Travelgram Recap and Upcoming Veterans Day Hotspots

The Alaska Zoo, a must-see when visiting the 49th state.

Yesterday’s Alaska Travelgram Show (Podcast HERE) was a fabulous hour of travel power. Not only was Scott McMurren reporting live from the Emerald City of Seattle, giving us the 411 on where to stay and play during the late-autumn months, but in the studio with moi was Eileen Floyd of the Alaska Zoo with tons of great info on Alaska’s arctic/subarctic-themed crittle castle. Eileen wanted to make Travelgram listeners marked their calendars for tomorrow, Thursday, and the debut of three little bears (sans Goldilocks), who were brought to the Zoo from south Anchorage a month ago. These adorable little critters will be allowed to roam their enclosure starting tomorrow, and you can be one of the first to join me in thanking the Zoo for their care of these cubs. The zoo opens at 10 a.m., so hop on over; I might even grab a latte and see you there!

AK Dad and Kid explore one of the many lighted areas of the Alaska Zoo during Zoo Lights 2010/11

Additionally, Eileen tossed the schedule for 2011/12 Zoo Lights our way, announcing opening day of Friday, November 25, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Continuing through January 8, 2012, Zoo lights will take a break until February 24, when the night sky will light up for Fur Rendezvous through March 4, 2012. Tickets are $7/pp, $5/pass holders pp, and advance purchase is available right HERE! AK Fam had a wonderful time last year, arriving right at 5 p.m. and revelling in the growls of the tigers, the rustle of the yaks, and the dance party music from some of the displays (the hockey playing Nanooks and Seawolves was quite spectacular, btw). Do go.

JetBlue's nonstop service to Long Beach, CA begins May 25, 2012!

Scott and I announced the return of JetBlue to Anchorage next summer (oh, happy dance; I’m so excited for free snacks and television!). Service begins May 25 (1 a.m. flight, remember) and runs through September 4, 2012. WAIT! Mr. McTravelGuru says to hold your horses, however, before snapping up any tickets; in a burst of fortune-telling, he believes prices will go down, and hard, after the first of the year. So wait right HERE before you do anything about your Southern California adventures.

HONORING THOSE WHO SERVED:

So, on to an important week for Alaska, the place with the highest number of veterans, per capita, than any other state in the Union. We’re pretty proud of our men, women, AND their families, who serve and protect our country. AKontheGO is honored to know you. Here are a few events/places to visit with the kids between now and the weekend for an opportunity to experience the history of Alaska’s vets:

The whole family will appreciate the many exhibits at the Alaska Veterans Museum in Anchorage. (photo courtesy AVM)

Alaska Veterans Museum, 333 W 4th Avenue, Anchorage. A new facility honoring all service members, past, present, and future, this museum is a recent addition to the slate of great exhibits found in many of Alaska’s museums. Located in the 4th Avenue Mall near D street, up in Suite 27, the museum is planning a Veterans Day (Friday) ceremony and open house to honor all vets in the state, but most notably the late Senator Ted Stevens. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday during the winter, the museum welcomes families! A small fee of $3 (kids under 2 FREE) gets you in to see some great airplanes, ships, and memorabilia from those dedicated service members who continue their job at great sacrifice. Visit their website for event details and times.

This afternoon, the Alaska VA Healthcare System is honoring women veterans with a ceremony at the Loussac Library in Anchorage at 3 p.m. While this event is not exactly geared toward children, older tweens and teens might garner an appreciation (and earn a merit badge for citizenship, attention scouts!) by attending this event. Women played an enormous role in WWII and beyond (my great aunt, in fact, was an Army nurse who accompanied General Douglas MacArthur to the liberation of the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp), and today’s ceremony will provide insight, information, and recognition of women like her. FREE. Lower level of library.

The Alaska Aviation Museum, of course, is always a wonderful place to visit and chat with museum volunteers, many of whom are veterans. Give kids a few questions to answer before heading out, like “Why do you think military life would have been difficult in Alaska?” or “Can you find out the five branches of military service?” You’d be surprised what kids can find out.

The Anchorage Museum, too, offers some great exhibit space for learning more about Alaska’s role during WWII, especially the Aleution exchanges, including launches of air strikes against Japan from Anchorage, with many photographs to back it up. Labeled as the “Alaska At War” exhibit, this might be better suited for older kids due to the subject matter and complex photo captions.

The state has a wealth of outdoor memorials and monuments dedicated to our Alaskan veterans, and come Memorial Day, we’ll provide a list of these outside options. For now, take a few hours, if you can, and visit these indoor spots. Don’t forget to thank a veteran, current or past, and encourage your kids to thank they, and their families, too.

(photo courtesy Anchorage Museum)

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