Anchorage Ways to Play This Summer

Image courtesy Anchorage Downtown Partnership.

OK, parents. Summer vacation and a gradual reopening of Alaska have both begun. Slowly, tourism-based businesses in the greater Anchorage area are opening their doors and welcoming visitors who are just as glad as they to be out of the house. With Alaska’s mandated 14-day inbound travel quarantine still in effect, the state is at our disposal, residents, and here in Anchorage, there’s plenty to see and do. Has it been a while since you’ve explored Alaska’s largest city? This might be a great time to do it. But please keep these tips in mind, because each Anchorage business has its own strategies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while still operating successfully: 

  • Read business websites and other material before booking, to ensure you have their procedures straight. Some places require pre-purchase of tickets to avoid any contact. Others require masks for entry. Whatever it is, you should know ahead of time. 
  • Follow their directions for masks, handwashing, distancing, etc. If you take issue with said restrictions, take up with owners/management, not employees. Be respectful, please. 
  • The list below is a mere sampling of Anchorage family fun, so keep tabs on the latest openings by following Visit Anchorage.  And remember, tourism plays a huge role in Alaska’s overall economy, so when you play, you help support the thousands of people who rely upon the industry for their livelihood. 

Looking for Anchorage activities? Here we go!

Pick up an Anchorage Trolley Tour at the corner of 4th and F street for a one-hour drive through historic Anchorage. Erin Kirkland/AKontheGO

Anchorage Trolley Tours

A fixture of the corner of 4th Avenue and F Street for years, Anchorage Trolley Tours has long provided one of the best overview tours of the city. Riding in a replica street car trolley that transports guests around Anchorage’s historical and cultural icon locations (Ding, Ding!), the tour is only an hour long, but I always learn something new every time I step aboard. 

The company plans to resume operations daily starting June 1, and for Anchorage residents, here’s something: Join the new Conductor’s Club and receive 20% off tours this summer. Hint: This is a great activity for a bunch of kids and parents on a rainy day. 

Pricing: $10/12 under; $20/13 over, with three and under, free. 

The Alaska Aviation Museum has expanded its offerings for families at the facility along Lake Hood. Heather Mundt image

Alaska Aviation Museum

Located along the shores of Lake Hood, the busiest seaplane base in the world, the Alaska Aviation Museum is small but packed with information and aircraft that stretch back to Anchorage’s early days as an aviation hub. Don’t miss the simulator, the tower cab outside where you can hear all the air traffic control chatter, or the special area just for little ones. The museum will open on May 28, and welcomes guests Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. during this initial phase of COVID-19 planning. 

Pricing: $10/age three-13; $14/seniors and military; $17/adults; under three free. 

 

The Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center has become a fixture of downtown exploration for residents and visitors alike. Image courtesy Anchorage Museum

Anchorage Museum 

Opening back up on June 5, the Anchorage Museum is not going to look the same just yet, but rest assured, staff are taking your family’s health and safety into every consideration, so be patient. The Discovery Center will remain closed, as will The Muse restaurant. Hours of operation will be 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, through the month of June. 

All admissions are by timed appointment and must be purchased online. Staff ask all who enter to wear some sort of face covering. 

Find pricing details HERE

Additionally, the Anchorage Museum is conducting their popular summer camps, but with an “at home” twist. Find out how your kids can participate HERE. 

 

The Alaska Native Heritage Center in east Anchorage reopens on June 12, 2020. Erin Kirkland/AKontheGO

Alaska Native Heritage Center 

Located at the north end of Muldoon Road in east Anchorage, the Alaska Native Heritage Center typically opens up for the summer season on Mother’s Day, but COVID-19 put a damper on that. Instead, the center will reopen on June 12. Unfortunately, no one answered my phone calls, but the ANHC website has pricing and exhibit information listed. There were no COVID-19 protocols posted, so if you plan to visit, also plan for facial coverings, frequent hand-washing, and social distancing indoors and out. That said, there are plenty of opportunities to be outdoors and exploring at the various village sites, and the setting is lovely. 

Pricing: $9.95/kids four-17, Alaska residents; $13.95/adult Alaska residents. 

 

A howling good time at the Alaska Zoo, any time of year. Michael Mundt image.

Alaska Zoo 

After a careful reopening of its south Anchorage location off O’Malley Road, the zoo is now open seven days a week for the summer season. Those age two and older must wear masks and follow all directional signs/arrows (lots of one-way traffic, so please, please, heed them). 

The Alaska Zoo still sells online tickets only, but zoo members can now present their name at admissions and bypass the online step. The gift shop is open. Zoo day camps will be operating at a capacity of  15 kids, age 6-12, in one-week blocks. If you’re interested in signing up, today would be a good time to jump. Camps will begin on June 1. 

 

Erin Kirkland/AKontheGO

Alaska Photo Treks

Have older kids? The expertise of Anchorage-based Alaska Photo Treks provide a great opportunity to capture the essence of Alaska, with a pro. These folks have classes focusing on downtown Anchorage, sunsets, wildlife, and there’s even a smartphone class so we can catch up to our teenagers’ abilities. Plus, photography is one of those skills a kid can use forever. 

 

Celebrating a fantastic catch. Image courtesy the Dyke family.

The Bait Shack

Oh HEY! The fish are running at Ship Creek, and Bait Shack owner Dustin Slinker is all spooled up for another fun season of fishing in downtown Anchorage. Need gear? No problem, parents. The Bait Shack can set up the entire family, and even rent for multiple days if you want to try your luck elsewhere in Southcentral. Oh, and kids 12 and under are half-price; just $25 for a rod, reel, and waders for 24 hours.  

 ~ EK

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