Is your family doing the Springtime Happy Dance? We are, mostly because it’s light enough at 7 a.m. that AK Kid bounces out of bed with more enthusiasm than we’ve seen in months. Now that’s something to celebrate. While an Alaskan Break Up does present it’s own unique set of outdoor challenges for families, there remains plenty for moms, dads and kids to engage the senses and delight the soul, so here you go, Fun Friday with Spring in our step. Thanks, as always, to Alaska Center for Pediatrics, offering care for infants to teenagers (god bless ’em). May we all have a safe and healthy weekend.
SAVE THE DATES: Get out your family calendars and mark down these two important dates to hang out with AKontheGO. Saturday, April 30, I’ll be at Eagle River Nature Center presenting on the topic of “Taking the Kids: Traveling in Alaska and Beyond”. If you’ve wanted to know our favorite itineraries, tried and true by AK Fam, or need some fresh ideas of tricks and tips for schlepping the country or world with kiddos, you need this class. And, hey, bring the kids! 2 p.m. at ERNC. FREE, but $5 parking for non-members.
Wednesday, June 1, AKontheGO, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game present our 2nd Annual “Bear Safety for Families” class at Campbell Creek Science Center. A huge hit last year, this class will offer even more hands-on time learning about bear behavior, role-playing a family hiking/recreating adventure, and, of course, the all-important practice with inert bear spray. This FREE class is for parents, educators, coaches, teen babysitters, anyone who spends time with kids in the great Alaskan outdoors. NOTE: There will be NO structured activities for kids; parents must be responsible for their children at all times. This class will utilize bear spray that, while inert for this class, will teach that such spray is a weapon and only to be used with parental permission. Need more info? email me at e.kirklandO@gmail.com (that’s a zero after the “d”).
Alrighty, then, let’s move on to some fun things happening in Southcentral Alaska this weekend:
Alyeska Resort is hosting the U.S. Adaptive Alpine Nationals this weekend, and a ton of snow has fallen in the last 24 hours, so things are lookin’ good for power weekend of skiing. The Paralympic Programme has slated the Giant Slalom to be held Saturday and Slalom for Sunday, both primo for taking the kids to the hill and showing them the true meaning of courage. Amazing folks, amazing events, and an excellent day spent on the slopes. Call 907-754-2111 for info. Stop by that Bake Shop and nibble on some goodies for me, will you?
I talked with Katie Larson at the Alaska Zoo yesterday, and she told me that brown bears Jake and Oreo are up and at’em and feisty as ever! Bears, when awakening from their long winter’s nap, can sometimes be sluggish and cranky but apparently J and O were a little bit silly the other day. Pack up the kids, buy a 2011 Zoo Pass, and trot on over to their enclosure and see if you can get them to smile at you. The Zoo is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, and this is a great time to visit and catch animals shaking off the winter doldrums.
Eagle River Nature Center is springing ahead with a great Junior Naturalist class on Saturday called “Botany for Kids: Seeds and Buds”. I just like the sound of that. Join other kids K-6 for a chance to find out how plants get through winter and take a hunt through the fast-melting snow to find signs of spring. Dress for the weather. FREE, $5 parking for non-members. 2 p.m.
Snow is melting fast, as evidenced by the craters and lumps of ice in my driveway, and this weekend might be a great time to get the kids out on the trails before it all <gasp> goes away. Snowshoeing or skiing, snowy fun is a super family activity. Try the Campbell Tract for some tree-winding, snowshoeing fun (all flat, too for little legs, near the Science Center). Head up to Powerline Pass and Flattop near Glen Alps (part of Chugach State Park, see Glen Alps link) for some speed (and a few sledding hills). Or, if you really want to go the distance, drive out to Hatcher Pass and the Independence Mine and ski among the old buildings of this now-defunct mining community. Way, way cool. Stop at Hatcher Pass Lodge on the way down for a cocoa and some great views.
Did you catch Tuesday’s edition of the Alaska Travelgram Show, and our discussion with Beth Kerttula, House Minority Leader in beautiful Juneau? Scott McMurren did a fine job of interpreting the Alaska Airlines Constituent Fare special, and Beth told us all to get our kids down to the 49th state’s capital to learn legislative ins and outs. We’re there, as soon as AK Kid can sit still for more than five minutes. Listen to our podcast HERE. Good stuff.
Have a wonderful weekend, my friends. Happy, happy trails to you.