8-Day Anchorage, Talketna, Denali & Fairbanks for Families with Kids Under 5

8 Days


May - September



Why This Trip?

Embark on an 8-day journey through Alaska's most captivating landscapes and family-friendly attractions, from Anchorage to Fairbanks. This itinerary is tailor-made for families with young children, featuring interactive zoos, museums, and easy nature trails that educate and entertain. Experience thrilling flightseeing in Talkeetna, hands-on activities at Denali’s learning centers, and charming riverboat tours in Fairbanks. Each destination offers unique adventures, such as dog mushing demonstrations and engaging wildlife encounters, ensuring a memorable trip that combines education with excitement.


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Day 1


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Welcome to Anchorage! Start your Alaskan adventure with a visit to the Alaska Zoo. This zoo is home to a variety of animals native to Alaska and other parts of the world, making it a great place for young children to see animals up close and learn about wildlife. Afterward, head to the Imaginarium Discovery Center at the Anchorage Museum. This hands-on science center features interactive exhibits that allow kids to explore and learn about science in a fun and engaging way. Or, if you want to maximize your time outside, visit the Alaska Botanical Garden, where you can explore trails and a variety of plants, providing a peaceful and educational outing for your little ones.

Photo: Alaska Zoo Moose

Day 2

Anchorage to Talkeetna

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Before leaving Anchorage, take a scenic walk or bike ride along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. This stroller-friendly trail offers beautiful views of the coastline and is perfect for a family outing. Afterward, drive to Talkeetna. Once you arrive, head to Talkeetna Riverfront Park, where everyone can enjoy the scenic views of the river and of Mt. Denali on a clear day.If time permits, explore the Talkeetna Wild Woods Park, which features an amazing playground full of Alaska-themed equipment, like the Alaska Railroad and a bush plane.

Photo: Talkeetna Wild Woods Park

Day 3

Talkeetna to Denali

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Start the day with a short, family-friendly flightseeing tour over the stunning landscapes around Talkeetna. These shorter flights can be exciting for young children and provide breathtaking views. After the flight, take a leisurely drive to Denali. Upon arrival, visit the Denali Visitor Center. This center has exhibits that are engaging for children and offers ranger-led programs that can be educational and entertaining for young kids. Participate in the Junior Ranger Program, where kids can complete a series of activities to earn a Junior Ranger badge.

Photo: Denali NPS Ranger Talk

Day 4


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Spend the day exploring Denali National Park. Begin with a visit to the Murie Science and Learning Center, which offers hands-on exhibits and activities that can captivate young minds. Then, take a short hike on the McKinley Station Trail, a relatively easy trail that offers a chance to explore the natural surroundings without too much exertion. In the afternoon, enjoy a sled dog demonstration. The park offers free sled dog demonstrations during the summer months, where kids can see the dogs up close and learn about their important role in the park. Or rent a bike from Denali Bike Tours to explore local trails. Bike trailers are available for smaller kids.

Photo: Denali Murie Science and Learning Center

Day 5

Denali to Fairbanks

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Before leaving Denali, take a short hike on the Horseshoe Lake Trail. This 2-mile round trip hike is relatively flat and offers beautiful views of the lake and potential wildlife sightings. After the hike, drive to Fairbanks. Upon arrival, visit Pioneer Park, a historic theme park featuring playgrounds, a carousel, and a mini-train ride. It's a great place for young children to explore and play.

Photo: Pioneer Park Fairbanks

Day 6


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Here are some ideas for your day in Fairbanks:

  • Visit Fairbanks Children's Museum, which offers interactive exhibits and hands-on activities designed specifically for young children.

  • Creamer's Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge is a great spot for an easy family nature walk and opportunities to see birds and other wildlife.

  • Stop into the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center, which has kid-friendly exhibits and activities that can engage young minds.

  • Visit to the Santa Claus House in North Pole, Alaska, just 20 minutes away from Fairbanks. Sit in Santa's sleigh, see the world's tallest Santa, and visit Santa's reindeer team.

  • Look for a dog sled tour where kids can meet and greet with Alaskan sled dogs and learn about the sport of dog mushing in Alaska.

Photo: Black Spruce Dog Sledding

Day 7

Fairbanks to Anchorage

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Before leaving Fairbanks, take a family-friendly Riverboat Discovery Cruise. This riverboat tour offers a chance to see wildlife, learn about Alaskan culture, and enjoy the scenic beauty of the area. After the cruise, it’s a 7-hour drive back to Anchorage. Or, you can opt to drop your rental car in Fairbanks and fly back to Anchorage (1 hr).

Photo: Riverboat Discovery Cruise

Day 8


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On your final day in Anchorage, head to Potter Marsh, situated at the edge of town overlooking Turnagain Arm. It’s an easily accessible wildlife viewing spot with 1500 feet of family friendly boardwalk. Look for migrating birds, salmon swimming under the boardwalks, and the occasional moose out in the marsh. Or visit one of the Anchorage Public Library locations for a storytime session, which many branches offer for young children. End your Alaskan adventure with a relaxing afternoon at one of Anchorage's beautiful parks or playgrounds, allowing the kids to play and explore before heading home.

Photo: Potter Marsh Boardwalk