Alaska Wildlife Parks, Zoos, Aquariums

Want to be sure you get some winning shots of wildlife on your vacation? Visit these venues across Alaska.

They are the homes to real Alaskan wildlife. And many locations double as rescue and rehabilitation centers.

You can often take a behind-the-scenes tour, too, to get up close and learn even more about the species that live there. At the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, connect with an octopus arm to arm in the Octopus Encounter, or feed a puffin on the Puffin Encounter. Near Anchorage at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center one option is a Bear Encounter, where visitors participate in their daily training and feeding.

Any of these venues are must-see stops if you're traveling with kids!

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Wildlife Parks, Zoos, Aquariums

Kodiak

A great place to vis­it with the fam­i­ly, this exten­sive cen­ter includes a salt­wa­ter touch tank and inter­pre­tive dis­plays on wildlife and the fish­ing indus­try. It’s also a base for marine research. There is a 3,500-gallon, 10-foot cylin­der aquar­i­um where you can watch the species of the cold salt­wa­ter envi­ron­ment sur­round­ing Kodi­ak. The touch-tank will let you look, han­dle, and learn about the vari­ety of species in the area’s tide pools: sea…  ...more

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Haines

This park about an hour’s dri­ve from Haines is a trib­ute to own­er Steve Kroschel, who has been work­ing with wildlife for most of his 60 years, includ­ing an appear­ance on TV’s Late Show with John­ny Car­son. The bond between Kroschel and his menagerie makes this park endear­ing­ly different.

The Amer­i­can Bald Eagle Foun­da­tion and Live Rap­tor Cen­ter is a non-prof­it edu­ca­tion cen­ter locat­ed near the post office, a few blocks from down­town Haines. And in the sum­mer, the cen­ter hosts live rap­tor pro­grams fea­tur­ing bald eagles, owls, hawks, and oth­er birds of prey. The muse­um has an enor­mous room filled with real­is­tic taxi­dermy dis­plays of a wide vari­ety of Alaskan crit­ters. You’ll also find a vari­ety of habi­tats and species  ...more

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Anchorage

Season: Year Round $17 1.5 - 2 hrs

The Alas­ka Zoo start­ed in 1966 with one baby ele­phant named Annabelle that was won in a con­test. Since then, it has expand­ed to include over 77 ani­mals across 25 acres of the Anchor­age hillside.

Season: Year Round $17

At the 200-acre Alas­ka Wildlife Con­ser­va­tion Cen­ter, see Alaskan wildlife up close. The center’s mis­sion is to pro­vide refuge for orphaned, injured, and ill ani­mals — those that can’t sur­vive in the wild. The cen­ter, which opened to the pub­lic in 1993, edu­cates vis­i­tors about Alaska’s wildlife. Coy­otes peer out from behind the brush while a bald eagle swoops in on the salmon remains left by a griz­zly bear. Wood Bison plod through 65 acres of tidal  ...more

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Mat-Su Valley

Season: Year-Round, Winter by Appointment Only $11 40 - 45 min

Locat­ed 45 min­utes from Anchor­age, the Musk Ox farm project was con­ceived in the 1950s as an agrar­i­an oppor­tu­ni­ty for vil­lagers in West­ern Alas­ka; today it’s a fas­ci­nat­ing look at an ani­mal (and a way of life) that was per­ilous­ly close to extinc­tion. You can take a 30- to 40-minute tour of the farm and see some 70 musk ox. Since they’re friend­ly crea­tures, they may come right up to the fence to greet you.

Season: Year Round $13+ 1 hour

In the agri­cul­tur­al Matanus­ka Val­ley just north of Anchor­age, you can pet a rein­deer or feed fresh wil­low to a bull moose. Set on a 200-acre plot in Palmer, the Rein­deer Farm has been in the Williams fam­i­ly for three gen­er­a­tions. Dur­ing the one-hour tour, you’ll hear inter­est­ing, fun­ny, and insight­ful sto­ries about these wild ani­mals while walk­ing around the prop­er­ty. If you want to see the baby rein­deer, come in June!

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Seward

Season: Year Round $29.95

This world-class, 115,000-square-foot facil­i­ty was built with funds from the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill and serves to remind vis­i­tors — in a high­ly inter­ac­tive way — of the impor­tance of under­stand­ing and main­tain­ing Alaska’s marine ecosys­tem. See life swim­ming right before your eyes: wit­ness a Steller sea lion glid­ing past under­wa­ter view­ing win­dows, puffins div­ing in nat­ur­al habi­tat, and har­bor seals rest­ing on rocky beach­es. Take self-guid­ed or  ...more

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Fairbanks

Meet some reindeer • See birds, foxes, moose at wildlife sanctuary

Season: Year Round Free

Come vis­it and you might see up to 15 dif­fer­ent kinds of mam­mals — from beavers to red fox­es, fly­ing squir­rels, snow­shoe hares, and even moose — and sev­er­al species of birds. Through­out the Sanctuary’s trail sys­tem there are 14 inter­pre­tive signs, so you can learn how the birds, fish, frogs, and mam­mals sur­vive in inte­ri­or Alaska’s tough climate. 

Season: Year Round $20 Yoga | $85+ Tour 1 - 2.5 hrs

You may think of rein­deer as fly­ing crea­tures of the imag­i­na­tion, but here in Alas­ka they’re very real. And this unique tour gives you the oppor­tu­ni­ty to get up close and per­son­al with these mag­nif­i­cent ani­mals. Walk among them and pet them — it’s tru­ly a moment made for Instagram.

Dai­ly tours at the Robert G. White Large Ani­mal Research Sta­tion (LARS) at Uni­ver­si­ty of Alas­ka Fair­banks pro­vide vis­i­tors with the chance to view muskox­en and rein­deer while learn­ing about ongo­ing research study­ing the adap­ta­tions enabling these arc­tic ani­mals to sur­vive and thrive in extreme­ly cold temperatures.

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Sitka

Aquarium • Salmon Hatchery • Raptor Center
Season: Year Round $7

In the coastal South­east Alaskan town of Sit­ka, marine wildlife typ­i­cal­ly plays out on a big scenic back­drop. At Sitka’s unique Sci­ence Cen­ter, you’ll find a salmon hatch­ery and aquar­i­um. Wildlife fans get an up-close look at the marine crea­tures that make this part of Alas­ka so special.

You’ll look eagles in the eye at this rap­tor rehab and edu­ca­tion cen­ter on the edge of Ton­gass Nation­al For­est. You’ll get a close-up look at a snowy owl, Amer­i­can kestrels, a pere­grine fal­con, a Swainson’s hawk, a West­ern screech owl, and oth­er birds of prey. 

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