fun to do kids parks highway alaska   Travel for Kids
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Parks Highway

Mt. McKinley

Some of the best places to see Mt. McKinley are along the lower Parks Highway, which goes north from Wasilla towards Denali National Park. Driving along the highway, at Mile 135 and Mile 163 are pullouts with interpretive displays of the mountains. Tip:  In summer, Mt. McKinley is often hidden in misty clouds; when we visited this area in July, the mountain was only visible six days out of the month.


Talkeetna – Talkeetna is a rustic small town with brightly painted wooden buildings, log cabins and old railroad buildings on the banks of the Talkeetna and Susitna Rivers.  Every spring, mountaineers come to Talkeetna to launch their Mt. McKinley climbing expeditions. Talkeetna also has great views of majestic snow-covered Mt. McKinley, if the weather is clear. It's worth a short detour to the hilltop pullout on the Talkeetna Spur Rd., off the Parks Highway.

      Museum of Nothern Adventure – A charming little museum with 24 full-size dioramas of the history of Alaska, from Native hunting and lifestyles, to Russian heritage, gold mining, trappers, homesteading (e.g. a family in a log cabin, cooking over a wood stove and washing clothes by hand), the Iditarod, and bush pilots.  Museum is open mid-April to mid-Sept. daily.
      River trips – Jet boat or float trips down the Talkeetna or Susitna Rivers are fun for everyone in the family.  On two or three hour trips, sit back and enjoy the marvelous scenery and wildlife along the river, bald eagles in the trees, beaver lodges in the water.  Float trips are just that – float down the river in a raft, your guide does all the work paddling.  Jet boats are enclosed, making this a good choice for a river trip if the weather is cloudy or rainy.
      Sundog Kennel Tour and Ride –  In summer, on the tour kids can visit the kennel, meet Iditarod sled dogs, pet husky puppies, and watch a sled dog demonstration.  Additionally, go for a sled dog ride in a wheeled sled.
      Go horseback riding – D & S Alaskan Trail rides has one and two hour horseback rides along the river, for kids 7 and up, May to September.
      Wild Woods Park – A charming playground with slides, swings, separate "tot lot" for toddlers, sandbox for digging, mini-log cabin, and climbing structures where kids can pretend they're riding a train or flying a bush plane. The playground is located on next to the library on the Talkeetna Spur Rd.

Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Headquarters (Wasilla) – Just two miles off the Parks Highway (on Knik-Goose Bay Rd.), stop off in this small museum to watch a video about famous sled dog race and learn more about the race and past winners. The best part of the visit is holding husky puppies, and a short sled dog ride, which is reasonably priced.

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