Day One: Girdwood & Portage Glacier
ANCHORAGE: Begin your day At 11 AM in your lobby, with our escort whisking you down the Seward Highway, passing through Anchorage along the shores of Cook Inlet. There’s a special mystique to Alaska. The name conjures up adventure, raw natural beauty — glaciers, mountains and seas, unmatched the world around — fascinating wildlife, a unique cultural heritage, and independent, pioneering people. A unique part of Alaska, the Kenai Peninsula offers up mountainous passes and gorges along the magnificent Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet.
Your first stop will be at Potters Marsh, a state game refuge, a very popular stop for bird watching from a boardwalk. This is a nesting area for waterfowl as well as arctic tern, Canada geese, swans, and ducks. From hawks, to eagles, guests love this walk to view salmon as well as the birds. We even see an occasional moose.
GIRDWOOD: Next, enjoy the hopping town of Girdwood, our local ski resort area in winter and hot spot for Tram views in summer.
An aerial tram ride up Mt. Alyeska will take you to a stunning view. At the top, your tour guide will show you around and tell you about the area and the exhibits in the Roundhouse Museum. From the viewing decks and Roundhouse at Mt. Alyeska, you can see several glaciers as well as the Turnagain Arm and the territory you just covered. Next you can enjoy a deli-style lunch with both hot or cold selections at a local deli.
Upon completion of your lunch, leisure time is offered for photos and visit a Jade shop in Alyeska. Jade is Alaska’s state precious stone and found in many stores but this store is the prime shopping stop!
Following your stop, a beautiful drive further down the Seward Hwy corridor, stops at Windy Point & Beluga point will allow for Dall Sheep sightseeing as well as Beluga Whale spotting. Binoculars are provided on board as well as complimentary beverages.
ALASKA WILDLIFE CONSERVATION CENTER: Here come “Them Thar Bears…”! Join the fun at the 140-acre Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, where jaws drop in awe – even those of longtime Alaskans who’ve studied grizzlies and other animals up close. AWCC’s mission is to provide refuge for orphaned, injured, and ill animals-those that can’t survive in the wild. The center, which opened to the public in 1993, also educates visitors about Alaska’s wildlife.
On your visit, you might see a Siberian boar snoozing, moose foraging, baby moose napping, plus caribou, elk, bison, baby Sitka black-tailed deer, eagles, and other animals. The musk oxen are worth the visit all by themselves. Set on the shores of Turnagain Arm, surrounded by mountains and hanging glaciers, the center is the perfect setting to learn about Alaskan wildlife. The animals are located in different areas grouped around several road loops. Each habitat area has a sign explaining the history and habits of the particular animals.
PORTAGE GLACIER: Later this afternoon (dependent on time spent), enjoy a visit to Portage Glacier. Leisure time offers a great area to view the icebergs in the lake as well as hanging glaciers that will keep your camera busy. Begich-Boggs Visitors Center offers an unique opportunity to learn about the Chugach National Forest, America’s second largest national forest. Award-winning exhibits, educational presentations, the film “Voices from the Ice,” information services, and an Alaska Natural History Association bookstore are available. Join a Forest Service Interpreter or go it alone on this short 1/4 mile loop trail located just outside our doors. Interpretive signs along the trail help paint the picture of Portage Glacier’s retreat revealing a landscape full of new life. A stop to view salmon spawning is included depending on season.
Finally, your adventure closes with a scenic drive back to Anchorage and a drop-off at your hotel.