Seward is home to the Alaska SeaLife Center, Alaska’s only public aquarium and ocean wildlife rescue center. Established in 1998, the Alaska SeaLife Center is funded primarily by the Exxon Valdez oil spill settlement. Both a public aquarium and research facility, the Alaska SeaLife Center houses Stellar sea lions, harbor seals, giant Pacific octopus, puffins and many other creatures of the Alaskan waters. A hands-on touch tank filled with starfish, sea urchins, sea anenomes, and sea cucumbers is a popular highlight. The modern facility is easily walkable, the exhibits are clean and well-designed, and the Alaska SeaLife Center is a terrific place to see and learn about Alaska’s marine fauna.
Our first Alaskan destination was the Kenai Peninsula, extending about 150 miles south of Anchorage into the Gulf of Alaska. Known as “Alaska’s Playground”, the mountainous peninsula is a popular destination for Alaskan residents as well as Alaska visitors. The peninsula is popular with hunters and fishermen, and has plentiful outfitting and guide services to accommodate them. The Kenai Peninsula is home to some of Alaska’s larger towns like Soldotna, Cooper Landing, Kenai and Homer… all smaller than Coshocton. Named after Secretary of State William H. Seward, who fought for the U.S. purchase of Alaska… Seward, Alaska is tightly nestled between the mountains and Resurrection Bay off the Gulf of Alaska. The town of 3000 is a cruise ship port, a lucrative fisheries port, southern terminus of the Alaska Railroad and the southern terminus of the thousand-mile-long Iditarod sled dog trail.
Seward is located at the edge of the awe-inspiring Kenai Fjords National Park, named for the numerous dramatic high-relief fjords carved by massive, powerful slow-moving glaciers moving down the mountains from the Harding Ice Field. Exit Glacier is the only glacier and only part of the park accessible by road. Located just 15 minutes from Seward, the Exit Glacier Visitor Center is the starting point for a short network of trails offering panoramic views, as well as an opportunity to walk right up to the active glacier. The park features about 40 glaciers, many of which flow into the sea. The most convenient and efficient way to absorb this stunning national park is by tour boat. In operation for over four decades, Kenai Fjords Tours is the park’s most experienced tour company offerine a variety of tours of different lengths and distances. Wildlife is abundant in and around the national park waters, and the boat captains and tour guides know where to find it. During our 8-hour tour, we saw humpback whales, sea lions, bald eagles, sea otters, mountain goats, Dall’s porpoises, puffins, and many other sea birds. We witnessed spectacular calving of the Ailiak Glacier. The tourists and the guides reacted with awe, as we saw a chunk of ice the size of a three-story building, fall off the gigantic bluish white glacier, crack loudly, and drop hundreds of feet into the sea, sending a wave of water and ice toward our boat a quarter-mile away. Our tour’s final destination was a hearty salmon and prime rib dinner on secluded Fox Island. Kenai Fjords Boat Tours guides are exceptionally attentive to their guests, answering questions and offering comfort throughout the tour. A glacier tour is one of Alaska’s must-do activities, and Kenai Fjords Tours will make it an unforgettable experience.
Seward is one of Alaska’s oldest and most scenic communities and is easily accessible from Anchorage. In addition to the numerous activities, Seward is home to quaint shops, great restaurants and art galleries, and a distinctive Alaskan atmosphere.