Whether you want to immerse your children in nature and wildlife, explore the local art and culture with them, or introduce them to Juneau’s rich historical background, or all the above, there is no shortage of sites to explore during your day in Alaska’s capital.
Nature and Wildlife Outings
Juneau has countless scenic areas where you and your children can experience breathtaking Alaskan landscapes. The Mendenhall Glacier, for instance, spans over twelve miles — from the Juneau Icefield to Mendenhall Lake. You can explore the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center free of charge and learn about this spectacular region.
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve also offers free admission and is only thirty minutes from Juneau. This expansive area contains rainforests, coastline, fjords, mountains, and a variety of wildlife, making it an ideal way to give your children a glimpse of Alaska’s natural beauty.
Do your children enjoy playing at the beach? Then visit one of Juneau’s local beaches. Some popular beaches include Eagle Beach, False Outer Point Beach, Sandy Beach, and Lena Cove.
If you want to teach your children the art of fishing, then consider visiting one of Juneau’s many salmon spawning streams. It’s best to visit these streams between July and September because they are filled with salmon undergoing their life cycle. Even if you are not an avid fisher, witnessing the salmon grow and develop is itself worth the visit.
Another great option for children, or anyone who is young at heart, Juneau’s Project Playground. It is a community sponsored play area at Twin Lakes and is located on a beautiful lake setting and has picnic facilities.
Arts and Culture
You and your children should also venture to the Juneau Arts and Culture Center, which permits free public admission on the first Friday of every month from 4:30 to 7pm. The exhibits feature the work of local artists and will give your children a taste of Juneau’s contemporary art scene.
The University of Alaska Southeast also has a schedule of free cultural and recreational events on their website that are sure to entertain your children.
Immerse your children in the rich, local history of Juneau at the Alaska State Capitol. From May through September guided tours are available to provide information about Alaska and its government.
You and your children can also explore downtown Juneau with a self-guided walking tour map. Maps can be found at the airport, near cruise ship terminals, and visitor information centers. You will journey around Juneau and explore some of the city’s highlights, such as a reproduction of the Liberty Bell, sites that reveal Juneau’s gold mining days, the governor’s house, and many local shops.
The Alaska State Museum in Juneau is another way to immerse your children in Alaska’s history and culture. Some of these displays examine the native Alaskan clans, the state’s interesting relationship with Russia, and even modern tourism trends. Through its exhibits, the museum also aspires to promote artistic endeavors, to stimulate ethnographic research, and share the enriching qualities of a multi-cultural existence. Young visitors will enjoy a room designed specifically for children to engage in and educate themselves about Alaska’s history. This child-friendly exhibit features period costumes that they can try on and compare to those in the display halls. Each display case also has a viewing space for children as well as customized information, pictures, and diagrams that help engage children in the history. Best of all, there is an “Art By You” section in which children are encouraged to draw a picture or write their thoughts about their experience at the museum. The children’s artwork will later be framed by the museum staff.