Museum and cultural heritage center showcasing the major Native Alaskan tribes.
Features 26 acres of Indoor/outdoor space with detailed descriptions of each Native group, their geographic location, history, and traditions. Pricey, but purchasing an Alaska TourSaver coupon book will help with the $24 pp/adult ticket price.
Let's be up front; the Alaska Native Heritage Center is expensive for families. The choice to visit ANHC for a few hours at the rate of $24/adults, $17 kids as opposed to say, a day at the Alaska Zoo for half that, may deter some from making the trek to the Heritage Center's east Anchorage facility. But in this case, don't let price be your guide.
The Alaska Native connection is strong here in the 49th state with a rich cultural connection dating back tens of thousands of years and providing some of the best in archeological information and artifacts to be found, anywhere.
Sitting on 26 wooded acres on the fringe of Anchorage, ANHC has developed a comprehensive and hands-on opportunity for visitors and residents to become immersed in the traditions of Alaska Native peoples in a most engaging way. From the indoor Hall of Cultures describing the diversity of each geographical Native tribe to the outdoor (and very authentic) Native dwellings surrounding an enchanting little lake, the Heritage Center strives (and is succeeding) to meet both the desire of visitors to understand this oft-misunderstood population, and the continuation of traditions among its youngest members.
Try the newest activity, "Qipmigaq," meaning "Traveling with dogs," an hour-long presentation by none other than Team Baker and 2011 Iditarod winner John Baker, who will inform and delight dog fans with tales of the Alaskan husky, then to now. The tour/presentation is extra, but package deals do exist for families and residents of Alaska. Not the usual "dog and pony" show of most mushing outfits, this presentation focuses on the truly valuable aspects of the sled dog, and their contributions over Alaska's history. Take a ride at the end and feel the power of a 16-dog team as you loop around the back of the Heritage Center property.
Allow the kids time to roam in each of the particular dwellings, listening to the elders of each tribe explain their own remembrances of growing up Native. I am always surprised at our son's willingness to listen to an elder; their mannerisms and obvious enjoyment of children mean the world to tired, frazzled moms and dads.
To alleviate cost, purchase an Alaskan TourSaver coupon book at www.toursaver.com, or upon arrival in Alaska at any Carrs/Safeway store. The two-for-one admission helps at least a bit. Bring a lunch, plan for any weather, and plan to spend at least a few hours of Native Alaskan wonder.