After escaping the town of Whittier we decided to stop by the Alaskan Wildlife Conservation Center on the way back to Anchorage. It's about 15 minutes away from Whittier and right on Highway One. The center features lot of big animals in beautiful, large, habitats. You can walk or drive the two mile loop to visit the various exhibits. With the baby in tow we drove most of it, but got out at a few spots to let him see the animals.
The timing was perfect for us to see the brown bear playing around in the water an walking right by the small crowd of people there. Watching him take a bath was one of the highlights of the trip for me. Of course there was a nice electric fence separating us, but with the snowy mountains in the background it was easy to imagine this is just what he'd be doing in the wild.
Once we left the center we realized we didn't have time to go out to eat anywhere. Traveling with the baby went much more smoothly than I anticipated, and the only thing we didn't do that we would have liked to was eat out a few times. Between his naps we tried to optimize our time in Anchorage and prioritized sight seeing over eating.
Still, we got Buffalo Wild Wings to go to eat at our hotel and it was amazing. We don't have any chain restaurants in Fairbanks aside from a few fast food places so we both enjoyed getting some of our old favorites. I didn't realize they could use a black bean burger in place of any regular burger so I got this deliciously spicy monstrosity.
Sunday morning we spent some time at the lake behind the hotel after breakfast. Everything in Alaska seems more vivid and vibrant!
We checked out of the hotel and got to the Anchorage Zoo a few minutes before they opened at 9 a.m.. I love going to the zoo, but I also feel bad for the animals there. I was excited to go to the Anchorage Zoo after hearing that most of their animals are rescues. Most of the animals had signs up explaining how they had been found injured and were unable to be returned back to their homes.
The zoo was pretty small, but overall we were both happy we decided to go. Little man didn't show too much interest in the animals yet.
He did have fun at the petting zoo. He got to pet a few goats and check out a big black bunny.
After spending some time at the zoo we hit the road around 11 a.m. to head home. As with the way down we stopped at the Target in Wasilla (about an hour North of Anchorage) to help break up the trip. We ate lunch there, and I scored some more clothes and saved 30% thanks to the Cartwheel app. I ended up getting a few shirts, two pairs of shorts, a necklace and a gorgeous summer dress. I'm all set for the rest of the year now! I think it was just about $100 total. I love Target.
A few hours later we stopped at the Southern viewing point for Denali. It is so hard to capture how massive these mountains are in photos. Denali is about 20,000 feet tall! They had this landscape painting that lined up with the mountains showing what the elevation for the various peaks.
This photo was taken about 40 miles away from Denali. Again, it's virtually impossible to really understand how big that is unless you are there looking at it!
We made it home around 7 p.m. and immediately started bedtime routine for baby. I got all of our stuff unpacked and put away, did a load of laundry, and washed my car at 10 p.m. in the bright daylight. The sun sets around midnight here so at 10 p.m. it was just as light out as if it was 5 p.m. back in Florida.
It's crazy to think we are three months away from hitting our one year mark of moving here already. There are so many other things we'd like to do here before we get stationed somewhere else (sled dog racing, panning for gold, camping, whale watching, train rides,....) I'm also pushing for a week long vacation to Hawaii next Summer since we're 'only' a six hour flight away!
Would you prefer an Alaskan vacation, or Hawaii?