Wildlife viewing in Alaska’s zoos and conservation centers
If wildlife viewing is a high priority for your Alaska vacation, then be sure to visit one of Alaska’s zoos and conservation centers. You may think an encounter in the wild can’t be improved upon, but these excellent facilities offer safe, close viewing you won’t find in nature.
Our tour of Alaska’s zoos and conservation centers begins with a species you’re not likely to bump into in the wild: musk oxen. Both Fairbanks and Palmer have centers dedicated to protecting these holdovers from the Ice Age. In Fairbanks, the Large Animal Research Station on the campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks features naturalist-led tours of its musk-ox husbandry facility three times daily during the summer. In Palmer, the Musk Ox Farm also has daily tours and supports a unique cooperative project that employs women in remote Arctic villages who knit the musk ox’s silky undercoat, called qivuit (kiv-ee-ute), into exquisite scarves, hats, wraps and other knitted items. The cooperative runs a gift shop in downtown Anchorage where these beautiful and warm knitted treasures are available for sale. The yarn is said to be softer and warmer than cashmere and is a truly special keepsake.
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Tips from an Alaskan
One of Sitka's most famous residents is mystery novelist John Straley, whose Alaska-centric mystery novels have won numerous awards. Straley has lived in Sitka since 1977 and offers his recommendations for what to see and do in his town here.
Wild encounters from Anchorage to Seward
Arrive in Anchorage and pick up a rental car. The city offers tons of great experiences for visitors, but our focus is animals, so your first priority on this itinerary is getting to the Alaska Zoo...
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