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Glacier Bay National Park

Glacier Bay

Glacier Bay is a top spot to see glaciers in Alaska.  At  the end of a long narrow fjord ringed with snow covered mountains are tidewater glaciers – glaciers that flow into the sea. From walls of spiky blue ice, hundreds of feet high, huge chunks of ice fall into the ocean (this is called "calving.")  Icebergs in fantastic shapes and sizes bob up and down in the water; all the pieces have names "icebergs," "bergy bits," "growlers."

     

To get to Glacier Bay, fly from Juneau to Gustavus, the small town at the entrance to the bay. (As of this writing, the Alaska ferry system doesn't run to Gustavus.) Ten miles from Gustavus is Barlett Cove, where the day cruise departs.

    Make a reservation on the Glacier Bay Day Cruise, a high speed catamaran ride to see the glaciers. It's approximately an 8 hour cruise which includes lunch, and a ranger naturalist on board.  (It takes all day because it's 65 miles to the end of the fjord to see most spectacular glacier, the Marjerie Glacier.)  Along with glaciers, there's also wildlife – humpback whales, puffins, Steller sea lions. Click here for more information.
      Tip:  The weather can be changeable, so be sure to bring something warm for the kids (even a sunny day can turn cold) and rain jackets, just in case.  Also, binoculars are a must have.
    Gustavus – Depending on your flight schedule and where you're staying, you may have time to do things in Gustavus.  There are miles of beaches to roam, and when the tide is out, explore tide pools and skip stones on the water.  Go for an easy hike on the Nagoonberry Trail in the Gustavus Forelands Preserve; it's 2.5 mile loop trail through meadows, wetlands and forest (look for moose). Gustavus is largely level and it's a great place to bike; ask at your hotel about bikes to borrow.
    Bartlett Cove – Staying at Bartlett Cove is very convenient for the early morning boat cruise departure. There's only one place to stay, the Glacier Bay Lodge, a full service lodge.  Upstairs in the lodge is the Visitor Center with exhibits and  movies about Glacier Bay.  If you have time, take 1 mile loop Forest Trail or the Beach Trail (keep your eyes peeled for humpback whales).
kids books
     
Glaciers  
Glaciers
Larry Dane Brimner

All about glaciers, "rivers" of snow and ice slowly moving down from mountains above how glaciers form and flow over uneven ground, what are crevasses, moraines, and "calving," why do icebergs form, and what happens when a glacier reaches the ocean. (Picture book)

 

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