I APOLOGIZE TO the Alaska Railroad reservations agent who took our request for tickets to Talkeetna the weekend before Christmas. Normally I am not so obsessive-compulsive about seating arrangements, but my older son was with us, and he likes to know things ahead of time.
MJ is 18 and, up until this past October, had been out of our home and in residential treatment for a laundry list of issues. Autism spectrum, depression, intermittent explosive disorder; the diagnoses came and went like seasons. My son is one of thousands in Alaska with mental illness, and now he’s back in our lives and part of our traveling family...to an extent, anyway - travel with MJ is different.
There are no last-minute, go-on-a-whim sorts of excursions when he’s with us. Whereas previous journeys were at a fast pace to accommodate multiple attractions, the trips with MJ are filled with alternatives. Alternative sights, alternative food, alternative schedules. For everything, there must be a second scenario ready to be implemented, ASAP. We’ve learned that renting a cabin or suite with a separate bedroom provides quiet relief for anxious moments, that ear buds on a noisy train or in a restaurant are perfectly okay. My husband and I have uncovered unique coping strategies to help soothe tense situations, and the phrase “divide and conquer” has become a whole new mantra, occasionally working well enough for a deep breath of reassurance that yes, indeed, we can do this - while including MJ.
It's MJ experiencing Alaska.
Why shouldn’t he be allowed to travel in a manner that brings comfort? Alaska is an excellent destination for people like MJ who crave solitude, an absence of artificial noise, and basic, no-frills service. After all, just because hundreds flock to a glacier and wildlife cruise aboard a small ship with blaring microphones and cramped decks doesn’t mean he should, too. Viewing Alaska through his eyes has allowed us a fresh perspective on the travel industry, most especially so in Alaska, where frenetic pacing and long, exhausting days just won’t work. Paying close attention to MJ’s moods, we’ve discovered what parents of smaller children already know; factors like rest, different food, or a lack of exercise can cause night-and-day swings of happy to sad in a matter of moments. Instead of driving five hours to reach a destination, we might go two or never reach it at all, stopping instead to admire a waterfall, toss rocks into a river, or inspect interpretive signs along the highway.
We’ve learned to slow down, quiet the noise, and throw out expectations long before we shut the garage door behind us. Snowshoes not fitting quite right? No problem, head back to the cabin and delve into a book, we won’t mind. Too many people talking too loud on the train? Pop in those ear buds and move to the back. This family understands.
In light of negative attention surrounding mental illness in recent days, perhaps others will understand, too.
Note: This is the last post I shall publish for Kids These Days. I wish to extend gratitude to the producers, writers, and hosts for their incredible insight and support for the difficult job of “raising Alaska’s future;” without projects like this one, that future might be even more confusing. Sarah, Shana, Jamie, and Jessica, thank you for thinking about kids, and the adults who nurture and love their little (and big) souls.
Erin Kirkland is a freelance writer and publisher of AKontheGO, a website dedicated to Alaska family travel and recreation. She lives a charmed life in Anchorage with her fabulous family.
LIKE MANY OTHER parents, I’ve been doing a lot of hugging and holding this week, trying the mitigate the effects of a tragedy, if only through my own children. I’ve found myself shifting back to simple things that bring our family joy; long treks in the woods, a little bit of sledding and time spent in front of the woodstove, hands curled around steaming cups of hot chocolate. And reading, lots and lots of reading.
Occasionally I get requests to review outdoor-themed gear or books related to our activities in Alaska, so I wasn’t too surprised when an agent from Sasquatch Books in Seattle sent two new books along with a note asking if I’d kindly read and offer my thoughts. Both books, I Would Tuck You In and Larry Gets Lost in Alaska, are great representations of our state, with engaging stories, interesting facts and beautiful illustrations. They were also just what we needed.
I Would Tuck You In is the perfect parent-child love story, with a variety of Alaska creatures making their little ones safe and secure in dens, kelp beds, on tundra trails and in the wide Arctic sky. Perfect for kids birth to five, this charming book by Juneau residents Sarah Asper-Smith and Mitchell Watley provides bedtime-story comfort, any time of the day or night. What I like, though, are the explanatory notes at the bottom of each page to engage the older reader, too. Learn about caribou, brown bears, bowhead whales or owls as you smoothly navigate the pages, and calmly assure youngsters you will indeed, love them always.
Pete is a boy, Larry his pup and the two find adventures together all over the world. The Larry Gets Lost series is a new one for us and while the book outwardly looks appropriate for a younger crowd, the pages are full of cool Alaska facts and funny mishaps shaped into a rhythmic prose kids will love. Larry Gets Lost in Alaska starts on an Alaska Marine Highway ferry and ends in Nome and, rest assured, Larry finds some new friends along the way. Authors John Skewes and Michael Mullin are spot-on with their Alaska trivia and any family with kids under 10 who is planning on traveling around the state should buy this book before hitting the road, water or air.
Available via Amazon.com, these delightful books would make the perfect present for kids in Alaska or Outside. Resident families might learn something new about their home and Lower 48 friends or relatives will enjoy the diversity of Alaska’s animals and environment.
Cozy up with your precious ones this holiday season and read together. Start a new tradition of giving books for Christmas and create your own unique album of memories.
Erin Kirkland is a freelance writer and publisher of AKontheGO.com, a website dedicated to Alaska family travel and outdoor recreation. She lives in Anchorage with her family.
THE WEATHER OUTSIDE may seem frightful, but with a little time and information, uneasy parents can turn cold and snowy into positively delightful. Wintertime can be a frustrating season for moms and dads, particularly those new to our Alaska weather, activities and decidedly darker days. When our family moved to Anchorage seven years ago, one of the first stops I made was at the Alaska Public Lands Information Center in downtown Anchorage.
A cooperative effort among federal, state and local recreation agencies, Alaska’s centers function as a sort of clearinghouse for information about the vast wealth of public lands, with maps, recreational permits, interesting exhibits and a healthy dose of trip-planning assistance for Alaska four-season fun.
While summer brings a lion’s share of visitors to the state’s three largest public lands centers, winter can be the perfect time to investigate the wealth of information at one’s fingertips. Looking for a great trail to try out those Nordic skis Santa left under the tree? This is the place. Need a 2013 State Park Pass? Buy now and beat the spring rush. Or, perhaps you simply need an indoor change of scenery. Exhibits, films and activities to appease all ages can be found with ease.
Each center is different, too. The Anchorage center is located in the old Federal Building on 4th Avenue, and features some pretty interesting wild Alaska animal displays and an accompanying scavenger hunt. Ask about periodic lectures about various subjects of flora and fauna, a nice treat for older kids. Admission to this center is free, and operating hours during the winter months are 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Fairbanks Public Lands Information Center is housed in the beautiful Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor Center, sharing space with the Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau, Alaska Geographic and Tanana Chiefs Conference. Just being in the bright, open space with thousands of maps at our fingertips is tempting enough, but taking a walk through the realistic displays that depict life in the Interior regions makes this a top stop for our family whenever we’re in Fairbanks. The building is open from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Saturday during the winter months. Admission is free.
Southeast Alaska also has a beautiful Information Center, located smack in the middle of the waterfront area of Ketchikan. The Southeast Alaska Discovery Center features a wonderful, interactive series of displays that carefully and completely cover all aspects of industry, history and ecology of the diverse southeast region. For kids, this is a big hit, whether toddler or teen, due to interesting, age-appropriate displays. Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m.–4 p.m., the Ketchikan center offers the fewest hours, but it’s well worth scheduling time to visit. From October to April, admission is free; otherwise, adults (age 15 and over) pay $5/per person.
Erin Kirkland is the owner and publisher of AKontheGO.com, a website dedicated to family travel and kid-friendly activities in Alaska. She lives in Anchorage with her husband and two sons.
IT'S WEEK THREE of a pre-Christmas deep freeze, and while our family still manages to get outside for a daily dose of fresh air, I will admit to savoring the delightful variety of exhibits and activities at three Alaska museums this month. December means bright lights, beautiful music and lots of opportunities for family togetherness, and we can’t wait to get started.
The Museum of the North on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus has unveiled a new exhibit just right for our frigid weather. “Hibernation and the Science of Cold” is a fascinating look at the strategies animals use to stay warm and survive when the weather turns really, really cold. Watch “hibernation-cams” and see real-time video of animals in deep hibernation, climb into a den, and answer the all-important question: “Did dinosaurs hibernate?” This is an excellent exhibit for second graders on up, especially those with a keen interest in natural science. The Museum of the North is also hosting a Family Day on Saturday, December 8, from noon–4 p.m. Raptors are the subject of this month’s event, and kids of any age are invited to stretch their wingspans with crafts, games and an interesting story or two. Admission to the museum is $10/adults, $5/age 7–17, with kids 6 and under free.
Juneau’s Alaska State Museum is open throughout the winter months, and is quite nice to visit with kids minus hordes of cruise ship crowds. Be sure to stop by the merchant ship, “I spy” display and interesting artifacts describing Juneau’s early days of mining and tourism. While not exactly suited for smaller children, the ship is a great place to play while grownups tag team the facility with older kids. Wintertime admission is a deal, too. $3/adults 18 and over. Nice.
Finally, the Anchorage Museum is kicking off a season of holiday happiness with their annual concert on Sunday, December 9. The Alaska Children’s Choir and Anchorage Concert Chorus are among the groups scheduled to perform between 1 and 4 p.m., with free admission to the museum all day, courtesy of Wells Fargo. The whole family will enjoy the Wonderland of Toys exhibit, featuring playthings from days gone by, and it’s worth the ensuing discussion with kids about ways kids used to amuse themselves before television, iPods and video games. On Sunday, December 16, everyone is invited to the museum for a Snow Day activity from 2-4 p.m. Learn about the science behind snow, try the Alaska Club-sponsored obstacle course, and create some snow-themed crafts. Good fun for all ages, preschool through high school!
Forget the cold; warm up from the inside out with these choices for indoor fun, all winter long!
Erin Kirkland is the publisher of AKontheGO.com, a website dedicated to Alaska family travel and outdoor recreation. She lives in Anchorage with her family, and is eternally grateful for handwarmers these past few weeks.
THIS WEEK I received a very interesting email from FlipKey, a company specializing in vacation rental properties all over the world. Besides providing a seemingly endless list of places to rent from here to Timbuktu, FlipKey also publishes a little blog about travel, and this week posted a nifty little tool for planning vacations--family vacations in particular.
I don’t know about your crew, but mine is a four-person carousel of uniqueness, especially when it comes to travel. The mere mention of an upcoming trip is enough to spark a rush of ideas, suggestions and downright demands from both children and adults. Add grandparents or friends to this mix, and wowee, there’s a whole lot of talking going on, resulting in little actual action.
So enter FlipKey and their “Find Your Way to the Perfect Family Vacation” blog post. While savvy KTD readers will remember my mantra that there is no such thing as a “perfect” vacation, I am sure we can all appreciate the efforts to at least attempt to discuss style when it comes to relaxing together. Check out the accompanying flow chart, using my favorite fashion statement, shoes. Like trips with a lot of action? Put on those peep-toe pumps and click-clack your way along the sidewalks of Seattle. Desire a mountain-high vacation with lots of hiking and exploring? Hiking boots, definitely.
The chart leads footwear (and ultimately the respective planning family) along a series of mazes to determine, hopefully, a blissful experience away from home.
I get it, and appreciate the breakdown of overarching vacation styles before drilling deeper for specific activities. But here are a few other ideas that might help Alaska families who really aren’t looking to head to Paris or the Bahamas (although who wouldn’t, given the opportunity?):
Be realistic. If your family consists of four people with truly diverse interests, the destination is going to have to match a wide range of expectations. Searching for a “base camp” with access to everyone’s preferred activity will be appreciated, and allow for gathering time at the beginning or end of the day. Also get used to the idea that a family doesn’t have to play together all the time. It’s okay to divide and conquer, but do schedule breakfast or dinner as a group to talk about plans or rehash important activities of the day.
Pay attention to time. Cramming a long list of activities into a day in a misguided attempt to appease everyone is a mistake, particularly when traveling with children. Too much activity means too-tired children, cranky adults and little time for just being together. Before leaving home, hold a family meeting where everyone gets to list their top two attractions or activities, and do your best to schedule those before jumping into something else. A week of vacation goes mighty fast when moving at breakneck speed, so remember to slow down and take in the view, too.
It’s a big, wide, world out there, and as much as we want to show it all to our kids, it’s also important to remember their needs and interests, and respect inherent individual nature.
What's your style?
BE THANKFUL FOR a bounty of Alaska family fun!
It’s not just about eating or football this weekend. Put down the remote, leave those drumsticks behind, and make a conscious decision to forego anything involving the term “Black Friday.”
Thanksgiving weekend is a long one, and there’s no better time to bundle up and get outside to take advantage of many seasonal opportunities. Whether hiking over the river and through the woods, or singing a holiday carol with your neighbors, Alaska provides the perfect atmosphere for a little wintertime mood lift. Here’s a few of our favorites, with more listed on the AKontheGO calendar of events:
The Alaska Zoo in Anchorage kicked off a winter of ZooLights Friday evening at 5 p.m. with a full house of lighted displays, animated characters, and a chance to see the zoo’s more active nocturnal creatures. Walk underneath tunnels of light as you wander the grounds until closing time at 8 p.m. Remember to dress in layers, and pull a sled with hot chocolate and snacks to maximize your family’s fun. Visit the zoo’s website for ticket information and dates.
Saturday, the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center will open for its annual Free Day, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Everyone gets in at no cost on Saturday, so walk (recommended) or drive the property and say howdy to moose, elk, bison and a particularly snarky porcupine named Snickers. The center is located at Mile 79 of the Seward Highway, near Portage. Allow a solid hour to drive from Anchorage.
Fairbanks residents always enjoy the Fairbanks Children’s Museum “Museum Without Walls” event. This organization hosts fantastic hands-on opportunities around the community to raise both awareness and funds to create a stand-alone facility. $5/child, or $15/family. This event is best for kids 0-7.
Creamer’s Field in Fairbanks welcomed families to their “Thanksgiving for the Birds” celebration on Saturday where kids could make some snacks for birds, take a winter walk and enjoy our feathered friends at one of the finest outdoor recreation spots in Interior Alaska.
Care to explore on a whim? Pack a wintertime picnic and head out to a local park or trail, and dine al fresco with the birds and trees. Fill a thermos with hot cocoa or soup, make some popcorn and enjoy a slower paced meal than the usual grab-and-go to which so many of us are accustomed. No matter the activity, take a few moments to reflect upon the blessings Alaska affords, indoors or out.
For more adventure tips, visit Erin at AKontheGO.com.
IT HAPPENS EVERY year at our house. Jubilant, excessive, and somewhat frenetic holiday spirit abounds from Thanksgiving until December 25, when presents are unwrapped, roast beasts are consumed, and goodwill toward our fellow relatives means lots of kissed cheeks and long-distance phone calls. Children fall into bed content, if not downright giddy, and parents clink glasses in front of the fireplace as snow softly falls outside.
Then everyone wakes up the next morning to two solid weeks of vacation. Or, as my husband likes to call it, “Sixteen Days and Nights on the Good Ship Crankypants.” With kids released from school December 21, and not returning to the higher halls of learning until January 7, there are indeed a large number of days needing to be filled with family adventure, especially if you are not planning to spend the academic break on the beaches of Hawaii (and if you are, stop reading this immediately).
It’s not often that a school break falls so perfectly within the bounds of a major holiday, and many Alaska tourism businesses are responding with excellent opportunities for family fun.
Santa is always glad to lend a knee to good girls & boys.
Fairbanks is, of course, next to North Pole, and everybody knows who lives there. Santa Claus House has been the headquarters for Christmas fun since the 1950’s, and starting this weekend, the Big Guy will be occupying his favorite chair and listening to Christmas Lists. Full of cheer and charm, Santa Claus House is by far the kitchiest place to celebrate the holidays, and with most of Santa’s reindeer outside in a nearby paddock, it really does complete the perfect package.
image via Jim Lee March
Just taking the reindeer out for a walk, kids, be back soon!
Looking for more than a quick adoring gaze at Santa’s main source of transportation? Give a call to the Running Reindeer Ranch in the Goldstream Valley area of Fairbanks and take a few of these ungulates for a little stroll through a snowy forest. Rapidly becoming one of the most desired tours in the Interior, the Reindeer Ranch is a delightful journey of understanding the biology, science, and history of reindeer (and it’s not really about Santa at all!). Kids will be intrigued by the personalities of each resident reindeer, while owner Jane knows how to engage young visitors. Note: Bring your camera; this is a wonderful family photo op.
Anchorage residents know that Alyeska Resort in Girdwood is the spot to head for a little holiday fun. With a penchant for treating kids just right, Alyeska consistently delivers classic, affordable family luxury just 45 minutes from Anchorage. This winter, the resort is unveiling its newest special, aptly called the “Sweet Dreams Family Package”. Featuring a one-night stay, cookies and milk, a family game bundle, and $50 in resort credit, I can easily imagine moms and dads scrambling to snuggle underneath those oh-so-heavenly Hotel Alyeska comforters with a vintage edition of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”. This package starts at $299/night, double occupancy, making it a pretty affordable option for the high winter season. Don’t forget, too, that Hotel Alyeska offers one of the best indoor swimming pools in the state, with an excellent mountain view to boot. And the skiing? Always epic, especially with the grand opening of the resort’s new high-speed quad, Ted’s Express, ready to whisk you and your little skiers to the top in record time.
Make this winter break a joy-full experience by exploring Alaska, together!
Erin Kirkland is a freelance writer and publisher of AKontheGO.com, a website dedicated to family travel and outdoor recreation in Alaska. She lives with her family in Anchorage.
ALASKA IS A state of military presence. From the moment Russia handed over this 586,000 square mile chunk of northern real estate, the United States armed forces has walked upon, sailed across, and soared above the largest state in our union. Did you know that per capita, Alaska has the largest population of veterans? Some were born and raised here, some are currently stationed here, and others have returned for retirement in a land flush with recreation and scenery. Whatever the reason, Alaska’s communities are standing tall to honor the men and women who sacrificed time, effort and life itself for freedoms the rest of us enjoy on a daily basis. Veteran’s Day is Monday, November 12, and although it is a school or work day for many, plenty of opportunities exist over the weekend and throughout the winter months to offer kids a healthy appreciation for Alaska’s heroes.
A great place to begin is the Veterans Administration website and a comprehensive series of fun activities, facts, and insights on their VA Kids pages. Perfect for educators, parents, or scout leaders, this is an excellent way to begin the conversation about military service and veterans, and is relevant to our state’s large contingent of Air Force, Coast Guard, and Army families.
The Alaska Veterans Museum (above) in Anchorage is tucked away in the 4th Avenue Mall downtown, yet is full of interesting exhibits and a ton of perspective from its director, Sue Ellyn Novak, herself a vet. A superstar when it comes to storytelling, Novak is an enthusiastic evangelist for Alaska’s veteran force, past, present, and future. The museum is small, for sure, but with an interactive map, intricate dioramas, and uniforms loaned by some of Alaska’s own, it’s an excellent stop for kids ages 5 and up. Open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is $3/pp.
The Alaska Aviation Museum (above), located near Anchorage International Airport, is another worthwhile option for exploring the valuable contributions provided by pilots and planes in Alaska. Marching through aviation history in a very real way, the museum showcases the mechanics and emotion around peace and war, including an excellent video shown in the Aleutian Base theater. Don’t forget to browse the photographs, either; these are larger-than-life heroes in black and white. Open Wednesday through Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday 12-5 p.m. Admission is $10/adults, $8/military, seniors 65+, and veterans, $6/kids age 5-12.
The Juneau-Douglas City Museum is hosting an event on Saturday, November 10 to honor the USS Juneau. Sunk in 1942, the ship’s name was carried on by three subsequent ships and all will be celebrated at the little museum in downtown Juneau at 10:30 a.m. A number of artifacts from the original USS Juneau will be presented, making this a great event for older elementary and middle/high school students. The museum is also offering free admission and refreshments.
Appreciation comes through information, and Alaska’s kids are fortunate to have a number of outlets through which they can do just that. Take time this month to recognize and honor our veterans. It’s the right thing to do.
“Find thankfulness within your mind, and speak gratitude for our bravest kind.” - Roger J. Robicheau
For more on Alaska's military and families, check out our special report on Support for Alaskan Military Families with Deployed Spouses, or read about Learning History at Pearl Harbor.
Erin Kirkland is a freelance writer and publisher of AKontheGO, a website dedicated to Alaska family travel and outdoor recreation. She lives in Anchorage with her husband and two sons.
EVEN UNDER THE best of circumstances, the process of travel remains highly unpredictable, and travel with children exponentially so. On the heels of a super storm that slammed the east coast and major transportation hubs, and with a busy holiday season just around the corner, it’s critical to recognize and address potentially stressful family travel topics now. From fevers to delayed flights, sometimes just getting the family out the door - never mind to Hawaii - is an exercise in pre-planning, patience and the utmost in parental persistence. Below are a few tips that might serve as a helpful reminders once your sleigh full of children is packed and ready to head out the door.
You have the tickets, right?
1. Plan before packing. I believe in flexibility, I really do, but there are simply some elements of adventure that tax even the most seasoned traveler. Thinking beyond the obvious; airline tickets or hotel reservations means your family is better prepared for any situation, delay, or emergency that could stall travel to and/or from your final destination. If flying into an unfamiliar airport, or making connections with a layover, visit the facility’s website for a map detailing layout, restrooms, restaurants, and the all-important children’s play area (hint: it’s a great way to allow older kids to play “leader”, too). Need a rental car at your destination city? Step away from airport rentals and check the company’s website for off-site lots. Most major car rental agencies have shuttles and the extra step could save cash, too, that you can spend on the fun stuff like attractions.
2. Stow extra patience. I trumpet early arrival at the airport, train station or ferry dock with good reason. During peak Alaska travel times - early in the morning, late at night, and over the holidays, travel simply takes longer. Do your part to expedite efficient departure; make sure kids are fed, changed, and have adequate amusement for long lines, delays, and anxious moments. Make sure all travel documents like passports, ID cards, and tickets are easily accessible, and luggage, car seats and strollers are clearly marked with tags to avoid delays at the baggage claim. Talk with kids about the importance of sticking together and using their best manners; opening doors for elderly or disabled passengers, or waiting their turn to board an airplane are all examples of patience personified. Children will take their cues from you so no freak-outs, please.
OMG airport waiting around...
3. Know when to be persistent. There are times when pushing back is appropriate. As adults traveling with children, you are the ultimate voice of authority when it comes to the health and well-being of the youngsters in your care. Unsure about TSA’s screening procedures? Take your time, ask questions, and refer back to the planning portion of this post. TSA has a wealth of information and some excellent videos for parents and kids detailing the “what to expect” aspects of security screening. A fast viewing prior to leaving home may help alleviate a case of the “security blues”. Have you reached your hotel, but are unsatisfied with the accommodations? Make a personal visit to the property’s front desk, and if necessary, voice your concerns directly to the on-site guest services manager. After all, it’s their desire to see satisfied customers, and a good hotel or resort will include children in that mission.
Of course, even the most prepared traveler will experience hiccups during a trip; I think it’s some unwritten law. But taking a few moments at home to research, discuss, and implement a plan with your children could help promote a blissful holiday travel experience.
For more travel tips, visit Erin at AKontheGO.com. Also, check out 5 Tips for Holiday Travel with Kids and Flying Solo - 5 Tips for the Single Parent Traveler.
HALLOWEEN FALLS ON a Wednesday this year, so many organizations are holding celebrations this weekend rather than fight a school-night schedule. With crisp temperatures (okay, downright freezing), and clear skies forecast for Saturday and Sunday in southcentral Alaska, this might be the perfect Halloween for a little outside time with your young princess or hardy Avenger.
• Saturday & Sunday in Eagle River: Eagle River Nature Center is hosting its annual weekend o’ spirited activities for both younger and older kids. The Enchanted Forest involves a daylight, non-spooky walk to the Classroom Yurt for stories, snacks, and games with a very friendly
witch naturalist. Perfect for pre-schoolers, this activity is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday, October 27.
Big kids will convene at the nature center Saturday at 2 p.m. for an Old Hallow’s Eve hike down the Rodak Trail (3/4 mi) to the Halloween Yurt for games, tricks, and treats.
Both Saturday events require reservations and tickets, so call 907-694-2108 and secure your spot. Old Hallow’s Eve will repeat on Sunday, October 28 at 3 p.m. due to high demand by the adoring public. Each event is $5/pp, $20/family.
Exploring at the ERNC...
Sunday also brings the Witch and Her Owl to ERNC, with volunteer Ginamaria Smith speaking to kids and parents with her Great Horned Owl, who is always thrilled to be the center of attention. Psst: he loves it when kids come in costume, by the way.
• Saturday in Fairbanks: Creamer’s Field in Fairbanks welcomes all kids and parents to Creepy Critters on Saturday, October 27, from 12-4 p.m. Stop by the Farmhouse Visitor Center for crafts, snacks, and activities around the theme of Strange and Creepy Ice Age Animals. Ewwwww. Don’t forget to encourage costume-wearing, of course. Free.
• Anywhere outside: While your family is hiking around this weekend, see if kids can spot the following spooky items, in honor of this wonderful holiday:
Erin Kirkland is owner and author of AKontheGO.com, a website dedicated to Alaska family-friendly travel and outdoor recreation. She and her family live in Anchorage. Visit the AKontheGO calendar of events for more Halloween-themed family fun.