Five Alaska Holiday Hotspots: Bring the Family!

Okay. Halls decked. Larders full of holiday treats, check. Kids reminded of manners and required behavior at the dinner table, double check. I guess AK Grandma and Grandpa can arrive, now! This is our last post before we hop on board the Christmas crazy train, and frankly, we can’t wait. We have a full lineup of places to take our favorite relatives, but perhaps you’d like to have your own list of great stuff, in case a full house becomes a little squirrely, like ours surely will.

ZooLights! A great way to spend a snowy evening.

Here are five great places to take your visitors, this Christmas season: 

1. ZooLights at the Alaska Zoo. Oh, yes, there’s nothing finer than wandering the brightly-lit trails of this little woodsy zoo in Anchorage, and ZooLights just keeps getting better and better. Open Thursday-Sunday from 5-8 p.m., ZooLights features animation and exterior illumination to dazzle the whole family (yes, even the big kids). $5/pass holders, $7/everyone else.

2. Alaska Museum of Natural History. Think “nano” this winter as the fabulous education staff at this little museum in north Anchorage bring a new exhibit “Nano-Imagine” to life. Activity stations, interactive exhibits, and the favorite scavenger hunt await your school-aged kids over the holiday break. Thank goodness. Yes, the Dig Pit is still there, for little archeologists to play while older kids explore. $5/adults, $3/kids, $4/military and senior.


Upper tram terminal viewed on a foggy, frozen day.

3. Alyeska Resort. Ho, ho, ho, who wouldn’t like to go down to Girdwood and cozy up to a big stone fireplace while sipping a hot toddy or hot cocoa? Even for non-skiers, Alyeska Resort delivers holiday ambiance and plenty of stunning scenery. If skiing is the reason you’re there, however, keep in mind Alyeska starts Night Skiing tomorrow (Friday), so why not go for dinner and a schuss? Awesome. Oh, and Santa Claus will make a stop at the Hotel Alyeska tomorrow night, too! The Grand Ballroom is the meeting place between 6-9 p.m. Kids, you better be on your best behavior! Parents, if you’d like Santa to hand out a gift from you (him), call 907-754-1111.

4. Museum of the North. Fairbanks has had it rough these past few weeks. Frigid cold, lots of snow, but a perfect opportunity to investigate the science behind all this cold, and the animals who decide it’s better to sleep through it (I wish). The Hibernation, Science of Cold exhibit is now open, and I would highly recommend this for older school-agers, especially middle/high school kids, who might need an interesting topic for an upcoming science project, hmmmm? Admission is $10/general, $9/senior, and $5/kids 7-17. Love that kids under 7 are free. Thank you, UAF.


The (really) Big Guy. Image courtesy Santa Claus House.

5. Santa Claus House. All right, I know this is a store that sells Christmas in a big way. But step away from the commercialism for a second and work with me. Santa lives here, of course, and for goodness sake, kids need to see him before the Big Night. So why not stop by North Pole, Alaska, and pay him a visit, like some families have done every year since the store opened 60 years ago! Santa Claus House is open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, and on Christmas Even from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., so Santa can be on his way. Better check that list, twice!

Happy almost-weekend, and happy holidays! Hug your people tight, and we’ll see you soon.


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