Tuesday 2 June 2009

Alaska Travel News

Explore Juneau with the top down

A new tour company invites travelers to feel the wind in their face as they explore the best of Juneau — from the steps of the Capitol to remote whale watching beaches. Open since 2008, juneau jeep adventures™ offers small-group Jeep tours with local guides presenting breathtaking scenery and the local history and culture of Alaska's capital city. Travelers can choose the four-hour Jeep adventure to discover downtown Juneau's history, view the Mendenhall Glacier from a distance, pass through the Auke Indian village site, visit the Shrine of St. Therese, picnic at Eagle Beach, and finish with a tour and tasting at the Alaskan Brewing Company. Or enjoy the five-hour Jeep and zip adventure tour through downtown's narrow streets, cruise to north Douglas Island to walk the 1.5-mile Rainforest Trail, then continue to Eaglecrest Ski Area for a canopy tour with Alaska Zipline Adventures. For travelers who prefer to set their own course, custom four-hour guided adventures are available to explore destinations of their choice. For more information, visit

New shore excursion offers quest in marine biology

This summer, Alaska cruisers can participate in volunteer work and scientific data collection through a new shore excursion with Holland America Line. In addition to whale watching on a research vessel, travelers on the Marine Wildlife Research Exploration will search for and document individual humpback and orca whales, learn how to identify individual whales by the tail markings and record whale songs using a hydrophone. Travelers will also get hands-on experience collecting water samples, trawling for plankton and recording ocean temperature readings. The collected data will help predict the success of Alaska's salmon runs and improve scientists' understanding of the local food chain and other environmental variables that effect Alaska's marine populations. Using the vessel's unique shore-landing abilities, guests may visit a secluded island or remote shore to participate in beachcombing for marine debris as part of an ongoing shoreline cleanup program. This excursion is being offered through a partnership between Gastineau Guiding in Juneau, the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program and the Marine Conservation Alliance. For more information, visit and click on the Cruise With Purpose tab.

Anchorage museum doubles in size with expansion opening

The Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center reopened its doors on May 30 presenting visitors with the new $106 million expansion. The existing museum and most of the new 90,000-square-foot addition are now open except the second floor's Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center, which will be unveiled to the public in 2010. Travelers can visit the museum during its summer hours from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily and examine the building's architecture and design, sample the menu at the new café and browse the expanded museum store. With this project, the museum doubles in size and expands its mission to include science and hands-on learning. May 30 also marked the opening of "Gold," the dazzling inaugural exhibition created by the American Museum of Natural History featuring a dramatic array of more than 300 geological specimens and cultural objects from around the world. "Gold" is paired with "Pay Dirt! Alaska's Golden Landscapes," an exhibit about Alaska's gold rush era. "Gold" is now on view through Aug. 2. For more information, visit

New wildlife guide highlights Alaska's coast

It's no surprise that each year, hundreds of thousands of people participate in wildlife viewing in Alaska. Thanks to a new viewing guide unveiled last month by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, visitors to Alaska's coastal expanse from Prince William Sound to the Aleutian Islands can further understand the spectacular sea bird rookeries, enormous brown bears and stately whales of the region. Alaska's South Coastal Wildlife Viewing Guide highlights the 900-mile section of the Alaska Coastal Wildlife Viewing Trail between Cordova and the twin communities of Unalaska/Dutch Harbor. While highway-based wildlife viewing trails are popular around the nation, Alaska is unique in that it boasts a marine-based trail. The new 112-page guide includes habitat descriptions, species profiles, safety tips and other information for viewing wildlife from the ferry and in six highlighted communities along the route. The guide also provides an economic development tool to help communities showcase their wildlife viewing resources. Visitors can purchase Alaska's South Coastal Wildlife Viewing Guide in bookstores and visitor centers around the state, on board ferry gift shops and on

Spotlight on 50th: Alaska Tour and Travel offers Alaska photo contest

In honor of Alaska's 50th anniversary, Alaska Tour and Travel has launched an Alaska photo contest. Travelers are encouraged to send in their best photos that depict Alaska's spectacular wildlife, scenery, people or adventures. The winner of the contest will receive Sydney Laurence's "Legacy of Alaska" limited edition print signed by all the living Alaska governors. The contest is open to visitors and residents alike. All entries must be received by Oct. 31, 2009, and the grand prize will be awarded by Nov. 30, 2009. For more information and complete contest rules, visit


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