Top 20 Places to Take Kids in and around Anchorage
2020: Best Places for Kids in the Anchorage area!
The best places to take kids in and around Anchorage, based on KidsOutAndAbout's annual reader survey. But there is LOTS more to do in Anchorage! Get great ideas here at KidsOutAndAbout.com! What is listed below are just the starting point: Browse through our site and calendar to find lots more, and sign up for our fabulous weekly e-newsletter! And be sure not to miss our Everything Free page.
The Alaska Zoo
The Alaska Zoo is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to promoting conservation of Arctic, sub-Arctic and like climate species through education, research and community enrichment. We have proudly served the people and wildlife of Alaska for over 50 years.
Located in downtown Anchorage, the Anchorage museum is several family friendly museums in one with the Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center, a hands-on science discovery center, an Alaska history exhibition and the museum's many art galleries, including an excellent collection of contemporary Alaska Native art.
The Reindeer Farm has 100 reindeer, 2 Rocky Mountain elk, Dolly the Bison, Appa the Yak, and Rocky the Moose.
We do trail rides on horseback up the Butte, off-the-farm shows with the reindeer, movies, commercials, home visits, the Running of the Reindeer at Fur Rondy, and more!
This 1.4 mile trail offers an easy walk for all ages. It allows a close-up view of a glacier with rugged, mountains in all directions. A good family outing with a variety of things to do for the whole family.
H2Oasis Indoor Waterpark
H2Oasis Waterpark! A tropical island in the last frontier. A welcome change of pace from the frigid Alaskan cold winters. At the time of completion, our park was the fifth largest indoor waterpark in the U.S. One of our most famous attractions is the Master Blaster, a 505 foot long water-powered roller coaster. We also have an open flume body slide, which whirls guests down from 43 feet above and another enclosed body slide for an even faster ride. Guests can also catch some hang time in our wave pool, or relax in our 575 foot lazy river surrounding the park. For the youngsters, climb aboard our pirate ship kiddie pool, and for adults, ease into the oversized hot tub.
Alaska Aviation Museum
The Alaska Aviation Museum is located in the heart of Alaska aviation. It sits on the south shore of Lake Hood, the busiest seaplane base in the world, with more than 87,000 takeoﬀs and landings per year. A half-mile away is Ted Stevens International Airport, the air crossroads of the world. You can watch takeoﬀs and landings right from the museum.
The museum presents one of the finest displays of Alaskan aviation history with interactive displays, memorabilia, photographs, films and artifacts from personal collections of Alaska’s pioneer aviators.
Who can say no to a cool waterfall only a half-hour’s drive from town?
One of the most popular “first hikes” for families with small children, the one-mile trail to Thunderbird Falls traverses a handsome birch forest along the Eklutna River canyon to reach a deck with views of a 200-foot waterfall.
Located inside Chugach State Park north of Eagle River and just south of Eklutna, the trail climbs steeply at first, gaining about 100 feet in elevation. Then the route levels out and becomes an easy walk.
Alaska Museum of Science & Nature
From the Aleutians to the North Slope to the Panhandle, from prehistoric times to the present, the Alaska Museum of Science & Nature takes young and old alike on a learning adventure around the state. AKSCI fills a special need for science education in Alaska, focusing exclusively on Alaska’s unique geological, cultural, and ecological history.
Paddle, pedal or power: there are many ways to explore Eklutna Lake. The long lake is fed by Eklutna Glacier and is a popular spot for a day of kayaking; rentals are available on site from Lifetime Adventures. A long trail runs the northeast side of the lake, opening up the Chugach to bicycles and ATVs (on select days) as well.
Trails stretch all over the flanking mountains and the far end of the lake, providing hikers with high-elevation views of the lake, the surrounding mountains and glimpses of Eklutna Glacier.
Combine Eklutna Lake with Thunderbird Falls, an easy 2 mile out-and-back hike that ends at a scenic waterfall.
Kincaid Park is situated among 1,400 acres of rolling, forested hills and beautiful scenery. Visitors are treated to spectacular views of Mt. Susitna across Cook Inlet; Fire Island; Denali and Mt. Foraker to the north; and (we think) the best sunsets in Anchorage! Many species of wildlife roam free within the park; so look for black and brown bears; moose; bald eagles; and a host of smaller wildlife like snowshoe hares, the occasional river otter, and songbirds.
Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a sanctuary dedicated to preserving Alaska’s wildlife through conservation, education, research, and quality animal care. AWCC takes in injured and orphaned animals year-round and provides them with spacious enclosures and quality animal care. Most of the animals that arrive at the AWCC become permanent residents and will always have a home here. The Center maintains over 200 acres of spacious habitats for animals to feel at home and display their natural “wild” behavior. Visitors may see brown bears cooling off in the water, a bull moose strutting, wood bison roaming on pastures and more.
Eagle River Nature Center
You’ll discover the beauty of the Eagle River Valley as you begin your drive along Eagle River Road. Residential areas will give way to breathtaking views of glacially-carved mountains. At Mile 12 you will reach the log cabin nature center – a threshold for connecting to the ever-changing landscape beyond. The Nature Center is operated by a small, grass roots non-profit organization. We hope you'll visit us and take some time to enjoy the trails and programs we offer.
My Local Library
Of course, the libraries in the Anchorage area are not really ONE place, but MANY places... but it's important to emphasize how valuable libraries are for family learning and fun. The libraries in our area are wonderful about posting their events to the KidsOutAndAbout calendar so you always can get ideas for free things to do with your kids that celebrate education and imagination. KidsOutAndAbout.com takes this opportunity to salute the wonderful children's librarians who serve our community with such dedication. They're proud that locals voted them #13 in best places to take kids this year!
Alaska Botanical Garden
Our mission is to showcase the beauty and value of Alaska’s gardens and natural areas through science, education, and recreation.
Indian Valley Mine
We're located at Mile 104 on the Seward Highway just a short 20 minute drive south of Anchorage, Alaska. Indian Valley Mine & Gifts is family owned and operated by Roger and Arlene Cowles. We're open every day 9am to 6pm from May 15 to September 15. The main cabin and the assay building at Indian Valley Mine are some of the oldest structures built on the Turnagain Arm, and are listed as a National Historic Site. The main cabin is now a gift shop and the assay building is now a mini museum.
Indian Valley Mine offers visitors the opportunity to learn gold panning, browse through an assay building mini museum and visit our gift shop, or simply sit back in one of our rocking chairs and breath in the panoramic view of the Turnagain Arm.
Alaska Center for the Performing Arts
Broadway shows, concerts, dance, and theatre, from far-flung places and your neighborhood - it's all here at the PAC!
Campbell Creek Science Center
Imagine the discoveries you will make as you explore Alaska's natural world. The Campbell Creek Science Center's dynamic outdoor programs spark curiosity and build connections with nature for people of all ages.
The Center is the perfect outdoor classroom where learning and science come to life. Here, everyone is a scientist. Let us guide your journey.
Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry
MATI’s mission is the collection, conservation, restoration, exhibition, and interpretation of artifacts relating to Alaska’s transportation and industrial history. Education is at our core. The museum’s scope is statewide and the collections reflect that, encompassing Eskimo skin boats to jet aircraft.
Alaska Native Heritage Center
The Alaska Native Heritage Center is an amazing interactive cultural experience. More than a museum, the Center provides an opportunity to explore the indigenous cultures of Alaska firsthand - cultures that continue to adapt to modern society, yet still maintain a vibrant identity for the Native peoples of Alaska.
Alaska Railroad Tours