A whopping 86 teams make up the current field of Iditarod 44, putting this year’s contest in the top five for numbers. Who drops out just before the official start remains to be seen, but as of today, this is shaping up to be a contest for the books. Of course, the fact that Anchorage has not seen measurable snowfall in more than a month could have something to do with the history-making talk swirling around Anchorage right now.
That said, excitement is high for Iditarod Ceremonial Start day, scheduled for Saturday, March 5, and as usual, AKontheGO has plenty of great ideas to keep kids occupied and happy for what could be a long day along the 11 miles of trail between 4th Avenue and Campbell Airstrip.
Travel Tuesday is tomorrow, and if you tune in at 6:50 a.m. to KTVA 11’s Daybreak you’ll be able to see the only official AKontheGO Iditarod 2016 Scavenger Hunt. Thanks to my Daybreak hosts, this check-em-as-you-see-em scavenger hunt activity is bound to teach everyone in the family a bit more about the Last Great Race, and maybe even get mushers talking to your kids in the staging area. So tune in tomorrow morning for scavenger hunting tips and my best go-to strategies for watching Ceremonial Start Day with children.
Once you’ve printed out your scavenger hunt (I’ll also have a PDF version on the AKontheGO Facebook page), busy yourselves at three excellent venues to learn more about the Iditarod, sled dogs, and the important traditions surrounding dog mushing in Alaska.
- Alaska Native Heritage Center will be open from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, with FREE admission and plenty of chances to visit with sled dog teams not racing in the journey to Nome this year. Kids activities, music, and dance are likely from the amazing performers of ANHC.
- Alaska Public Lands Information Center doors will be open Saturday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. for Historic Iditarod Trail information, maps, an indoor-scavenger hunt about Alaska animals, and an open movie theater. Everyone should stop by this facility, where staff are helpful and know all about Alaska’s (and thus, your) public lands. NOTE: Take ID if you’re over 18; this is a federal facility.
- Campbell Creek Science Center is hosting their annual Open House from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at their facilty off Elmore Road. Hot cocoa, activities, guest speakers, and tons of great access to the trail for up-close and personal opportunities to high-five a musher, or holler “Booties!” Free. NOTE: Catch a free shuttle from Kasuun Elementary or Abbott Loop Community Park, or choose to walk the trails from either to the science center or Campbell Airstrip, the end of the race on Day 1.
Ready for the Last Great Race?
Oh yes, we are.