We spent a few hours at the American Bald Eagle Foundation while in Haines. The center is quite famous and a lot of our vacation had been about eagles, being that Alaska has a huge congregating population (in many parts of the state you'll see more eagles at one time than you've probably ever dreamt of!) Coming from Minnesota, we've been to the National Eagle Center and have an active eagles nest in our backyard in fact, so we adore eagles!
My son loved talking with the student raptor ambassadors in the hall as they took out a number of live birds to educate folks with and introduce as we milled about the area. This was my absolute favorite part of the Foundation - kiddos are allowed into the program as volunteers but must take rather rigorous training and coursework to do so. The young ornithologists know SO much information about the birds and as one bird nerd to another, they were very impressive in knowledge AND delivery! Very gifted children and such a great program to see in action!
The museum portion of the building housed many many species of animals (taxidermy specimen) and was an area that kids flock to. The gift shop was small but was packed with all sorts of your outdoorsy-themed gift shop goodies.
We were disappointed in the eagle presentation - the enclosure had oddly spaced bars (or something a bit off) that made viewing the demonstration almost nauseating for viewers. The bars in front of your face combined with the movement of watching birds + the educator was just too much to give undivided attention, which was disappointing. Had the eagle not been a ham and the educator able to make light-hearted jokes it would have been hard to sit there and watch because of the uncomfortable viewing situation.
Bottom-line: It would be great to see something done to mitigate the strange obscure viewing of the demonstration area, since feeding eagles is what they boast and what excites most visitors. The student ambassadors are phenomenal and I would love to see programs like that everywhere! The American Bald Eagle Foundation is a worthy cause and an okay stop, especially for budding ornithologists.
Disclosure: We were granted complimentary admission to visit the center. All opinions are our own and are honest.