|Seward (Anchorage) Points of Interest|
Anchorage is an intriguing blend of wilderness and sophistication, with enough sightseeing to keep you busy for months. Below are a few of the highlights. Be sure to check the walking tour and drives north and south for more ideas.
Alaska Botanical Garden- Take Tudor Rd. east to Campbell Airstrip Rd., park in the Save II School parking lot. An interpretive nature trail introduces you to two gardens of Alaska vegetation in phase one of a five-phase project to develop comprehensive botanical gardens. Development began in 1991 through an entirely volunteer effort. The gardens are continually being expanded and will feature vegetation from Alaska and areas with similar climates throughout the world.
Chester Creek Sports Complex- on 16th Ave. between A St. and Old Seward Hwy. Includes the George M. Sullivan Arena with seating for 7,000 for hockey, rodeo, concerts, fairs and other events (call event hotline at 279-2596); the adjacent Ben Boeke Ice Arena; an outdoor rink and speed oval; the Anchorage Football Stadium and the Mulcahy Stadium. The complex borders the 300-acre/120 hectare Chester Creek Greenbelt with trails for hiking, biking and groomed Nordic ski trails.
Elmendorf State Hatchery- Corner of Reeve Blvd. and Post Rd. A visitor viewing area is located within the compound. The best time for viewing coho salmon is October. Hatchery is open year-round. Call 274-0065 for hours.
Lake Hood Air Harbor- Lake Northern Lights Blvd. west to Aircraft Dr. and follow it around Lake Hood. Lake Hood and Lake Spenard form the world's largest and busiest floatplane harbor, a popular starting point for flightseeing trips by float- or ski-equipped planes. Portage Glacier. One of Alaska's most visited attractions, the Portage Glacier area features the Begich, Boggs Visitor Center with displays and a film that explains glaciers and the history of the area. (See the Anchorage South Driving Tour for more information.)
Westchester Lagoon Overlook- Take L St. south to Hillcrest Dr. exit and turn right for a panoramic view of joggers and bikers during the fall or skating and Nordic skiing in the winter with the Anchorage skyline as backdrop. Great photo stop.
Library Z.J. Loussac Public Library- 36th Ave. and Denali St. An architectural mix of shapes and forms sitting on 17 acres/6.8 hectares. Winter ice fountain on building's south side was designed by Carl Nesjar. Bronze sculpture of William Seward, secretary of state who negotiated the purchase of Alaska, welcomes you at top of stairs. Inside, library features a large Alaskana section plus Anchorage Assembly's meeting chambers and the Wilda Marston auditorium. Art work includes bronze mural "Alaska's Five Governors" and paintings by Alaska artists Sydney Laurence and Eustace Ziegler. The library was named for Anchorage merchant who set up a foundation to build a new library in the early 1950s. Open Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Starting Sept. 12, also open on Sun. 1-5 p.m. Phone: 261-2846.
Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum- 4721 Aircraft Dr., on the south shore of Lake Hood. Presents the state's unique aviation history. Museum features 21 vintage aircraft, a 60-seat theater that regularly shows short films, observation deck and special exhibits such as the Alaskan military aviation gallery. Through Oct. 1 open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. Winter hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Tues.-Sat. Closed mid-March through April. Phone: 248-5325. Alaska Heritage Library-Museum, corner of C St. and Northern Lights Blvd. Features
Alaska Native culture- Native baskets and artifacts, paintings from Alaska artists such as Sidney Laurence, photos and rare books are among the items displayed year-round. Open noon-4 p.m., Mon.-Fri. Phone: 265-2834.
Anchorage Museum of History & Art- 121 W. 7th Ave. (See "Downtown Anchorage" for description.) Phone: 343-4326. Elmendorf Air Force Base Wildlife Museum. Visitors can see mounted wildlife displays and hands-on exhibits year-round. Look for the 10 ft. 6 in./3.2 meter brown bear exhibit, which misses the world record by 1/8 inch/38 mm! Building 4- 803 (near commissary). Open year-round noon-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. Phone: 552- 2282.
Fort Richardson Alaskan Fish and Wildlife Center- Rm. 114, Bldg. 600. Displays mounted Alaska fish and game. Open year-round. Hours 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; Phone: 384-0431.
Oscar Anderson House/Elderberry Park- 420 M St. Anchorage's first wood-frame house, built in 1915. (See "Downtown Anchorage" page XX for description) Reeve Aviation Picture Museum, 343 W. 6th Ave. (See "Downtown Anchorage" for description.) Phone: 272- 9426.
Anchorage is packed with neighborhood parks that are great for a quiet walk or cross-country skiing just minutes from your hotel. Below are some of the larger parks that offer activities. Call 343-4474 for more information.
Centennial Park- off Muldoon Rd. on Boundary Rd. This 70- acre/28 hectare park, developed during the 1967 Centennial celebration of Alaska's purchase from Russia, has 83 camp sites, some for RV, through fall. Restrooms, hot showers, cross-country skiing trails plus sledding hill. Phone: 248-4346.
Delaney Park- Known locally as the "Park Strip," runs east/west from A to P streets, north and south between 9th and 10th avenues.
Earthquake Park- W. Northern Lights Blvd. Interpretive display shows the results of Anchorage's 1964 Good Friday Earthquake and explains the area's geology, flora and fauna. At 9.2 on the Richter scale, the most powerful tremor ever felt in North America, the quake leveled a number of area neighborhoods. The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail runs through the lower area of the park and offers fine views of Cook Inlet.
Far North Bicentennial Park- South of Tudor Rd. near Muldoon Rd. Covers 4,030 acres/1,612 hectares of forest and muskeg in east central Anchorage. Features more than 20 miles/32 km of trails for hiking. During winter these trails are used for dog mushing.
Goose Lake- Corner of E. Northern Lights Blvd. and Providence Dr. Miles of bike/walking/cross-country skiing trails that connect with University of Alaska Anchorage's trails. Activities include picnic area, playground and ice skating. World Championship Sled Dog Race during Fur Rendezvous follows trail bordering lake.
Hillside Park- On Abbott Rd. Features scenic mountain views and wildlife photo opportunities on 420 acres/168 hectares of wooded land. Offers miles of cross-country skiing, including a lighted trail, plus the Hilltop Ski Area for downhill skiing and the Karl Eid Ski Jump with three jumps.
Point Campbell/Kincaid Park- Minnesota Rd. south to Raspberry Rd. Go west into park. This 1,400 acres/560 hectares of mostly wilderness has hiking/cross-country skiing trails, some lighted for night skiing. Great wildlife viewing. A heated chalet offers panoramic views of Mount Susitna and Mount McKinley. Center open Mon.-Fri. 1-9 p.m. and weekends 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Phone: 248-4346. Russian Jack Springs Park. East on Debarr Rd. to entrance near Boniface Pkwy. These 300 acres/120 hectares offer golf links summer through fall and miles of hiking/ cross- country ski trails, including lighted trails, a novice downhill ski hill and heated chalet. Call Chalet at 333-8338. Municipal greenhouse at park entrance features a tropical plant display, exotic birds and tropical fish. Open to the public year-round, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Phone: 333-8610. Free admission.
Ship Creek Salmon Overlook & Waterfowl Nesting Area- Off Whitney Rd. Watch for spawning salmon swimming upstream June through September; wild geese and ducks live in the warming ponds year- round. Ship Creek is the historical site of Dena'ina Indian fish camps. Later, miners and trappers used trails through this area on their way to Interior Alaska.
Westchester Lagoon Waterfowl Sanctuary- 19th Ave. and Spenard Rd. Year-round home to a variety of waterfowl. Offers a half-mile/.8 km marked nature trail.
Parks, State & Federal
For a complete rundown on what to see and do in Anchorage-area state and federal parks, contact the Alaska Public Lands Information Center, 605 4th Ave. Phone: 271-2737.
Chugach State Park- One of the nation's largest parks, with 495,000 acres/198,000 hectares, Chugach State Park surrounds the Anchorage bowl on the east and south. Sculpted by glaciers into a land of sharp peaks, attractive lakes and broad valleys, the park offers wilderness experiences including hiking, fishing and camping in the spring, summer and fall. The park has three campgrounds, ranging in size from 36 to 17 spaces, and five picnic sites. The park is home to a variety of wildlife including moose, bear, Dall sheep, mountain goats, wolves, lynx and bald eagles.
Chugach National Forest- The nation's second-largest national forest and one of the oldest. Established in 1907, Chugach encompasses 5.6 million acres/2.24 million hectares and 200 miles/322 km of maintained hiking trails starting south of Anchorage and stretching into the Kenai Peninsula and to Prince William Sound. A mixture of mountains, glaciers, wetlands and tumbling streams, Chugach contains some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. The most northerly and westerly of all national forests, Chugach is considered the most diverse of all 155 national forests. Highlights include: Portage Glacier, the most visited recreational area in Alaska; Columbia Glacier, one of the largest tidewater glaciers in the world; and the Copper River Delta, one of the world's greatest birding areas. Within the Chugach National Forest are 15 campgrounds and 43 recreational cabins for rent. For cabin rental call Alaska Public Lands Information Center at 271-2737. The forest is accessible by road from Anchorage and by boat or small plane from Seward, Cordova, Valdez and Whittier. Call U.S. Forest Service at 271- 2500.