Want to explore the entire town of Ketchikan in a short amount of time on a shoestring budget? The Southeast Alaska Discovery Center, on the corner of Mill and Main, was designed to consolidate the story of Ketchikan in one space – and it does so dramatically.
Three totems greet you on the way in, representing Haida, Tlingit and Tsimshian cultures. Additional exhibits feature Alaska’s Rainforest, Native Traditions, Ecosystems and Natural Resources. Lots of interactive displays highlight the history of the area – including each of the industries that have been so critical to Ketchikan’s economy over the years: mining, fishing, timber, tourism and recreation.
Kids can test their skills with a scavenger hunt through the center. A visit to the 150-seat movie theatre reveals fascinating stories of Ketchikan centered around the arts, fishing, logging, native stories and more. Browse through a robust selection of nature and history books at the Alaska Geographic bookstore on-site.
This gem is an easy and low-cost way to get an overview of Ketchikan – and provides information, tips and maps for exploring the city and its environs yourself afterward.
The Discovery Center is a short walk from the cruise ship docks, but you can also get there on the free Downtown Salmon Run Shuttle.
Summer: Mo-Fr 8am-5pm, Sa-Su 8am-4pm. Oct-Apr: Th-Su 10am-4pm
The entry fee is $5 for adults (kids are free). There is no fee during the off-season (Oct-April).