AKontheGO loves to connect kids with the diverse cultures of our 49th state, and a favorite, the Alaska Native Heritage Center, opened last Sunday for another season of inspiring and educating visitors from all around the world, and right here at home.
Children and parents will enjoy the recently renovated Children’s Art Adventure Area, located near the door to outside village sites. Featuring a lovely display of Alaskan words centering around children, family, and love, the area is a subtle reminder of the importance of youth to a generation’s longevity. On Sunday, there were crafts, books, a large chalkboard, and animal pelts to explore as the grownups enjoyed performances in the Gathering Place nearby.
And such music! Between the Heritage Center’s own dancers and drummers and the fantastic harmonies of Pamyua, a local favorite, AK Fam tapped toes and clapped hands along with the hundreds of other spectators huddled around the stage. Check out the video of Pamyua singer Phillip Blanchett leading a dance about hunting, and notice his exaggerated actions to tell the story in a most unique way.
Head outside to the now-completely accessible trail leading around Lake Tuliana, where dwellings of each Alaska Native group sit, ready for inspection. Take your time, ask questions, and savor the differences between traditions long regarded as essential to survival up north.
We took a picnic and enjoyed relaxing near the lake as a kayaker, resplendent in traditional garb, paddled quietly nearby. The sounds of children mingled with the music inside, and everybody, it seemed, was in a reflective mood. We become more thoughtful about who we are, where we came from, and how we can continue.
The Alaska Native Heritage Center is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and a shuttle can transport visitors to or from downtown. A new feature offers the opportunity to rent an iPod Touch for $5 at the front window for a self-guided tour, and kids can try their hand at a scavenger hunt all around the property.
Admission is two-for-one with the Alaska TourSaver; otherwise adults are $25.95, military/seniors $21.15, and kids 7-16 are $16.95. From downtown Anchorage, try the new Trolleys and Traditions tour, seeing the sights of the city, then taking off for the Heritage Center. Tickets for this experience are $35/per person. Great for multigenerational families!
Alaska residents pay about half the regular admission rates, with adults costing $9.95, kids 7-16, $6.95. Not bad at all.
We are proud to have the Alaska Native Heritage Center as an AKontheGO sponsor, this summer.