Created by a local high school student as his Eagle Scout project, this scale model of our solar system is a great way to explore Anchorage. Taking the walk, you experience the relative size of the planets and their distance from the Sun. The scale was chosen so that a leisurely walking pace mimics the speed of light. On this scale, each step equals the distance light travels in one second (300,000 kilometers or 186,000 miles).
It should take you about 8 minutes to walk from the Sun station at 5th and G to the Earth station at 5th and K, just as it takes 8 minutes for a light beam to travel from the real Sun to the real Earth. Similarly, it takes you and a light beam 5 1/2 hours to reach Pluto at Kincaid Park.
Of course, you can hop on your bike, roller blades or skis, and travel the distance at warp speed!
The Anchorage Light Speed Planet Walk was designed by Eli Menaker, a 2004 graduate of Service High School in Anchorage.
Begin at the sun station, a tiled representation of the Sun (weighing close to 6,000 pounds) to learn about the evolution of our solar system and discover interesting facts about our star, the Sun.
Then navigate the planet stations along 5th Avenue and the Coastal Trail to experience the scale of our solar system and unique features of each planet.
On your way to Mercury, you can stop at The Imaginarium and see their indoor exhibit of the solar system. If you're lucky, you'll arrive for one of their lectures about the solar system.
If you want to walk the entire route to Pluto, you'll end up at Kincaid Park, about 8 miles from downtown!