Virtual Alaska

There’s one thing we know for sure right now; we could all use an escape from today’s reality. Many of us are seeking a literal escape from self-quarantines in our homes. While breaking out isn’t possible for most just yet, Alaska can still deliver a breath of fresh air to us at home via webcams and social media. Check out the wide-open spaces of Alaska’s national parks, learn about our wildlife, tour some of our cultural museums and more right from your couch. We admit, it’s not quite the same as being here in person, but a daily dose of nature and wildlife cuteness is a pretty strong lifeline these days.

We highly recommend starting in Katmai National Park and Preserve. Millions of people log on religiously to watch the brown bears that call this park home catch fish and bathe in the Brooks River each summer. Sure, those bears are hibernating right now, but that doesn’t make these 25 minutes of bear footage any less captivating.

Can’t get enough? Watch Pacific walrus haul out on this beach on Round Island here. (There’s zero social distancing going on; don’t be jealous.) Spy on this Arctic Snowy Owl in Utqiagvik (formerly known as Barrow) as it feeds its young, plays and preens. Or opt for the peace and tranquility of the changing skies over Dumpling Mountain back in Katmai National Park. We could sit up there for hours looking out over the alpine tundra and lake.

If you’re ready for a little more adventure (this is Alaska, isn’t it?), follow this park ranger into a crevasse in Exit Glacier at Kenai Fjords National Park. Or visit Southeast Alaska’s coastline, hiking trails and even a totem pole with these 360-degree panoramas.

Missing Alaska’s wildlife already? The Alaska SeaLife Center is offering virtual tours with its seals, sea lions, eels, seabirds, salmon and more on Facebook and YouTube. The Alaska Zoo’s staff is sharing up-close experiences with its polar bears, porcupines, wolves and other animals on Facebook. The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center captures its animals (bears, bison, musk ox) in all their cuteness over on Instagram. And you can meet bald eagles, owls and other large birds at the Alaska Raptor Center’s Facebook page as they livestream avian releases and check in on raptors in residence.

We’re also getting our daily dose of culture from Alaska’s museums on Facebook. The Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center is bringing art pieces, films and learning resources to life here. The Alaska State Museum is sharing images from its galleries on a daily basis here. And the Alaska Native Heritage Center is hosting twice weekly virtual storytelling sessions with culture bearers from across the state and weekly staff-guided live tours of the authentic Native dwellings on site, right here. Take a virtual tour of Kodiak’s Alutiiq Museum to learn more about this Alaska Native people through photos, artwork, archeological discoveries and more. Ready to sit back and listen? Visit the Museum of the North’s “The Place Where You Go To Listen” virtually and take in the sounds of the aurora, the moon and the solstices.

There’s plenty more where that came from. Access the soundscapes taped at Denali National Park and Preserve. You’ll hear birds twittering and animals calling. Close your eyes and you might feel the cool breeze and warm sun on your face too.

While we can’t travel to the places we’d rather be right now, these virtual escapes can sure help transport us ever so briefly. Want to share these moments of serenity with your colleagues who are also working from home? Download our Zoom backgrounds (use these online instructions), choosing from:

Last, but not least, keep your eye on TravelAlaska.com’s Facebook and Instagram pages too. We’ll be coming up with even more ways for you to enjoy Alaska virtually and delivering as much fresh air, wild landscapes, scenic views and cute animals as we can. Because we have plenty to spare and share.

Stay home, stay healthy. We’ll be waiting for you in Alaska.

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