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Fairbanks Tourist Attractions

Fairbanks, Alaska's second largest town and the terminus of the Alaska Highway, developed around 1900 from a gold-diggers' camp. The University of Alaska Museum has a collection illustrating the history of the territory. In the Alaskaland leisure park there are reconstructions of a gold-diggers' village as well as Eskimo and Indian settlements. In the Large Animal Research Station wild animals can be seen living in natural conditions. There are paddle-steamer trips on the Chena and Tanana Rivers. The Midnight Sun is visible from September to April. Fairbanks is a good base for excursions (by air) to northern and eastern Alaska, for example to Fort Yukon, the largest Indian settlement in Alaska, or by road to Marley or Chena Hot Springs.

University of Alaska Museum of the North

University of Alaska Museum of the North offers well over one million historical and natural history pieces and research material. The permanent collection at the Museum of the North includes ethnological items made and used by Alaskan Natives, a fine arts collection that focuses mainly on Alaskan art, archeological finds from prehistoric cultures, a bird collection representing over 20,000 species, and paleontology specimens.
The museum is also a research and teaching facility. Some of the research focuses on such issues as climate change, genetics, and contaminants. Programs, special exhibits, lectures and other educational offerings are other components of the museum. Also on site is a 125 seat auditorium and a gift shop.
The building that houses the museum is also noteworthy. Designed by Joan Soranno, the white building features interesting lines and curves intended to resemble the Alaskan landscape.
Official site:
Address: Box 756960, Fairbanks, AK 99775, United States

Alaskaland Pioneer Air Museum

Bush planes have been an integral part of Alaska's 20th C history, and the bush pilot persona has been an enduring legend in the North. The Alaskaland Pioneer Air Museum offers great insight into some of this history. The museum features displays and information on the planes and pilots that have helped shape Alaska. On show are 14 aircraft, as well as huge piston engine. Exhibits also include photographs, personal records, memorabilia, and pieces dating back to as early as 1913.
For anyone interested in flight or the history of Alaska, both of which are intertwined, this museum is a good place to start. The museum is run by the Interior and Arctic Alaska Aeronautical Foundation (IAAAF).
Address: Box 70437, Fairbanks, AK 99707, United States

Alaska Highway

Flowers along the Alaska Highway.
The Alaska Highway runs from Dawson Creek in British Columbia (Canada) through the Yukon Territory to Fairbanks, in the centre of Alaska. It was built for military purposes in 1942, during the Second World War, in the record time of only eight months, and since the end of the war has been the most important means of access by land to the Yukon Territory and southern Alaska. For most of the way it is asphalted (with a gravel surface only in Canada), but at certain times of year is in only moderately good condition. There are motels, shops and gas stations at intervals of 30-50 mi.
From Dawson Creek the road runs north-west over the plain of the Peace River, passing Stone Mountain and Muncho Lake Provincial Park. Beyond Fort Nelson (about 310 mi.) it approaches the Rockies. The first place of any size in the Yukon Territory is Watson Lake, the "Gateway to the Yukon", with an information centre on the construction of the Highway and a famous collection of signposts. The route continues by way of Teslin, on the 800 mi. long lake of that name, to Whitehorse (930 mi.), capital of the Yukon Territory. Beyond Whitehorse the road heads for the St Elias Mountains. At the little township of Haines Junction is the entrance to Kluane National Park, a unique nature reserve with Canada's highest peak, Mount Logan (19,525 ft). At Soldiers Summit (1060 mi.) the Alaska Highway was officially opened on November 20th 1942. On the right of the road, some 37 mi. beyond Haines Junction, is the 46 mi. long Kluane Lake (campgrounds, good fishing). After 1240 mi. the Highway comes to the Canadian-United States frontier and moves from the Pacific into the Alaska time zone. On the final 310 mi. to Fairbanks it runs through the fertile Tana Valley. At Tok Junction (about 1320 mi.) the Glen Highway branches off, running by way of Glacier Park, with the Matanuska Glacier, to Anchorage.
A cruise along the coast of Alaska is an unforgettable experience. Both the Inside Passage through the rocky reefs to the Panhandle (e.g. from Vancouver to Skagway) and cruises through the Gulf of Alaska (e.g. from Whittier to Seward) offer fantastic views. There are also land trips, of course.

Gold Dredge Number 8

Gold Dredge Number 8 is a 250 foot long ship that was used in the search for gold along the Goldstream and Engineer Creeks in the late 1920s. Dredge Number 8 was manufactured in 1927-28, shipped from Pennsylvania by transcontinental railroad and by ocean-going barge to the Alaskan Railroad, where it was assembled at the head of the Goldstream Valley. It was in operation until 1959.
This massive three story barge combines all the elements of gold mining in one spot. Those include digging, sorting, gold-saving and disposal of tailings. Gold Dredge Number 8 is the only fully persevered gold dredge and as a result it has been placed on the Register of National Historic Sites. A tour of the dredge is provided by an informative guide showing the inner workings of the equipment and relaying historical nuggets of information on what life was like for the gold miners. The 1.5 hour tour ends with an opportunity to pan for gold, following which visitors are treated to a hearty stew and fresh made biscuits served in the Mess hall.
Official site:
Address: 1755 Old Steese Highway North, Fairbanks, AK 99712, United States

El Dorado Gold Mine Tours

The old Klondike Gold Rush gold seekers would have been happy to take an El Dorado Gold Mine Tour. Here everyone is assured of finding gold!
The Binkley's Tanana Valley Railroad takes visitors through the gold fields of the Interior. The train stops at a working gold mine where demonstrations are conducted and guests are allowed to pan for gold themselves. In addition the train passes through a perma frost tunnel where a miner with a pick axe will demonstrate the style of mining in use underground during the gold rush. Also in the tunnel visitors will see ancient bones reputed to be 30,000 years old.
Later on the tour goes to the Sluicebox where the technique of panning for gold is demonstrated. Visitors are then allowed to pan for gold and will ultimately be successful. Afterwards you can take your new found gold to the weigh scales to find out its value against the market price. The tour also offers complementary fresh baked cookies served in the Cook Shack.
Official site:
Address: 1975 Discovery Drive, Fairbanks, AK 99709, United States

Big Delta State Historical Park, Delta Junction, Alaska

Yak on a farm at Delta Junction.
The main feature of Big Delta State Historical Park's, north of Delta Junction, is Rika's Roadhouse, which served as a stopping point for travelers on the Valdez-to-Fairbanks Trail. Rika's Roadhouse still has the original kerosene crate floor, which has been restored as well as a bedroom and kitchen furnished in the style of the 1920's and 1930's. Also located within the grounds is the Washington Alaska Military Cable and Telegraph System station, which made it possible to send messages from Alaska to Washington D.C. Without this system sending a message overland would have taken a year.
An old sod-roofed cabin houses the Delta Historical Society collections of historical artifacts from the surrounding area. Local residents donated artifacts such as blacksmith tools, horse tack, dog harnesses, sleds and historic photographs.

Sullivan Roadhouse Historical Museum

Housed in an 1905 log home built by John and Florence Sullivan, the museum deals with the history of the Valdez-Fairbanks Trail and the roadhouses that once operated along here. The restored cabin features a well-stocked kitchen including cookware, recreated sleeping quarters, and a collection of artifacts and photographs.
Outside of Sullivan Roadhouse, the gardens are filled with colorful wildflowers, a traditional vegetable garden/potato patch and interpretive walkways.
Address: Box 987, Delta Junction, AK 99737, United States

Pioneer Museum and Big Stampede

The Pioneer Museum allows a glimpse into the period of the gold rush. Photos and displays show the work, daily life, and recreation of those who came to try their luck at finding gold. Transportation from this period in time are represented by displays of dog sleds, snowshoes, horse-drawn sleds and stagecoaches, sternwheeler parts and early flight relics.
The Pioneer Museum also features typical household items and goods as well as handmade appliances and tools.
The Big Stampede Show is a 45 minute narrated presentation on the gold rush, with huge oil paintings by the Alaskan artist C. R. "Rusty" Heurlin.
Address: Box 70176, Fairbanks, AK 99707, United States

Ester Gold Camp (closed)

Ester Gold Camp is located near Cripple Creek - one of the richest gold creeks in the world. These are the remains of the 1904 townsite of Ester and the Fairbanks Exploration Company.
Ester Gold Camp dates back to 1900 when the camp was called Ester City. By 1907, Ester City had three hotels, five saloons and five other businesses along with the many homes.
Visitors can enjoy the Ester Gold Camp Dining Hall Buffet and Malemute Saloon Show.

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), Alaska

The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) was established in 1960 to conserve wildlife, wilderness and recreational values. It is presently the largest Wildlife Refuge in the United States, covering 19.3 million acres. The Refuge preserves herds of caribou, polar and grizzly bear populations, and the 160 species of migratory birds that arrive annually.

Circle District Historical Society Museum, Central, Alaska

The Circle District museum features mining and other historical exhibits related to the area. Gold was discovered along Birch Creek in 1891 and the rush began! There are also displays on preglacial Alaskan mammals.
Central has a population of less than 60 people and serves mainly as a supply center for a small number of miners who still work the area.

Circle Hot Springs

Circle Hot Springs, located not far from the town of Circle, was founded in the late 1800s following the discovery of the hot springs.
Currently closed and for sale - the Circle Hot Springs Resort, the hotel built in 1930, maintains an Olympic size swimming pool.

Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, Eagle, Alaska

This National Preserve protects areas of the Yukon River and all of the Charley River Basin. Many cabins and historic sites from the Gold Rush of 1898 still remain. Archeological sites have also been uncovered.
Peregrine falcons nest in the bluffs of the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve while abundant wildlife roam through the rolling hills.

Fort Yukon, Alaska

Fort Yukon was originally a Canadian outpost in Russian Territory, with a trading post established by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1847. Fort Yukon was an important trade center for the Gwichin Indians. It lies north of the Arctic Circe and is accessible by air or barge during the summer months. Today the village of Fort Yukon is home to some 600 residents.

Riverboat Discovery Tour

The stern-wheeler "Discovery III" takes visitors on 3 1/2 hour tours on the Chena and Tanana rivers. The boat stops at the Chena Indian village for a guided walking tour. The tour is an opportunity for tourists to better understand ancient Athabascan Indian culture.
Address: 1975 Discovery Drive, Fairbanks, AK 99709, United States

Trans Arctic Circle Treks

Trans Arctic Circle Treks offers guided air and land tours ranging from one to four days. Both summer and winter tours are available.
The excursions include day trips to the Arctic Circle, walking tours of the alpine tundra and hands-on Trans-Alaska Pipeline demonstrations.
Official site:
Address: 4825 Glasgow Drive, Fairbanks, AK 99709, United States

Dog Mushing Museum

The Dog Mushing Museum offers a comprehensive look at dog mushing, with photo displays, sleds, clothing, harnesses, trophies and racing information, and other memorabilia. A video presentation presents mushing videos.
Address: 250 Cushman Street, Courthouse Square, Suite 2 B, Fairbanks, AK 99701-4728, United States

Fairbanks International Airport

Fairbanks International Airport opened in 1951 and the passenger terminal building was completed in 1954. The airport offers passenger service to a number of destinations, primarily within the state.
Address: 6450 Airport Way, Suite 1, Fairbanks, AK 99709, United States

NOAA (NESDIS Fairbanks Command & Data Acquisition Station)

This is the northern most satellite tracking station in North America, it is civilian operated. Guided tours are available to the public.
Official site:
Address: 1300 Eisele Road, Fairbanks, AK 99712-1725, United States
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