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Visiting the City of
Anchorage hotels are well located for visitors looking to
spot a variety of wildlife in surrrounding state and national parkland
which provides plenty of opportunities to see Alaska wildlife in their
natural settings. Or an Anchorage hotel can serve as your jumping
off place for the fishing trip of a lifetime into the Alaskan bush.
Wild moose and the occasional bear can be seen downtown, however most
wildlife, including dall sheep are seen are short drive out of town.
Your first stop from your hotel should be the Anchorage
Museum of History and Art , 121 W Seventh Ave (summer Sun-Fri 9am-9pm,
Sat 9am-6pm; rest of year Tues-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 1-5pm; $6.50), an
excellent overview of the state and its history told through intricate
dioramas, alongside beautiful examples of carved ivory and basketware.
The rest of the downtown sites are equally intriguing: The Imaginarium
, 737 W Fifth Ave (daily: June to early Sept 10am-6pm; early Sept
to May Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, Sun noon-5pm; $5), has hands-on displays
telling you all about glaciers, the Northern Lights, polar bears and
the private life of the dopey-looking moose; the period-furnished
1915 Oscar Anderson House Museum , 420 M St (June to mid-Sept Tues-Sat
11am-4pm ; $3), illustrates early Anchorage life; and the Alaska Experience
Center , Sixth Avenue and G street (summer daily 9am-9pm; $10), presents
forty minutes of Alaska's best scenery, shot from choppers and beamed
onto a 180° wraparound screen, and the admission price includes a
film of the devastating 1964 Good Friday earthquake that leveled much
of downtown - 9.2 on the Richter scale and North America's strongest-ever
quake. Nevertheless, Anchorage is a great city for tourists with many sightseeing opportunities.
History and Demographics
As Sarah Palin can see from her window, Alaska was once a part of Russia. As Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage
has a rich history, dating back to 3,000 B.C. when the first settlers
arrived in the area. Native archaeological sites have been carbon
dated at around 11,000 years old with the first natives having arrived
via the Beringer land bridge which at one time connected Alaska and
Russia. In the mid 1700s, the first Europeans arrived - Russian traders
and trappers - converting many natives to the Russian Orthodox Church.
The 1770s brought the British in search of the elusive Northwest Passage
and Captain James Cook explored the waterway that now borders Anchorage,
Cook Inlet. But, the Russians laid claim to present-day Alaska and
during the 1800s Russian traders and explorers roamed the area. Russia’s
financial woes forced it to sell Alaska to the U.S. in 1867 for two
cents an acre. And then came the infamous Gold Rush. The rest, as
the saying goes, is history.
Anchorage, Alaska, has a population of about 275,000, or 42 percent
of the state’s population. The Municipality of Anchorage encompasses
almost 2,000 square miles which equals the size of the state of Delaware.
Located at the base of the Chugach Mountains along the coast of the
Cook Inlet in South-central Alaska, Anchorage is as far north as Helsinki,
Finland, and nearly as west as Honolulu, Hawaii. Despite inevitable
visions of snowbound igloos, in actual fact, Anchorage has a temperate,
maritime climate. Protected by the Chugach Mountains and warmed by
Japanese currents of the Pacific Ocean, summer temperatures reach
the high 70s. Low humidity ensures a surprisingly comfortable climate.
Whether you plan to arrive by air, land, or sea, Anchorage’s central
location makes all options convenient. The Ted Stevens Anchorage International
Airport is only six miles from downtown Anchorage and has more than
240 daily arrivals with most major US airlines serving. To get an
idea of Anchorage’s global location, flight time from Seattle is three
hours; eight hours from Zurich; eight hours from New York and 8 1/2
hours from Seoul. Lake Hood is the world’s largest and busiest seaplane
base with more than 800 take-offs and landings on a peak summer day.
Merrill Field, one of the nation’s busiest general aviation airports,
records more than 230,000 takeoffs and landings annually.
Alaska Highway (and the Alcan Hwy) links Alaska and the contiguous
United States, and is fully paved and offers year-round services.
Anchorage is almost 2,500 miles from Seattle and 4,650 miles from
New York City. Whether you plan to arrive by car, bus or R.V., the
journey to Anchorage is an adventure in and of itself. Please Note:
Entering Alaska by road means travelers must clear Canadian customs.
For information on regulations, contact Canada Customs, Excise & Taxation
at (506) 636-5064 or visit their Web site at www.ccra-adrc.gc.ca/.
Several cruise lines offer excursions along the famed Inside Passage
from May through September yearly, docking in Anchorage or nearby
Seward. The Alaska Marine Highway, the state’s ferry system, runs
year-round. For further information, call: (800) 642-0066. Anchorage
likes to boast that it had a symphony before paved roads and with
its rich history. Anchorage not only has its own local stars and Opera
Company but it also attracts artists of international renown, from
Broadway shows, dance troupes, musicians, comedians and many other
For Alaskan art, native crafts, furs, lodging and much
more, please visit:
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