Anchorage Alaska

Anchorage Alaska

Anchorage Alaska is often the final stop on a north-bound inside passage cruise, as travellers prepare to return home by air.

With a population of approximately 300,000 residents it is the state's most populous city and is located in a typically picturesque Alaska setting at the head of Cook Inlet Bay. (The photo shows the view of the Chigmit Mountains looking out from the Bay.)

Historically Anchorage Alaska was founded in 1914 as a construction base for the Alaska Railroad and therefore played a key transportation role to the coal, gold and fishing industries. It is home to the Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska Pacific University and the University of Alaska; and the International Airport services domestic, European and Far Eastern flights.

When describing any of the ports along the inside passage cruise pathway it's always proper to mention their Aboriginal roots. Anchorage is no exception.

The indigenous peoples of the Cook Inlet Region are the Dena’ina, proprietors of one of 11 Athabascan languages spoken throughout Alaska. At the time of the Russian arrival in Southcentral Alaska in the late 1700s, it's estimated there were 3000 to 5000 Dena'ina living in the area. Today that number is around 1500 to 2000.

By 1784 after the Russians had established themselves, English explorer Captain James Cook is credited with first exploring and describing the Anchorage area; thus the origin of the name Cook Inlet Bay.

Another noteworthy piece of history is the massive earthquake of 1964.

On March 27 at 5:36 p.m. ADT an earthquake of 9.2 on the Richter Scale occurred in the Prince William Sound region of Alaska. The epicenter was about 10 km east of the mouth of College Fjord, approximately 90 km west of Valdez and 120 km east of Anchorage. This earthquake is the second largest earthquake ever recorded in the world, after an M9.5 earthquake struck Chile in 1960.

Special Places to Visit in Anchorage Alaska

The Alaska Zoo is a non-profit facility dedicated to promoting conservation. Home to over 130 injured or orphaned animals of 49 species including polar bears, wolves, and other arctic animals. Located 15 minutes south of downtown Anchorage.

If you're walking the downtown area Resolution Park is located seaside between 3rd and 4th Avenues West. Excellent viewpoint of the Cook Inlet with several mountain ranges (Chigmit Mountains particularly) pristinely visible on a clear day. The Captain Cook Monument is constructed in the viewing area also.

For those interested in Aboriginal history there's the Alaska Native Heritage Center and the Anchorage Museum. At the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center there's a stunning public art work called "The Constellation", a 65 foot shimmering cascade depicting indigenous Alaska mammals and sea life.

Which of course is why many people travel here from across the globe: to encounter the various wildlife and landscapes of places like Anchorage Alaska. The list of tours, excursions, hikes and trips is almost endless.

These include whale watching, biking, bear viewing, dog sledding, hiking, ecotours, flightseeing, horseback riding, glaciers and scenic drives, to mention a few.

Accommodations in Anchorage and vicinity provide an excellent base camp for exploring the rest of the state.


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