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Anchorage Visitors Center

 

Anchorage Visitors Center

The Visitors Center in downtown Anchorage is built in the style of a sod house. Alaska natives covered their winter homes with sod or built them underground to insulate from the long, harsh Alaskan winters. Russian and American explorers learned this technique from the natives and covered the roofs of their cabins similarly to the one above.

Inside the cabin on the other side (this door is not for public use) are several hundred pamphlets with things to see and do during your visit in Alaska. It reminds me of the rest area and welcome center typically seen on an interstate a few miles after crossing a state line. If you're looking for something to do during that free day or two or an afternoon in Anchorage between tours, it's worth a visit. You can take a self-guided walking tour of Anchorage's parks, landmarks, museums and unique shops; walk on a glacier; fly around Mt. McKinley in a plane or helicopter; go whitewater rafting; find a bed and breakfast; ride on the historic Alaska Railroad; pan for gold; spend a day salmon or halibut fishing; go skiing or visit the Arctic Circle.

There are potted flowers hanging from streetlights and growing in parks all around downtown Anchorage. Except for naturally occurring wildflowers, none of the flowers you'll see, including those above at the Visitor's Center, were grown in Alaska - the summer is shorter than the plants' lifecycles. They were grown from seeds or cuttings in the lower 48 and brought here for the benefit of your tourist experience and homesick Cheechakos - flowers by Seattle!

 

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