The Alaska Zoo, while not large on the scale of critter-fabulousness, is perfectly dialed in to the needs of families, especially those visiting Alaska for the first time.
With a variety of animals whose natural habitats lie in northern climates (no chimps or bats, here), the Alaska Zoo is an arctic an sub-arctic walk in the forest. From Musk Ox to Wolverine, and Polar Bear to Bactrian Camel, the Zoo provides insight into the year-round lives of the animals who live at this woodsy facility in south Anchorage.
Open year round during daylight hours, and featuring the cool ZooLights exhibits during the holidays, the Alaska Zoo is a wild experience right in town. AND, visitors can catch a free shuttle from downtown Anchorage (4th Avenue) during the summer months.
The zoo has a small cafe in the middle of the park; but don't expect fancy food or a wide expanse of seating; we usually bring our own goodies and hang out near the moose enclosure. Food is expensive and not all that great, so be aware.
Our favorite animals are the wolves; a pack of eight siblings who are known to set up a crazy howling chorus if kids give them a little inspirational, howl themselves. I tell ya, nothing beats a little singing with the pack.
The Alaska Zoo is a must-do when visiting Anchorage, if for no other reason than to capture those photo ops you missed during the rest of your trip! Find their website at http://www.alaskazoo.org
I am a huge fan of zoos that are not too large, but still offer a lot. This is a perfect stop if you are traveling with kids, and a great place for zoo workshops if you are local.
The flowers, habitats and type of wildlife have been covered, so I'll focus on the Guided Tours and Discovery Tours. Guilded tours have to be scheduled in advance and are geared towards kids (this is not a field trip-its for families). We weren't expecting to go to the zoo, so we weren't able to go on this tour, but the brochure looked interesting. The Discovery Tours do NOT need to be scheduled in advance, they last about 2 hours, and ours was awesome. It was full of behind the scenes encounters and natural history information. The tour fee included admission to the zoo ($15 for kids and $25 for adults) and was worth every penney. Our guide was full of information, loved to answer the kids' questions, and really wanted to make sure we had a good time. It was so much fun.
Afterwards we wandered around the rest of the zoo and the kids ran around. I noticed a flyer that offered Keeper Encounters where a youth and adult could be a zo keeper for a day and something called Critter Tales which seemed geared towards younger kids. If we were local we would take advantage of both these programs for sure.
I really can't say enough about our great experience here. It is a must see.
This place is absolutely beautiful... at least at the end of June. I'm sure it is very nice the rest of the year but I was surprised at the amazing flowers blooming all over the place and the delicate ferns spilling onto the walkways.
Visiting the zoo was not part of our original plan when we were headed to Anchorage but I'm really glad we went here. We were hoping to see and show our kids (ages 9-1) many of the wild animals of Alaska by just seeing them along the roadway, or happening upon them as we rode on a boat down an Alaskan river but we quickly realized that the chances were slim. The few wild animals that we did see were far away or slipped away too fast because of our loud noises.
This zoo is filled with artic animals and pretty much any animal that you could see in Alaska. This meant that we saw a moose up close, along with bald eagles, musk oxen, caribou, artic foxes, Dall sheep, and many other great animals. Then later on our journeys through Alaska we could reference the animals we had seen at the zoo. It was a great way to show our young kids the animals of Alaska.
We were surprised by how large this zoo actually is. It was the perfect size for a couple hours of zoo visiting in an afternoon. We took our umbrella stroller which did not work so well with the gravel lined trails. My boys loved looking at all the animals that were well seen from the trails and overlooks. The map was essential to get us where we needed to go. It was a great afternoon.
This zoo is not the biggest but the surroundings and animal enclosures are on of the best. They try to keep the animals surroundings natural, which was great. It was large enough to burn off my sons extra energy. It was a nice place to spend a couple hours and see more animals.