Weekend Winners in Alaska: Hiking, Birding, and Happy Families

The weekend has arrived, let the happy dancing commence! Welcome to our weekly roundup of Family Fun in Alaska, brought to you by Alaska Center for Pediatrics, caring for kiddos since 1982.

Every day the AKontheGO email-box (togoak@gmail.com) is filling up with suggestions, events, and information crucial to outdoor fam fun. While our Calendar of Events (above) is a great place to see what’s happening in Alaska, here are a few highlighted activities we find to be just right for the whole crew:

AK Kid learns about snow shelters last winter. This one is framed with Nordic skis!

“Survivor Man For Kids”: We love this class happening Saturday at Eagle River Nature Center. Junior Naturalists K-6 will learn how to stay warm with the help of a volunteer survival expert. Kids will investigate how our bodies warm up and cool down, learn about proper clothing, and try to build a fire outdoors using materials gathered from the forest. 2 p.m., FREE, $5 parking for non-members. Every Alaskan school-aged child should take this class (another will be offered mid-winter) to know the importance of proper clothing and care of one’s body.

“Family Hiking”: ERNC offers a family-friendly hike on Sunday to practice all those newly-found warm skills. Taking off at noon, all hiking family members will head 1.25 miles out to the Public Use Cabin. Strollers are perfect for this hike, by the way, so bring the little ones, too! Limited to 16, so call 907-694-2108 to register. FREE, $5 parking for non-members.

Reindeer antler, anyone? Everybody loves the Reindeer Farm in Palmer, stop by for some Halloween fun.

“Reindeer Farm Family Fun”: Contining through Halloween weekend, the Williams family welcomes your family to their charming reindeer farm. From 10 a.m.-6 p.m. kids and parents can enjoy a hay maze, tractor ride, reindeer schmooze, and pumpkin patch. Ever patted a reindeer on the noggin? Here’s your chance. AK Fam went last weekend and was delighted by all there was to see and do. $10 a person is not too much to pay for such a lovely little spot.

We received a bunch of emails from the fine folks at the Alaska Center for Coastal Studies, offering so many family-friendly events this winter I had trouble fitting them all on the calendar. Wynn Nature Center is the base of operations during the winter months, and they welcome you to snowshoe your way around their lovely property with a stunning view of Kachemak Bay. Stop by their HQ at 708 Smokey Bay Way in Homer to rent some snowshoes for $5, or become a member and receive FREE rentals all winter long! Guided snowshoe walks are tons of fun with kids, and the staff at Wynn do a great job of informing and educating on a child’s level. Call 907-235-6746 for info.

Wintery snowshoe explorations are fun in Alaska.

After you’ve stomped around in the snow for a while, don’t forget to sneak down to Two Sisters Bakery for a sticky bun and cocoa or coffee, either. THAT will provide the necessary pick-me-up, I’m sure, and they are the main reason we always stay at Homer Seaside Cottages just down the block. Yep. Home sweet-roll-home.

We are hearing rumblings that Hatcher Pass is dandy-fine for some early skiing and snowshoeing, so do saddle up and head north to the MatSu Valley for some snowy fine fun. Groomers have been hard at work around Independence Mine, so everyone can enjoy a Nordic experience together. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even be able to find a good sledding hill nearby, but don’t forget the helmet!  Looking to stay overnight? Hatcher Pass Lodge is a rustic lodge with scenery reminiscent of European Alps. No kidding. Enjoy a great meal then cozy up to their coal-fired stove and watch the tranquility of winter settle into your bones. Ahhhh-laska! I’m dreaming about it right now.

Hatcher Pass rocks for snowshoeing and skiing. Big kids, little kids, and grown-up kids! Photo courtesy of AlaskaStock.com

Enjoy the weekend, hit the road, and remember that you are part of a vibrant community of outdoor-loving people, important to us!


Posted in Alaskan Winter Fun, Day Trips, Health and Safety, Kenai Peninsula, Miscellaneous and tagged , , , , .