Below is a list of just a few of the lesser well known attractions you may want to visit as you journey along the Parks Highway to the major destinations.
South of Anchorage: Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. Located near Whittier, the Conservation Center is a surprisingly affordable way to view and learn about Alaska’s wildlife. The Center is a non-profit rescue/rehab. facility, housing orphaned and injured grizzly and black bear, caribou, musk ox, moose and other Alaska wildlife. You can walk or drive through the park. It also has a beautiful educational center/gift shop.
Anchorage: Ship CreeK bridge in downtown anchorage, near the train terminal. Walk out on the bridge and watch salmon swimming upstream to their spawning grounds. Periodic through the season.
Wasilla: Detour to the west to the Old Independence Mine, once a thriving gold mining operation, now a state historic site. Lots of historic buildings with educational placards. Gold panning is permitted anywhere on the property.
Cantwell: The town of Cantwell sits at the intersection of the main Parks Highway and the old Denali Highway (8). This is mostly a gravel road that offers beautiful vistas of waterways, mountains, glaciers and, at times, willdlife. If you are guests at the Cantwell RV Park, you can use the complimentary bicycles to ride out on the Denali Highway.
North of Denali National Park: Bison Gulch trail. A very steep climb to the top of Mount Healy, offering beautiful views of the surrounding area and of the town of Healy.
Fairbanks: The University of Alaska offers several affordable attractions to visitors. They have a botannical gardens that has absolutely stunning displays of flowers and plants. Educational as well, with a small gift shop. There is also a large mammal research institute and a museum. The cost for the gardens is about $3, more for the mammal research tour and for the museum.
Alaska has alot to offer. Research carefully so that you don’t miss out on these smaller gems.