I LOVE TRAVEL-THEMED presents. Opening a package containing the latest gadget, book, or gift certificate is always appreciated. As a wandering mama, receiving such a gift also makes me jump up and check the calendar to see when I might next be able to venture out into our big, wild world. It’s all about the journey. For kids, too.
My son, now seven and the perfect age to begin more adventurous wanderings with me, is also the perfect age to appreciate some of the goodies that send his mom into wowsville. Be they experiences or things, adding travel to a holiday gift-giving list is a winner, every time. Here are our top five recommendations for kid-themed travel superstars this year:
1. Alaska experiences: Lived in the state all your life but still haven’t gone dog mushing or flightseeing? If you’re willing to shell out $500 for a gaming system and all the accoutrements, then perhaps you could consider an experience the whole family will remember, forever. Try Salmon Berry Tours in Anchorage (they go to Fairbanks, too), or Temsco Helicopters in Juneau for family-friendly dog sledding tours. Temsco also does flightseeing throughout southeast Alaska. K2 Aviation out of Talkeetna does a spectacular job of nudging guests right up to Mt. McKinley’s flanks for an icy howdy-do.
2. Great gear: This year was momentous in a number of ways, but mostly our cheers came from the fact our son could now carry his own stuff on trips. For light hiking and carry-on purposes, we purchased an Osprey “Jet” pack that contours his slim frame, yet still has plenty of room for games, a stuffed animal, and a hat or two.
3. Reading roundups: Oh, do we ever love books around here! Now that our kiddo has reached first grade and has an appetite for reading everything from roadsigns to guidebooks, every trip must include at least one chapter book and one activity book. “The Everything Kids Travel Activity Book” by Erik and Jeanne Hansen is fun, self-contained, and full of reading, writing, and simple doodle space. We found it on Amazon.com for around $9.
4. Choose an adventure: I believe in affording kids their own opportunities to stretch comfort zones as they grow, and for us, this translates into some pretty exciting experiences without adults hovering all around. Ski lessons at Eaglecrest in Juneau, or Hilltop and Alyeska Resort, in Anchorage and Girdwood, respectively, offer a ton of options for youngsters of all abilities. Psst, parents, you too!
5. Lifelong learning: Remember summer camp, where kids immersed themselves in such things as crafts, hikes, and lots of hands-on outdoor experiences? Good news, kids can still do all that, and more, with programs like Alaska Geographic’s Family Field Seminars. Exploring the tundra, looking for animals, staying in tent cabins; ahh, yes, summer camp for the whole family in Denali National Park. An extremely popular way to explore the park, Family Field Seminars fill up fast, so early registration is a must. Childhood is short; get out and travel. Happy holidays.
For more tips and tricks to family-friendly travel in Alaska, visit AKontheGO.com.