During the month of March, it is still pretty cold out, yet it's perfect to view the World Ice Art Championships. Competitors come from all over the world to compete in single or multi block carvings. Be sure to bring warm accessories as temperatures could be 20 degrees below zero F. Also, if you come during the daylight, be sure to come back at night (get your hand stamped) for other awesome photo opportunities!!!
This is a wonderful museum, and has consistently been rated by visitors, including myself, as the best museum in Alaska. Founded in 1929, the University of Alaska Museum of the North is the state's only research and teaching museum.
The museum houses and displays more than 1.3 million objects and specimens representing the biological diversity and cultural traditions of the North, in a state-of-the-art facility. Five galleries give an overview of Alaska's five major geroraphic regions: Southwest, Western Arctic Coast, Interior, South Centeral and Southeast. In each you will find exhibits that highlight the people, the wildlife, the geography and the history of that region. Displays include everything from polar dinosaurs to contemporary Alaska Native art.
The museum also contains a fine gift shop.
May 15 - September 15
Daily: 9 am - 7 pm
September 16 - May 14
Weekdays: 9 am - 5 pm
Weekends: Noon - 5 pm
(Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and Jan. 1)
Senior (60+) 4.50
Youth (7-17) 3.00
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 Dog Mushing Museum is the most comprehensive dog mushing exhibit in the world. It is housed in Fairbanks Historic City Hall, along with the Fairbanks Community Museum, and was organized in 1987, by a group of people interested in the documentation and sharing of the historical importance of mushing. Today mushing (dog sledding) is Alaska's state sport, but in pioneer times it was a vital means of winter transportation.
In the museum is a 15-panel display called "The Driving Spirit: A Salute to Our Dog Sled Tradition." There are also actual dog sleds (pictured) and other mushing equipment. One can enjoy an interesting film about mushing and explore the multi-media library which includes back issues of Mushing Magazine, Schlittenhund, Team & Trail and Northern Dog News.
I have never owned a dog nor am I particularly fond of them, but I still found the museum absolutely fascinating.
Hours of Operation
June - August
Monday - Saturday: 10 am - 6 pm
September - May
Tuesday - Saturday: 10 am - 6 pm
Admission is free but donations are appreciated.
Billed as Alaska's only pioneer theme park, Pioneer Park is a 44-acre facility filled with Alaska's history. It was originally built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the purchase of Alaska from Russia, and it continues to operate today as a historical site and community park.
I spent an afternoon at Pioneer Park and wished I had had more time there. Things to see and do include:
Gold Rush Town
Tanana Valley Railroad Engine #1
Information Center (Pioneer Walking Tours)
Palace Theater and Saloon
Canoe, Kayak and Bike Rentals
Pioneer Air Museum
Judge Wickersham House
Kitty Hensley House
President Harding Railroad Car
Sternwheeler Nenana National Historical Landmark
Native Village Museum and Kashims
Bear Art Gallery
Alaska Salmon Bake
Playground and Picnic Shelters
Pioneer Park is open daily year round. Admission to the park is free, although some of the individual attractions within it require an admission charge.
For some of these I will list a separate tip on the next few pages.
My three days in Fairbanks began here, in the heart of downtown on the banks of the Chena River. The Visitors Center, operated by the Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau, is housed in an authentic old log cabin complete with sod roof. Here one may get free information on all the many attractions and activities that Fairbanks and vicintiy has to offer.
There are no public restrooms in the Visitor Center, although they may be found nearby. The staff was very friendly and helpful.
One of my favorite spots in Pioneer Park, and Fairbanks for that matter, was the Pioneer Air Museum, operated by the Interior and Arctic Alaska Aeronautical Foundation. On display beneath the gold dome of the museum are 14 historic aircraft of a wide assortment and 31 piston aircraft engines. Exhibits tell the story of early day cold weather flying as well as picture stories of the bush pilot. There are also hundreds of pictures, models and many World War II Artifacts.
The museum is open daily, Memorial Day through Labor Day, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Per Adult $2.00
Per Family $5.00
No matter how you travel to Fairbanks, you MUST have your picture taken at milepost 1523, "The Official End of the Alaska Highway." The southern terminus, or beginning, of the highway is in Dawson Creek, British Columbia.
There is some controversy as to whether the northern terminus of the Alaska-Canada (Alcan) highway is here or at Delta Junction, 98 miles to the south. Actually the road between Delta Junction and Fairbanks was already well established before construction on the Alaska-Canada Highway began during the Second World War. The older road is part of the Richardson Highway which goes from Fairbanks to Valdez. It is my understanding that Fairbanks has recently conceeded that the "official" northern terminus of the famous Alcan Highway is Delta Junction, but their sign still proclaims that Fairbanks takes the honor.
See our tip under Delta Junction, Alaska, for more about this famous highway.
Many travelers miss Georgeson. Locating at UAF, it is easy to visit there at the same time as you go to museum.
There is lots of things to do:
-Discover the diversity of native and introduced plants growing under he Midnight Sun.
-Observe Alaska’s world famous giant vegetables.
-Learn cultivation techniques for some of the world’s hardiest plants.
-Participate in tours and classes.
-Observe wildlife, birds, plants insects that life in Alaska’s Great Interior.
Authentic historic log cabins from throughout Alaska have been brought to Pioneer Park in Fairbanks and reassembled to form Gold Rush Town. Today the cabins are filled with a wide assortment of refreshments, gifts, and Alaskana. On each of the buildings is a sign which tells the history of that particular cabin. The largest of the buildings is the Palace Theatre & Saloon, where you may sit and watch a rousing musical show based on Alaska's colorful history. For the more active you may wish to kick up yuour heels at the Dance Hall which hosts nightly dances.
This is not Fairbanks trip, neither Anchorage on. But once you have traveled up to Alaska, Denali is those places, which you don't want to miss.
Being the highest mountain of North America, Mckinley goes up to 20 000 foot. And even it is 125 miles from UAF to Denali, I see the moutains from my window.
Denali is open all year long.
The last trip Warren G. Harding made as President of the United States was to the interior of Alaska to dirve the Golden Spike commemorating the line of the Alaska Railroad, which joined Alaska's two major cities, Fairbanks and Anchorage, July 15, 1923. The spike was at the end of 702-foot Myers Memorial Bridge, at Milepost 413.7. Shortly after he returned to Washington, President Harding died suddenly of a heart attack on August 2, 1923.
President Harding's Railroad Car, "Denali", is on the National Register of Historic Places and will be of special interest to all railroad and history buffs.
Admission is free.
Most tourist visit in Alaska at summer time, when it is light and warm. But there is a one thing in the winter time that really shines, auroras. The town of Fairbanks is quite small, so there is not city lights to disturb the views to the sky. So in the clear night, there is no reason that you won't see the auroras.
And if some reason or another you'll miss them, wonderful sky full of star can compare it. Big Dipper which exists also in the Alaska's State Flag is pretty 'near' here.
This very interesting free museum is located in downtown Fairbanks in the old City Hall, built in 1933. This two-story concrete building of the Classical Revival design originally housed the police and fire departments, the town jail, and finally City Hall until 1995. Renovations were made and the museum opened in 1996.
Here I learned of the absolutely fascinating story of the human chain to the interior of Alaska, which began in the winter of 1897. It was in 1902 that gold was discovered in the Interior and Fairbanks came to life. There are 56 panels, display cases and stand alone artifacts and treasures about the discovery of gold and the stampede which followed, from Dawson City Yukon to Fairbanks.
In the same building is Yukon Quest Cache, a gift shop, and also the Dog Mushing Museum, which I felt is worthy of its own tip.
Pioneer Fr. Francis Monroe, S. J., arrived in the new city of Fairbanks in 1904 and immediately began construction on the town's first Catholic Church, soon followed by the building of a much needed hospital. The original church was on the south bank of the Chena River, but the father felt it should be on the north bank, next to the hospital. In the summer of 1911, a team of men and horses moved the church on skids across the frozen river to it's present site.
From 1962-68 the church was the Cathedral of the North, until the new Sacred Heart Cathedral was built to replace it. The hospital has long since been gone, but Imaculate Conception Church is still an active parish. Since 1976 the building has been listed on the National Registry of Historic Sites. The church is open daily for viewing, or for prayer.