An Alaska Family-Fun Friday: Fall Arrives With a Whisper

Just a teaser for a month from now....The view from my office window.

Did any other Alaskans wake up this morning to a furnace kicking on? AK Fam sure did, nestled as close to the Chugach Mountains as we are. Leaves are beginning to turn the merest shade of yellow, and the kids are back in school, so it must be time to  share our top weekend picks for early fall family travel, events, and activities in the 49th state. Special thanks to our Fun Friday sponsor, Alaska Center for Pediatrics, and our August sponsor, Homer Chamber of Commerce. Both of these entities are well-versed in caring for kids, and we thank them for their support of AKontheGO.

What’s up this weekend? 

Photo courtesy ERNC, by Al Meiners

Eagle River Nature Center has their newest yurt ready for family adventures. Located 2.5 miles from the visitor center building, the Yukla Yurt sleeps six happy campers, and comes with a wood stove, bunks, and some firewood. The ERNC yurts are fabulous options for families; part tent-part cabin, yurts are cozy alternatives to tent camping, but offer the same sort of backwoods experience. For current rates and availability of all ERNC’s yurts (year round!), visit the website HERE. Visiting Alaska and want a truly awesome outdoor experience? This is a great option.

ERNC also has posted their September activities/events schedule online, in an effort to reduce paper waste. Some upcoming events include Wed-Sunday Nature walks through August 30; a Junior Naturalist class on Sept. 1, all about Busy Beavers; and a family-friendly hike on September 8 in celebration of Grandparents Day!

Ohhhhh, funnel cake....

The Alaska State Fair opened yesterday, and quite a few hardy AKontheGO’ers made their way to Palmer for the annual conglomeration of food, giant vegetables, animals, and rides galore. With a much better weather forecast in store for the weekend, you can bet many folks will be packing up strollers and kids and heading out. Don’t want to drive? Consider the Alaska Railroad’s State Fair Train, taking the hassle out of parking in the highly-irritating lots. It’s not cheap ($54/adults, $27/kids 6-12, for example), but when one considers fuel and parking fees, it might be worth the extra shekels. Give it a try! I know today is a very special day at the Alaska State Fair; Goat Fun Day, in fact. What is this? Just part of the kitchy fun available in Palmer, friends. Borrow a pygmy goat from the young handlers and coax it to run an obstacle course to win an exceptional prize. No kid-ding. Heh.

AKontheGO'er E. enjoys her crowberry bounty at Arctic Valley.

The berries are ripe and hordes of AKontheGO’ers and their pint-sized pickers are headed up and out for some blueberries, crowberries, currants, and a few lowbush cranberries (those won’t be totally ready until we have a frost, though). AK Kid and I hit the slopes of Arctic Valley Ski Area last weekend and found a bounty of crowberries, and had a ton of fun besides! I love A.V.; I can see AK Kid, he can see me, and the freedom of rushing up and down the slopes is outstanding for a seven year-old. Awesome day.

Mark your calendars NOW for the visit of Richard Louv, famous author of Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder. Louv will be in Fairbanks September 5, and Anchorage September 6 to speak on the merits of connecting the whole family to nature, even in this crazy digital age in which we live. Do not miss these events, suitable for parents, grandparents, educators, counselors – anyone who works with or loves children. My partners at Get Outdoors Alaska have teamed up and done a great job of promoting Louv’s visit, so show up at one of the FREE evening discussions. Find the details HERE.

As always, find a ton of family friendly events and activities at the Calendar of Events, and do share your own with the class! Happy, happy weekend, friends.






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