The heart of Alaska’s Interior, Fairbanks is known (among other things) for its Chena River cruises and the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Museum of the North. Fairbanks is a superior spot for viewing the aurora borealis and a hub for transportation to Alaska’s Arctic.

The University of Alaska Museum of the North is a must-stop for Fairbanks visitors. The museum has more than 1.4 million artifacts in its possession, including the state’s largest public display of gold; Blue Babe, a 36,000-year-old steppe bison; extensive displays of Alaska Native art and culture; and paintings by Alaska artists like Sydney Laurence, Ted Lambert and Eustace Ziegler.

Also on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus is the Georgeson Botanical Garden, a favorite stop for its brilliant summer flower displays.

UAF operates another popular attraction: the Robert G. White Large Animal Research Station, which allows visitors close-up views of musk-oxen, caribou and reindeer.

Visit the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum at Wedgewood Resort, with its impressive collection of approximately 70 automobiles produced in the U.S. prior to WWII.

Pioneer Park is a 44-acre historic park created in 1967 as the Alaska Centennial Park, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of U.S. territorial status. Walk through Gold Rush Town, a narrow winding street of authentic buildings. Most of these pioneer buildings house shops selling food and crafts. Mining Valley has displays of gold mining equipment and is the site of the popular Alaska Salmon Bake. Also in Pioneer Park: the Pioneer Air Museum; the SS Nenana, a national historic landmark; and the Tanana Valley Railroad Museum. The narrow-gauge Crooked Creek & Whiskey Island Railroad offers a 12-minute ride around the park.

Riverboat cruises on the Chena and Tanana rivers are on the Riverboat Discovery. The Riverboat Discovery offers many individual experiences along the tour including guided walking tours of a Chena River Indian Village and a stop at the late Susan Butcher’s home with a sled dog demonstration. (Susan was a 4-time winner of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.)

Gold Dredge 8 explores the Alaska’s gold mining history, with demonstrations of modern day placer mining methods and a chance to pan for gold on a real gold claim. Another gold mining experience is found at Gold Daughters offers an Antique Mining Museum and a chance to pan for gold with guaranteed find of gold.

There’s good bird watching in summer in Fairbanks at Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge. Begin your visit to Creamer’s Field at the Alaska Bird Observatory located at Wedgewood Resort off College Road. The center includes a nature store and trailhead to Creamer’s Field. Guided bird walks and bird-banding demonstrations from May to September.

You can arrange any number of other trips and tours from Fairbanks, either on your own or with a local sightseeing company: fish the Chatanika River for grayling, drive out to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Viewpoint, or fly to the Arctic Circle, to name just a few.

For more information visit the Fairbanks Convention & Visitors Bureau web site.


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