Rangers and dogs work together to demonstrate a traditional Alaskan mode of travel. These unique, 30 minute programs include an opportunity to tour the park kennels and visit Denali's Alaskan huskies. (www.nps.gov)
Some seating is available for the demonstration, and there is plenty of standing room. Programs are given rain or shine, so be prepared with an umbrella or rain coat if skies look forbidding.
Demonstrations are given three times daily in peak season, at 10 am, 2 pm and 4 pm. In the early and late seasons, we may only offer one or two daily programs. Please check this web page in May, 2010 to learn when we will offer demonstrations this summer. (www.nps.gov)
My kids loved watching the Alaskan huskies in action as they pulled the ranger around the trail at a very quick pace. The ranger rode behind on a sled pulled over gravel and stopped right in front of the viewing area. This was the best part of the whole dog sled demonstration put on by the rangers at Denali.
The sled pulling was the LAST part of the demonstration. The first thing that we did was to visit the dog kennels and pet the quiet and resting dogs. They were beautiful! My boys loved being able to go right up to them and pet them as they were leashed to their houses. Several rangers were on duty and answered many questions and posed for pictures. We liked seeing the log cabin mini dog houses and the wooden name signs on each door. The dogs were hot in the 60 degree weather and were lounging around. The "not so friendly to kids" dogs who were more wild and barking were behind the fences in the kennels and were closely guarded by the rangers.
We posed for pictures on the wooden sled and then viewed the winter ready sled in the cabin. Many pictures were on the wall and all the gear needed to run a dog sled was carefully on display.
We moved over to the demonstration sitting/standing area and waited for the ranger program to begin. My older boys (7,9) endured the program as the ranger talked and explained her winter gear and the work that the dogs do in the winter, for about 20 minutes. I had to take my 3 year old and 1 year old behind the viewing area to let them play in the ferns and trees because they just couldn't pay attention. Finally it was time to harness the dogs to the sled and the whole crowd perked up with anticipation. The race around the trail lasted only a minute or two but it was worth the wait.
The trail into the kennels area is the only main trail back to where the bathrooms are located and this trail is off limits during the demonstration. So, if possible, have your kids use the restroom before the demonstration starts, unlike I did who was stuck with a 3 year old who needed to go potty. Also, the trail is gravel lined and not stroller friendly.
Although there is a shuttle service to the dog kennels from the visitor center, we decided to drive to the Park Headquarters and walk to the kennels. We preferred to have our own ease in exiting, however the shuttle would have been a great option for us. But it would not be stroller friendly.