Fun Friday in Alaska: Anchors Aweigh!

Welcome to Friday and another edition of the AKontheGO family travel roundup of activities around the state. Even though we’re not sweltering under desert-like conditions here in Alaska, it’s still a 49th state summer, and we’ve got a full calendar to prove it.

CDR Brian Quin of the U.S.S. Anchorage tries out John Baker's dogsled at the Alaska Native Heritage Center.

My week was a busy one with the arrival of CDR. Brian Quin of the U.S.S. Anchorage, due to be commissioned in our fair city spring, 2013. Captain Quin visited the Anchorage Museum, traveled to Seward aboard the Alaska Railroad, went flightseeing, then toured the Alaska Native Heritage Center, and in between shared a bit of himself with Alaska. We’re sure proud to be part of the Commissioning Committee, and hope you’ll make plans now to attend the ceremonies next spring. Keep a close eye out for upcoming events around the state as the event draws near; we’ll keep you posted!

PORT TOURS: If you’d like to gather an up-close view of where the U.S.S. Anchorage will be actually be docked in 2013 for the commissioning ceremonies, take the family on a Port of Anchorage tour this Sunday. From 11 a.m.-3 p.m., anyone can take a FREE tour of the Port via comfy motorcoach. Meet at the Alaska Railroad Headquarters building on W. Ship Creek and catch the bus. This tour is suitable for anyone who can sit on a bus – little ones may need some quiet, seated activities. Tours last approximately 1.5 hours.

BEAR PAW FESTIVAL: Show off your community spirit by attending Eagle River’s annual Bear Paw Festival all weekend in the town of Eagle River. Games, a parade, fun run, and rides, rides, rides are all on board for this popular event, running through July 15. Find a complete schedule of events HERE.

Birding in Homer, always fun!

HOMER OUTDOOR FUN: Like birds? Go on a Birding Hike at Eagle Lake and Jaeger Bog on Saturday with the Kachemak Bay Birders. Michael Craig will lead folks of all ages along a 2-mile, gravel road area to the bog. Wear rubber boots and be prepared for all sorts of weather. Call 907-235-0634 for info.

Stop in at Islands and Ocean, pick up a fishing pole, and visit this big guy!

Homer’s Islands and Ocean Visitor Center has a bunch of fishing poles for loan! If you don’t have a fishing pole but have a hankering to catch some fish, head on over to the center any day between 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and borrow one, courtesy of the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve’s Kids in Nature Fishing Education program. Awesome! While you’re there, don’t forget to wander the excellent exhibits. Loans can last from 1-3 days.

FAIRBANKS CHILDREN’S MUSEUM. This dedicated crew at FCM is sponsoring another Museum Without Walls event on Saturday, to be held at JP Jones Community Center, 2400 Rickert Street. All kids are welcome; $5/child, $15/family. Kids, your grownups are free! Support this wonderful effort to establish a permenant site so all kids and parents can come play in a dedicated space!

Hallo Bay Bear Camp: A place of legends.

HALLO BAY BEAR CAMP: Thinking about a bear-viewing experience this summer? You all know how much I adore Hallo Bay Bear Camp, but now I have another reason. Naturalist/Guide Simyra Hlebechuk has been selected for Wanderlust magazine’s “Final Four” of their World Guide award, and will be headed to London in October for the top-dog, er, bear, decision. Simyra is the only U.S. guide to be selected, so join AK Fam in a hearty high-five for the entire Hallo Bay crew!

Keep Science Center Drive like it is!

ACTION ALERT: I don’t normally jump on any federal bandwagons, AKontheGO’ers, but this one is too important to neglect. AK Fam adores the Campbell Tract and Campbell Creek Science Center, both for the stellar education provided, but also for the natural setting in which we can safely recreate as a family. One of our favorite areas is the currently un-paved (called “High-Float”) Science Center Drive roadway. AK Kid learned to ride his bike along this road, we regularly run here, and regularly, I see bears, moose, and the occasional coyote along the way. Speed limit along this driveway is 25 mph, and while there are a few folks who tend to forget, in general, this roadway retains the feel of a quiet country backroad. And we want it to stay that way. BLM has plans, however, to blacktop-pave Science Center Drive with smooth, black asphalt and yellow stripes down the middle; like any other city or state road. Trouble is, folks, I believe this will immediately take away our country road and replace it with city driving habits. We do have a voice, however: send your comments in support of keeping the current road surface, asap, to mcobbs@blm.gov. Do it today, for the sake of our children, our wildlife, and our peace of mind.

Stay happy, get outside, and enjoy the weekend!

EK

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