Adventures in Alaska – Fairbanks
This Alaska series will cover traveling with Adventures by Disney as well as extending our trip and spending 4 days in the Alaskan Bush on our own. Since our trip, ABD has changed the itinerary for this trip, so read the fine print. This is NOT a sponsored post, what you read, is what you get. We chose to take this trip in early August to get away from the heat at home, and to coincide with the salmon season. My boys were ages 6, 8, and 10 at the time.
Arriving in Fairbanks after a long traveling day, there is till so much time left in the day due to the time change, and in the summer the the sun is so high in the evenings, it feels like the day will never be over.
Fairbanks has such a small town feel with the manageable airport and convenient trolley shuttle that circles major attractions and hotels. We stayed at the Sophie Station which is a popular hotel for cruise extensions (which we were not), but it’s on the shuttle stop, so we loved it. The rooms were actually like a Residence Inn with a mini kitchen, bedroom with 2 queens and a living room with a sofa. So if you have a family of 5 or 6, you can get away with only one room. Hurray!
Pioneer Park is a great place for kids. Wide open spaces, with several playgrounds, a train loop, a few museums, a riverboat and a salmon bake all on the same grounds. We spent several hours there, but could have spent even more. It was not crowded at all during the afternoon hours.
Outside of Fairbanks is the best viewing spot for the Trans Alaskan Pipeline. Our group posed for silly pictures with the perspective of us holding the thing up. You can touch it and walk along it a little while. There’s a great exhibit about how it is cleaned with a machine called a pig. I knew nothing about it, but was fascinated by the measures they have taken to protect it from the shifting Earth and the changes in the permafrost. It was interesting to see it above ground, only to disappear underground a few hundred yards away.
Another place not to be missed is a dog kennel for sled dogs. In the summer, lots of dog sledders open their places up to tourists since it is their off season. Our group tour took us to Trail Breaker Kennels run by David Monson (his late wife, Susan Butcher, won the Iditarod 4 times) to meet and HOLD the new puppies for the season and the older sled dogs that are on summer vacation. Her trophies were even on display, too. Puppies and kids, need we say more? Again, some advantages of a group tour are that they can get you into places you might not get into on your own. But many kennels do tours, so check it out even if you are on your own.
They even pulled someone from our group and put them in full racing dog sledding gear and explained how it all worked. They also sold the book “Granite”, a children’s story about Susan Butcher’s lead dog. Our kids loved it and it is always great to read stories about where you are headed before you go. It’s a true story of survival, so give it a look.
These puppies were so cute! They name the puppies in groups. So, one group’s names were Mars, Hershey, Snickers, etc. Another group was Gravy, Garlic, Sage, etc. Don’t ya just want to take one home? Or at least cuddle with them all?
This was our first jump into a land based group tour anywhere. But some of these experiences were made just for our group. So far the group travel has worked out, big thumbs up! But even if you rent a car and head out on your own in Fairbanks, with a little planning ahead, you can hit these great things too! Next up, Denali…