View whales and hanging glaciers in the Gulf of Alaska, glimpse the summit of Denali, North America's highest mountain, touch a glacier at Kenai Fjords National Park, thrill to a ride on the spectacular Alaska Railroad, get close up looks at Alaskan moose and bears, and cuddle with sled dog puppies at Iditarod headquarters.
The historic fishing village of Seward is framed by the snow capped peaks of the Seward peninsula. Here we tour the Alaska SeaLife Center, a rescue center for Gulf of Alaska marine animals. Then we board a cruise on Resurrection Bay to spot humpback whales and other wildlife like sea otters and coastal grizzly. We also keep an eye out for views of hanging glaciers on the peaks of Kenai Fjords National Park. On the wilderness outpost of Fox Island, we enjoy a salmon and crab lunch and spectacular views.
In Kenai Fjords National Park, a ranger led hike takes us to mammoth Exit Glacier, where we track the glacier’s movement over decades, touch thousand year old ice, and take a drink from pure glacial meltwater. The walk to the glacier is filled with spectacular views as the massive valley glacier looms ahead, and grows larger with each step. A truly memorable day.
On our return to Anchorage we stop in the incomparable Portage Valley, where floating icebergs from the Portage Glacier fill the outwash lake. The amazing visit includes a ranger walk and talk, and even a chance to stand on glacial ice.
At the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, we encounter closeup many of the state’s most iconic creatures, from huge moose, to grizzly bears, northern bison and elk. This important center rescues and provides sanctuary for injured or sick animals, and a chance for visitors to see these animals close up.
There are few more spectacular journeys on earth than a trip aboard the Alaska Railroad. We depart Anchorage on the Denali Star train, and cruise north through pristine mountain passes, along untamed rivers, and through vast mountain valleys. In the glass domed observaton cars we keep an eye out for grizzly bears, moose and wolves. Our destination is Talkeetna, gateway to Denali National Park.
In historic Talkeetna we learn about Alaska’s frontier heritage, and hear tales of Denali, the highest point in North America. The peak will be visible off and on for the next two days.
Denali is an awesome, unforgettable sight. For two days while staying near Denali National Park we catch glimpses of the highest peak in North America, at 20,320 feet. Of course we will want to keep the camera handy, as the mountain’ summit has a way of peaking in and out of summertime clouds. While in Denali, our guides will share the history, legends, and natural science that make this landmark so special.
In spectacular Denali National Park, we are led by guides from Alaska Geographic on hikes, trail side talks, and wildlife viewing. Keeping an eye out for grizzly, wolves, Dall sheep and other animals, we learn all about the tundra ecosystem, about the animals that live here, and the history of the park. A magical time in America’s largest National Park.
Nearby, we stay for two nights in a cedar lodge on the banks of the Nenana River, a short distance from the park. This is a beautiful setting for free time hikes, exploring, and hanging out with friends.
On our journey back to Anchorage, we stop at Iditarod Headquarters in Wasilla, for a chance to cuddle with sled dog puppies and take a ride on a summertime sled pulled by veteran sled dogs. As you can see, the sled dog puppies are irrestible, and the ride through the woods, to the yapping and howling of the dogs, is a memorable experience.
At the Iditarod headquarters we also have a chance to learn the history of this iconic Alaskan race, and pick up a souvenir.
We stay in Anchorage both at the beginning and end of the trip, giving us plenty of opportunity to explore this capital of America’s last frontier. The historic downtown district dates to the Yukon gold rush and is great for souvenir shopping. We also keep our cameras ready, as this is the only urban environment in America that teems with wildlife like moose.
We also visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center to learn about the rich diversity of Inuit cultures. Here we can explore recreated villages, examine beautifully carved totem poles, and try our hand at traditional Inuit mask making!
On our final night in Alaska, we enjoy an authentic Alaskan meal, and frontier show, at the Sourdough Mining Company.
Cost and Length
The 8 Day trip is $2775 per student. This includes all activities, meals, ground transportation by coach, accommodations and pre departure meetings. Airfare is not included, but is booked by Earth Explore at competitive rates with major airlines.
Ages and Eligibility
Current students in grades 4-12. Elementary, Middle and High School groups travel in separate groups. Eligibility is determined by local teacher(s) based upon maturity and motivation.
Payment and Deadlines
A $500 deposit it required upon registration. Final payment is due 60 days before departure. No funds are retained if student is not accepted into program. Monthly payment plans are available. Trip capacity is based upon the local group status. Most groups reach capacity within 8 weeks of group formation.