Spending a Kid-Friendly Spring Break in Alaska

Springtime in Alaska means longer days and warmer weather, especialy this year. Erin Kirkland/AKontheGO

Springtime in Alaska means longer days and warmer weather, especially this year. Erin Kirkland/AKontheGO

For once, the concept of ‘spring break’ in Alaska might actually match with the dates provided by school districts. Kids will be released to fly to Hawaii, Arizona, or other warm, fuzzy places next week, except for those of us staying here. But staying here means a full list of kid-friendly fun without spending a lot of money, so we’ll join the legions of other families sleeping in, making pancakes, and spending our days roaming favorite haunts.

Given that both Fur Rendezvous and the Iditarod Sled Dog Race lead off spring break, kids will be busy over the weekend, especially if they are Fairbanks-bound like AK Kid and I. But after the dogs leave, and Rondy carnival rides are taken down, what next?

 

Take advantage of late-afternoon/night skiing at Alyeska Resort through March 28. Erin Kirkland/AKontheGO

Take advantage of late-afternoon/night skiing at Alyeska Resort through March 28. Erin Kirkland/AKontheGO

Go skiing. Alyeska Resort is excited to announce night skiing March 5-28 on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, 4-8 p.m. Mountain-watchers tell me the snow is great, and nothing beats a sunset from the top of the tram. Even if you don’t ski, ride that tram to the top, have dinner and explore the Roundhouse Museum, then head back down.

 

 

Wood bison create a ghostly vision at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Some of the herd is due for release this month. Erin Kirkland/AKontheGO

Wood bison create a ghostly vision at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Some of the herd is due for release this month. Erin Kirkland/AKontheGO

Attend a bison curtain call. The famous Wood Bison of Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center are almost on their way to a release for the first time in decades. Tentatively, the center plans to move the beasts on March 22, which means intermittent center closures while they get ready. Spring break is an ideal time to give them a proper ‘goodbye’ and ‘good luck.’

 

 

Kids enjoy a bit of information at the Alaska Public Lands Information Center in Anchorage. [nps.gov]

Kids enjoy a bit of information at the Alaska Public Lands Information Center in Anchorage. [nps.gov]

Get to know your public lands. The Alaska Public Lands Information Center on Fourth Avenue in downtown Anchorage is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, and is a great place to learn more about the state’s public wilderness. Grab a map, take a scavenger hunt, or watch one of several free films of appropriate kid-length (14-29 minutes) about everything from trains to volcanoes. Note: All adults MUST have valid I.D. to be admitted into this federal building.

 

 

Hands-on lab time for kids 6-12 is what Spark! Lab is all about. [afsa.org]

Hands-on lab time for kids 6-12 is what Spark! Lab is all about. [afsa.org]

Start a creative spark. At Spark!Lab Smithsonian, of course! The Anchorage Museum is proud to announce the opening of this innovative, creative, and totally amazing exhibit for kids 6-12. Opening this weekend, Spark! seeks to promote STEM learning in a hands-on manner that appeals to the elementary-aged student, and I’ll be attending media day Thursday. Stay tuned for hot tips and sparktacular examples of this new exhibition.

 

 

Sculptures are illumated by colored lights at Ice Alaska in Fairbanks. Erin Kirkland/AKontheGO

Sculptures are illumated by colored lights at Ice Alaska in Fairbanks. Erin Kirkland/AKontheGO

Head north. If Fairbanks is your destination, don’t miss winners like the Fairbanks Children’s Museum, open Tuesday-Sunday; the Morris Thompson Cultural Visitors Center, open daily; and Ice Alaska, also open daily, where sculptures are making headway despite warmish temperatures (a colder snap is expected this weekend, thankfully).

Celebrate our Alaska Winter-Spring!

~EK

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