fire started. Sometimes we spend many hours there if the action is good. Its kind of a party atmosphere.
You can see the "end of the line", as well as see where the local newspaper, the News-Miner is printed (it's right next door to the train station).
That big cylindrical thing to my left is a "pig" -- it's inserted at the end of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, and it "flows" through the pipe to the south end. It helps clean sludge off the walls of the pipe.
February 2006: The "pig" has been removed, but everything else is there!
A canoe float on the Chena River is a relaxing tour through downtown Fairbanks and neighborhoods.
You can rent a canoe from an outfitter at Pioneer Park. They will even transport you.
Take a cooler of snacks and beer or stop along the way at some of the bars like: Boatel bar, Pumphouse
The Alaska Air Museum is a building in Pioneer Park. It is maintained by a volunteer organization and charges $2 admission. Well worth it for aviation buffs. It has a memorial to Will Rodgers and a model or replica of his aircraft. The rest of Pioneer Park is free and well worth your time to see.
This is a great activity to do year-round, no matter what age you are. Local weatherman Mike Shultz and his business partner Darwin have created a fun environment for miniature golf enthusiasts, in the heart of downtown Fairbanks.
The price is affordable, there's music, and party rooms are available. The glow in the dark paintings are great and were accomplished by the wonderful wives of these 2 entrepreneurs.
Click on the link, or follow my contact information.
The University of Alaska Museum. The museum is very interesting as it displays many items of the native eskimos as well as explained thier cultures. There are also many monuments located outside the musuem including totem poles and rockets.
Keeping your camera handy is important. When I was there in April and May of 2005, I came with a point and shoot Mickey Mouse digital camera. For one thing, some of the wildlife shots are completely gone if you have digital shutter lag. Bring the 35mm or a new digital SLR. Also, long lenses are good too. Often, that lynx or carribou will turn out to be a blurry spec unless you have at least a 200 if not a 300mm lens or better. I missed a shot of an eagle because of shutter lag and my shot of the lynx and coyote is so fuzzy, I won't post it. Never again.
Chena Hotsprings is a local springs where thermal springs rise to the surface in a natural pool. At Chena Hot Springs, you'll find a bathing house with an indoor pool for the kids. Locals love to spend a Saturday or Sunday bringing the family here. There's also a rustic (everything's rustic around here) lodge and restaurant. This is also the location of the Ice Hotel you may have heard about. I'm not sure what or why but it was covered over with insulating material when I was there and was not open for the public.
Just because you're there, go visit the Alaskan Pipeline. It goes right past Fairbanks and there's a special place north of town that you can get out and walk under it and see some very interesting displays. In most of the place, the pipeline is above the ground. There are issues regarding the permafrost and heat fo the pipeline itself that must have played a part in keeping it above ground. It is a zig-zag structure that allows it to move to accomodate the expansion when it heats or cools.