Epic wildlife, soaring summits, and tundra stretching as far as the eye can see: everything is bigger in Alaska. Journey to the far north—where the sun never quite sets in the summer—and make the most of long days on hiking and wildlife-viewing excursions in the Alaskan wilderness. Explore Denali and Kenai Fjords National Parks, where kids will set out on educational adventures to claim their junior ranger badges.
Arrive in time to meet your fellow travelers for a welcome gathering this evening. Your arrival transfer is included.
Travel down the scenic Seward Highway, past Turnagain Arm, where one of the largest bore tides in the world surges a massive wave into the waterway each day. Continue to Seward for a visit to the famed Alaska SeaLife Center, an aquarium that collaborates with National Geographic on wildlife initiatives. The afternoon is free to explore Seward; or opt for adventure in the Alaskan wilderness while hiking, kayaking, or even dogsledding across a glacier!
Board a catamaran for a cruise through Kenai Fjords National Park, where nearly 40 glaciers flow down coastal mountains, forging icy pathways into the sea. Our boat takes us to the exit ramp for one of these massive ice sheets, where we may see—and hear—great chunks of ice fall straight into the water. Kenai is also a wildlife-lover’s paradise, home to orcas and humpbacks, puffins, porpoises, and much more. Enjoy lunch on board, and meet our accompanying park ranger, who will guide young travelers toward earning their first junior ranger badge of the trip!
On our journey back north, we’ll stop to explore the wilds surrounding the mountain town of Girdwood. Make your way along a winding boardwalk through the northernmost rainforest in North America; then board a hand-operated tram and take turns pulling your family along a rope strung high above a rushing river. Later, ride the gondola up Mount Alyeska for a look at hanging glaciers clinging to high mountain cliffs. Continue to Talkeetna, a quirky town that welcomes many a mountaineer hoping to conquer Denali’s lofty summit.
Talkeetna/Denali National Park and Preserve
As we travel toward Denali National Park, we get ever closer to Denali—or “the great one”—North America’s highest peak. Even among the soaring summits of the Alaska Range, Denali dominates the horizon. At the gateway to the park, pick up junior ranger packets then meet a field educator at the Denali Education Center to learn about the surrounding ecosystems and the native people who have survived in these harsh conditions for centuries. This afternoon, we’ll travel to the home of a true Alaskan hero, Jeff King, who has won the grueling, 998-mile Iditarod dogsledding race four times! Snuggle a husky puppy and watch grown champion sled dogs go through their summer training routine.
Denali National Park and Preserve
This morning, venture into the heart of Denali National Park and Preserve on a wildlife safari. The park’s incredible creatures stand out against the sparse landscape, and a drive along the park road is often the best way to see them. As we drive to the Eielson Visitor Center, make it your mission to spot Denali’s “big five:” grizzly bears, moose, caribou, Dall sheep, and elusive wolves. Opt to join a ranger on a hike for a closer look at the treeless tundra and hearty plants that grow here. The return trip to our hotel offers another chance for wildlife-viewing.
Denali National Park and Preserve
This morning, meet up with an Alaska resident to hear all about life in America’s northernmost state. Then set off for a hike with a naturalist guide from the Denali Education Center. Kids will have the opportunity to wrap up their junior ranger activities. Enjoy a free afternoon to relax, or opt to fly above Denali’s soaring summit on a helicopter flight-seeing excursion.
Denali National Park and Preserve/Anchorage
Enjoy a free morning to get in a final hike or an optional scenic river float before setting out on our drive back to Anchorage. Join the group for a farewell dinner this evening.
Depart at any time.