First Time at the Alaska Wildlife Conservancy

Our original plan was to travel down to Homer on Monday, but when I learned it would be an additional 5 hours just in driving, I changed the plan to just seeing Kenai.  But then I did something I rarely do, which was sleep in until 10:30am.  I am not really even sure how that was possible since I was on Kelly and Bill’s couch bed, but I was out like a light and pretty embarrassed I woke up so late.  Kelly and Bill were awesome about it though. Between working all week and long weekends, we’ve been running pretty hard all month.  And since generally we would rather skip a place than see it just a little, plus it was overcast and rain was predicted, so Lee and I decided we would just head back to Glennallen and call it a very full weekend.

At least that was the original plan, but as we were driving back Lee pulled into the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center.  We knew that this was a great place to see Alaska Brown Bears, but since our friends Jim and Barb had recently had an up close and personal encounter with wild  bears in Denali I was still holding out for the real thing.  Despite what you might think, it is extremely rare to see a bear here.  Yes, the bear population is large, but the territory they can live in is much, much larger.  So we have talked about it, but when Lee pulled in he said this may be our only chance t0 see a bear.  

I will say I was pleasantly surprised.  All of the major animals of Alaska were represented and most of their habitats were large and natural.  Plus, the bears!!  We got lucky and the grizzly bears, despite a very large habitat, were hanging out near the wooden bridge.  There is a nice walkway so you can get very close to them and they really put on quite a show.  It’s also quite reasonably priced at $12.50 per person.  So my recommendation is definitely to stop by.  Many of the animals were injured and brought to the habitat, it is a good cause, and may be the only change you get to see some of these animals in Alaska.

Baby Elk

Baby Elk

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Musk Ox

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These unusual deer are found in southeast Alaska and parts of Canada in the rain forest areas

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They had a few large moose that were brought here when found injured.  Seeing them up close really impresses upon you their size

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Couldn’t get the face of this cutie porcupine, but he was fun to see up close. There was a sign on the fence that said “Do not pet porcupine. He has spikes, and he bites”. Yes, you know there is a reason they had to put that sign there

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The only disappointing exhibit was the wolves. I did get to manage this shot but there wasn’t much good information on them

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One of their big missions is the breeding of bison. They have huge pastures for them and recently took a herd and reintroduced them into the wild.

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The other cool thing about the conservation center is the beautiful views all around. The ocean bay even backs up to one section of it

And finally the grizzlies or Alaska Brown Bears.  There were three and really awesome to see close up.

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The size of those claws. Wow

The size of those claws. Wow

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The fur is so beautiful. Makes you want to run your fingers through it. I am thinking that would not be such a great idea! Plus I love, love their ears

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After the conservancy we were really getting hungry and since we were near Anchorage we could have whatever we liked.  I decided on Vietnamese and we found a wonderful little restaurant, Pho Vietnam 8.  It didn’t look like much from the outside, but it was clean and the food was absolutely delicious!!

The rest of the week was largely uneventful.  We have had absolutely terrific weather, but the rain followed us and it rained on and off the entire week.  Business here at the campground has also slowed down as more people are leaving Alaska and less are coming in.  We’ve also been collecting lots of household tasks that weren’t getting done with our crazy pace.  We also worked Tuesday – Saturday so we wouldn’t miss any hours from our three day weekend.

Since we are coming to the end of our engagement here we really need to start working on the tasks that need done before we leave.  They included mailing presents out to my family, Lee figuring out what is wrong with our wifi hot spot, Lee looking at the furnace which decided to stop working, me making batches of spaghetti sauce and chili to freeze for travel days, cleaning for me, lots editing for Lee, pictures and blog writing for me, and lots of other unexciting stuff.

So, if I have been giving the impression in recent weeks it’s all been beautiful vistas and great weather, that certainly isn’t the case.  It’s just a lot more fun to write about that stuff.  You carry regular life tasks with you, and of course we are working 40 hours a week.  On the whole, it’s worked out well for us, because it has made it possible financially for us to see all the amazing things we have seen this summer, and we have enjoyed having a centrally located “home base”.

I didn’t really expect to be able to see all of Alaska in this one visit and now that I am here I know that absolutely will not happen.  There are some amazing places that are only accessible by plane and boat that I still want to see, and we would also like to come back and spend a lot more time on the Kenai. I think that’s good though.  It’s too big a place to be a “one and done” visit, and hopefully a few years from now we will be able to come back.


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8 thoughts on “First Time at the Alaska Wildlife Conservancy

  1. I agree – this is not a once and some kind of place! We have a whole section we won’t get to – so I am sure we will return someday to this awesome place called Alaska!
    So glad you stopped at the Wildlife Conservation Center – it is still on my list! How long did you spend there?

  2. WOW…it doesn’t seem possible that your time in Alaska is nearing an end!!! Seems to me like you are just getting started;o))) We’ve enjoyed all your adventures and suggestions. Hope to get there some day!!

  3. We find August a strange but nice month. It amazes me what is available the very second kids go back to school. I get nostalgic around this time now instead of later in the Fall. I’m sure it would take 2 or 3 trips to see what we want to see and do in Alaska. Not sure we’ll get to do that, but looking forward to it some day. Which route will you take to get back to the lower states?

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