Monday, October 22, 2007

Winter Activities for Kids in Anchorage, Alaska 2007

Activities for Children in Anchorage, AlaskaThis is the updated 2007 activity calender, if you aren't living in Anchorage, maybe these activities will give you ideas about what may be available in your own community--or maybe you should just move to Anchorage.

1. Go ice fishing. The 20th Annual Ice Fishing Jamboree out at Jewel Lake will be Saturday and Sunday December 15th and 16th from 10am-3pm. It's free, with poles, warm-up tents and all equipment provided--perfect for kids and adults alike. My own children love it. For more details see this page here or contact the event's sponsor: the Alaska Sportfishing Association at (907) 562-4141 for more details.

2. Go snow tubing at Alyeska Resort. The new Glacier Tubing Park offers sledding on Mt. Alyeska, $15 for adults and $10 for kids, in 1 1/2 hour sessions starting at 10:00am. Beware that children must be 42" to ride. Inner tubes are provided.

Ice Skating at Westchester Lagoon3. Ice skate at Westchester Lagoon. One the ice is declared thick enough it will be maintained for skating all winter and on Friday nights there are fire-barrels for added fun. This picture is from the Sydney Herald--as in Sydney, Australia--I thought it was funny that our little outdoor rink made it to the other side of the world. Also, the Town Square ice rink in front of the Performing Arts Center opens January 19th for free skating fun.

4. Tour Williams Reindeer Farm in Palmer (907) 745-4000 125 Bodenburg Road Palmer, Alaska. They're open for regular tours in the summer but will do tours by appointment only during the winter if you call and schedule one. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for children over 3 and that includes a cup of feed for the animals. You can also drive to the farm and watch the reindeer for free. Oh, and please note that when in the wild they are called caribou, the domesticated version is the reindeer. For an account of one of our visits read my post: Rudolph with Your Nose So Bright.

Musk Ox in Alaska5. Tour the Musk Ox farm (907) 745-4151. Also in Palmer, the farm offers a view of musk ox, an Alaskan animal that looks like a long-haired bison with the horns of a yak whose soft under wool (qiviut) is valued for its warmth. Winter tours are by appointment and run 11am-3pm October 1, 2007-May 10, 2008. Admission prices are rather detailed so go to their website for more information.

6. Go Sledding. Here's a link that describes the best sledding hills in Anchorage--but for the hardy sledder you can't beat the old Arctic Valley road's winding 1-mile course where my little brother lost his glasses (if you find them give him a call). To get there go up Arctic Valley Road and just past the power house on the left is a turnoff where you can park at the end of the trail and wait for sledders to come down. It's the best sledding hill on the planet guaranteed.

7. See the Town Square Tree Lighting. Friday November 23rd 5:30-7:30. There'll be cookies, music, stories, a visit from Santa and his reindeer and (of course) the tree lighting itself.

8. Celebrate New Year's Eve at town square. With free events for families and children all evening long it's a great way to ring in the new year. Likewise, at Alyeska they'll be holding a "torchlight parade and fireworks display" starting at 8pm.

3-4 p.m. - Toddler Ice Party (children 2-6)
4-5 p.m. - Children’s Ice Party (children 6-10)
5:15-5:45 p.m. - Ice Dancing Performance
6-8 p.m. - Fire & Ice Celebration
8-8:10 p.m. - Fireworks

9. Swimming at H2Oasis. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays when school is in session the water park opens at 11am-2pm for preschool children and their parents for $6 a child (adults are free). The large slides, wave machine, and river walk are not available though some days you can get lucky and they’ll be running for special occasions.

10. See the Christmas lights.
Every year during the week before Christmas the Anchorage Daily News publishes their list of best house lights accompanied by a map. You can't beat free.

11. Snowshoe at Campbell Creek Science Center. (907) 267-1247. Tucked away on the west end of Dowling Road is the city's best place to see wildlife (I've seen eagles and rabbits and even eagles eating rabbits). Get away from it all without getting out of the city. Bring your snow shoes, cross country skis or sleds and enjoy a hike to the beaver dam or break your own snow shoe trail. The trails are free but they also have educational programs listed at their site. Do remember that it's in a cold spot where the temperature is usually a few degrees colder than the rest of the surrounding area.

Ice Sculpture in Anchorage, Alaska12. See the ice carvings and children's carnival of ice. The blocks of ice get delivered to town square on January 4th with the carving process going through until the carnival's grand opening celebration on January 19th. The sculptures are beautiful and the kids like sliding down ice slides and skating at the town square ice rink.

13. Catch a sleigh ride. The Horse Drawn Carriage Co. offers sleigh rides through Birchwood, just outside of Anchorage for small groups of 2-4 or for large groups of up to 20. My own family did this several years ago and had a great time riding through the forests and enjoying a bonfire and cocoa at the end. They charge $130/hour for a 20-person sleigh ride with extra for the bonfire at the end but for an afternoon of sleighing it's a great deal.

Also, every Friday and Saturday night 8pm-midnight in front of the Captain Cook Hotel this same company offers carriage rides through downtown, $35 for two people for 15 minutes, $5 for each extra person which is a little more but for a special event it would be fun.

Stargate Observatory at Burchell High School14. Visit Stargate Observatory in Wasilla. Burchell High School's 26-inch Newtonian telescope is the largest in the state and the third largest telescope owned by a an American high school. Just north of Wasilla at 1775 West Parks Hwy it will be open Saturday February 24th and Saturday March 10th 7-11pm for $5 per person. Call (907) 355-9055 for more details.

15. Visit the Port of Anchorage. Not exciting? Oh just find a day when a ship is in and they're unloading or loading and it's something any child would enjoy. Inside is the biggest pile of sand in the Free World, used for winter road maintenance and lots of fun to climb.

16. Join a bookstore reading club. Most bookstores in town have a reading hour for kids, some with crafts and other things. Barnes and Noble has Storytime for preschoolers at 1pm on Saturdays and 11 am Wednesday and an American Girl club that meets Tuesdays at 6:30pm. Borders has Storytime with Gracie at 11am on Saturdays, repeating at 11 am and 1pm on Tuesdays. Go to the stores' home pages, search for a store nearest you and view their calendar of events.

17. Visit the Alaska Zoo. Though summer viewing is more popular, the animals are more active in the winter and the Zoo has educational programs scheduled regularly throughout the winter. Visit their web page for details, admission is $10/adult, children 3 and over $6--the Storytime At the Zoo program costs $2 after regular admission.

18. Check out the Home Depot and Lowe’s kid clubs. They're free and children are provided aprons, tools and kits to build various projects. Home Depot on Abbott’s is the first Saturday of every month 9am-12pm while supplies last (I've never had supplies not last). Lowe’s on Old Seward and O’Malley is the second Saturday 10am.

19. Attend Fur Rendezvous. Two week's worth of winter celebrations including snow sculpture competitions, a blanket toss, art exhibits, amusement park rides, an antique car show, a Native crafts bazaar and so many other things--some free and some not. Dates are February 22-March 2, 2008. For more about this annual festival read my post: Fur Rendezvous 2007.

20. Go to the theater. With many small theater companies in town performing all winter, what's not to like? I won't be able to not take the boys to The Count of Monte Cristo.

Training Better Artists Theatre Company
This new theater company's ticket prices and productions are perfect for families with small children and are a great introduction to the dramatic arts.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Oct 26-31
That Christmasy Feeling: A Holiday Musical Review Dec 14-16
America Tales: Songs and Stories of America Feb 15-17, 22-24
The Count of Monte Cristo Mar 21-23 & 28-30
Hansel and Gretel, a new musical May 9-11 & 16-18

Showtimes: Fri & Sat at 7pm, Sat & Sun at 3pm.
Special Halloween Performance 7pm and 10pm
Location: APU's Grant Hall
Tickets: $7 general $5 kids

Anchorage Theater of Youth
Ramona Quimby Oct 18-28
A Christmas Story Dec 6-16
Guys and Dolls Jr. Feb 21-Mar 2
Julius Caesar Apr 24-May 4

Location: Sydney Lawrence Theater, Anchorage Center for the Performing Arts
Showtimes: Thursday-Saturday 7pm, Saturday & Sunday 3pm
Tickets: $18.75 general admission, $16.25 (including all taxes) 18 and under

Alaska Junior Theater
Aesop Bops Oct 22-26
The Snow Dragon Dec 3-7
Jabali African Acrobats Feb 26-28
Frindle Apr 23-25, 28-29

Location: Discovery Theater, Anchorage Center for the Performing Arts
Showtimes: 10 am and noon for childrens' performances, 7:30 pm for public performance
Tickets: $14-16

Anchorage Community Theater
The Wizard of Oz Oct 12-Nov 11

Showtimes: Wednesday-Saturday 7pm, Sundays 3pm
Tickets: $12 adult, $8 children 12 and under

Alaska Theater of Young People
The Elephant's Child Dec 6-16
Ashlad and the Good Helpers Apr 17-27
Location: Wendy Williamson Auditorium, UAA campus
Showtimes: Friday & Saturday 7pm, Saturday & Sunday 3pm
Tickets: $13 general admission Friday & Saturday, $10 general admission Sunday

21. Go dog sledding. We've taken rides with the Lucky Husky Sled Dog Kennel near Willow and had a wonderful time charging through the snowy wilderness with only our Trusty Guide and eight animal friends but they appear to be out of business. Susitna Dog Tours is another operation in Willow that offers dog sled tours, and though they can be expensive at $85/person the experience is certainly something that you'll remember. Here is another site that lists other companies that offer dog tours in Anchorage, Willow or Girdwood. And speaking of sled dogs, don't miss opening day of the Iditarod on Saturday March 1, 2007 at 10am on 4th and D Street in downtown Anchorage. Pray for snow and take the kids, they'll be almost as excited as the dogs.

Gingerbread Village at The Captain Cook Hotel22. Go to the Anchorage Museum of Art. (907) 343-4326 Check their web page for exhibits and concerts such as "Wonderland of Toys" runs November 24-December 31. Concerts are held on each afternoon Sunday in December performing holidays favorites. Admission is $8 adults, $5 kids unless you have a membership.

23. See the gingerbread village at the Captain Cook Hotel. Every year the chefs at Anchorage's finest hotel create a gingerbread village--complete with an electric toy train--that is guaranteed to delight.

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Veronica said...

They all sound like great fun! Remind me why I live in Australia again?

Mary Alice said...

Those all sound like fun. Now you have got me looking forward to winter activities with my family in my own neck of the woods. Thanks for getting me thinking!

Milehimama said...

Great. Now I'm homesick! What's a Colorado native to do when she's stuck in the South and it's 87 degrees outside?

I bet the observatory up there is awesome.

Mrs Mecomber said...

When does Alaska usually get snow? New York State varies. I spent my childhood living near between a Great Lake and an interior lake, and snow always came in early November with a flourish (average 10 feet a year). Where I live now, we usually get snow in mid-December, and average about 5 feet of snow a year. I'd heard that Alaska is not much different than New York (save the permafrost). Is this true?

Marie N. said...


I want to send a thank you for having such an inspiring blog and especially one that is safe to leave up on the family computer when I need to step away. I very much appreciate your child-safe content.

Simply A Musing Blog said...

Now I'm really homesick...I miss my old house in my old neighborhood (Turnagain area) and I really miss the snow, as well as the winter activities for the kids. I left before my eldest daughter turned 3 months, so she never got to experience a winter there. Just not the same here in Texas.

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Lucky! All the winter activities for kids in Seattle include being indoors and out of the rain. I miss playing in snow.

Cocoa said...

I would love to visit the Stargate Observatory with my kids. They love looking at the stars!

Steve King said...

Thank you for mentioning It is much appreciated!

Macoosh said...

this post made me want to live in anchorage SO BAD.

Tastes Like Home said...

Great list! Cross country skiing is another good choice for kids. There are many good groomed and lighted ski trails in Anchorage. There are also Junior Nordic ski lessons for kids 6-14, with the first session of lessons starting in November this year, and the second session in January. See


Jen@BigBinder said...

Wonderful!! Winter hasn't quite hit here yet but when it does I will treat my readers to a list of things to do in our area. Thanks for the inspiration.

crazy working mom said...

Oh wow! What fun. :)

Daisy said...

Musk Ox Farm? Oh, I want one of those! The closest I can find would be beef/buffalo. If we ever get snow, we can sled, though.

Anonymous said...

I have considered moving to Seward many times, but I never thought my kids would like it. Just maybe they might.

teeth bleaching

Mo Mommy said...

I don't think I have ever realized how homesick I am until this moment. Some of that stuff showed up after I left and I STILL feel like I miss it.
Artic Valley sledding is the best, but we also used to hit Centennial Park off of Muldoon a lot. How could I have forgotten about Westchester Lagoon?
I don't remember ice slides and town square rink when I was there, but man do I miss Fur Rondy!! And the frosbite footrace, and the huge library where you can get lost for hours, and the local bands that jam at coffee houses, and of course La Mex. *sigh* Thanks for reminding me about all the things I love.

Geo said...

Wowee! I want to come to Anchorage to do all those things, and I don't even have children.

Lei said...

Sheesh, we non-Alaskans are really missing out! ;)

Love the new look... I've missed visiting you!

Eve said...

This is fun for me because I've been wondering what you all do up there for your long winters!

Damselfly said...

So are you giving personal tours of Anchorage? ;)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the list! I live in the bush and will be bringing my kids to town for a week. I wanted to know what to do besides Beartooth and Wal-mart.