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.
Just outside Ketchikan, the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary promises a close-up view of old-growth forest, salmon habitat, an historic lumber mill, totem carving, raptor exhibits, and chances to see black bear and other wildlife – all in under 3 hours! There’s no better introduction to Alaska’s Southeast than this showcase of ecology, wildlife, history and Native culture.
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 flat terrain, as part of a program that will one day restore the species to the Alaskan wilderness. Animals that cannot be released into the wild are given a permanent home at the center. Come be a part of these exciting programs and watch these animals display their natural, “wild”, behavior.
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 behind-the-scenes tours.
Spring to Summer (Winter by Appointment)
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.
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.
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!
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.
Ketchikan is black bear country, and just outside town you can see them in their favorite summertime activity – fishing for protein-rich Alaska salmon. A walking tour through the lush foliage of the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary reveals prime salmon habitat, a certain attraction for hungry bears. Wait and watch for this apex species in action – pouncing on fish, teaching cubs, and chasing each other to the feasting grounds.
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.
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 realistically positioned, including ocean-dwelling creatures like halibut; river species like salmon; bear and moose; and mountain dwellers like Dall’s sheep and mountain.
The American Bald Eagle Foundation and Live Raptor Center is a non-profit education center located near the post office, a few…
Summer: May 18th to September 11th
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.
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 More...