Alaska Field Trips for Homeschoolers
Known as the Last Frontier, the state of Alaska has diverse landscapes that inspire and awe. Its more than 663, 000 square miles, ranking it first in area in the U.S., are home to majestic animals, remarkable mountains, and a rich history that includes numerous indigenous groups, many of whom still call the state home. This page provides ideas for fun things to do in Alaska with your children that can also enhance your homeschool lessons. Please make sure to contact each site before you plan your visit, as COVID-19 may have impacted their hours of operations.
To start planning your field trips, use this printable map of Alaska. You’ll also find free Time4Learning lesson tie-ins that you can download at the end of this post to help supplement your homeschool field trips in Alaska.
Home education is not the same in every state. Make sure you’re getting the information you need to start homeschooling in the Silver State.
Field Trips in the Southeast/Inside Passage
- Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, Haines – Encompassing 48,000 acres, this preserve was established in 1982 to protect the world’s largest concentration of bald eagles. Visitors can observe the majestic birds in a designated area along Haines Highway from miles 12-18.
- Alaska State Museum, Juneau – Learn about the state’s history, people and more at this museum that opened its door in 1920. Various exhibits are available at the museum, as well as a few online that also include teaching materials. Youth art activities and other events are held throughout the year.
- Totem Bight State Historical Park, Ketchikan – Explore this 33-acre park located on a traditional Native campground. Visitors can step into a replica of a community house as well as explore the totem poles on the property including the Blackfish Pole, Thunderbird and Whale, and Land Otter Pole just to name a few.
- Tracy Arm Fjord, near Juneau – You don’t have to travel to Norway to see fjords. Located 45 miles south of Juneau, this fjord is over 30 miles long and allows students to see these impressive formations created by glaciers. Visitors can access the area by boat or floatplane. Families can also listen to the cracking ice and enjoy the majestic scenery while learning a little world history in the process.
- Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau – This 13-mile long, drive-up glacier is a must for anyone visiting the area. Families can take in a breathtaking view of the glacier as well as Mendenhall Lake from the visitor center. Students can take part in interpretive programs and exhibits that teach about the history of the glacier. Trails are also available for hiking, including one that leads to Nugget Falls, and another that provides access to the glacier as well as the ice caves underneath. Don’t forget to check out the upside down forest of Mendenhall Gardens too!
- El Capitan Cave, Naukati – Located on Prince of Wales Island, El Cap, as its known locally, is the longest mapped cave in the state spanning over two miles. Free guided tours are only available during the summer, where adults and children over 7 years old can learn about its history and unique formations.
Homeschool Field Trips in Southwest Alaska
- Katmai National Park and Preserve, King Salmon – Spanning more than four million acres, this national park is home to numerous active volcanoes and abundant wildlife. Visitors can learn through ranger-led programs that include live chats, cultural walks, evening programs, and more.
- Aleutian World War II National Historic Area, Dutch Harbor – Learn about the Aleutian Islands and how they were invaded during WWII, and how that led to the evacuation of hundreds of native Aleuts. Families can explore the visitor center’s exhibits and watch educational WWII-era films including “Report from the Aleutians” and “Alaska at War”.
- Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, Kodiak – Families can enjoy Alaska’s natural beauty in a number of ways at this refuge that spans almost two million acres. Students can explore the exhibit hall at the visitor center that is home to the skeleton of a 36-foot whale, or take part in the numerous environmental education programs.
- Baranov Museum, Kodiak – Learn about the history of Kodiak, the first permanent Russian settlement in North America established in 1793, at this museum housed in the oldest building in Alaska. Students can learn through the museum’s exhibits, group tours, arts & crafts workshops, storytimes, and more.
Homeschool Field Trips in South Central Alaska
- Alaska Botanical Garden, Anchorage – Explore this 110-acre living museum that is home to eight gardens, an outdoor classroom, and a family nature trail. Day camps are available throughout the year as well as guided tours and other events.
- Alaska Zoo, Anchorage – Established in 1969, the Alaska Zoo’s mission is to “promote conservation of Arctic, sub-Arctic and like climate species through education, research and community enrichment”. The zoo is home to over 100 birds and mammals including snow leopards, caribou, polar bears, Arctic foxes, yaks, and more. Adventure camps, a free wildlife speaker series, and field trips are available for students.
- Anchorage Museum, Anchorage – Holding the title of largest museum in Alaska, visitors here can learn about numerous aspects of the state including its people, history, art, and more through various exhibitions. Homeschoolers can take part in family classes, workshops, and more.
- Alaska Sea Life Center, Seward – Opened in 1998, this aquarium and research facility studies the marine ecosystems of the state. Various activities and events are available for students including overnight and day programs, virtual field trips, and more. The center is home to numerous animals including several species of seals, puffins, sea urchins, king crabs, and more.
- Turnagain Arm Bore Tide, Anchorage – Enhance your science curriculum by studying this rare event where the gravitational force causes waves to rush against the current. Turnagain Arm is well know due to its size (6-10 feet tall), making it popular among surfers in the area. Students can also watch the harbor seals that ride the tide and beluga whales that visit the area.
Homeschool Field Trips in Interior Alaska
- Denali State Park, Trapper Creek – Home of North America’s highest mountain, Mount McKinley at 20,320-feet tall, this park is full of learning and recreational opportunities. Although most of the park is undeveloped wilderness, there are numerous lookout points, trails, rivers for canoeing, and more. Staff is available to answer questions and provide assistance at the visitor contact station at the Alaska Veterans Memorial.
- Big Delta State Historic Park, Junction – Take a step back in time and learn about this important area in Alaska’s history at this 10-acre park. Families can explore the roadhouse that served as a temporary stop for travelers, traders, and others, join guided tours, and visit a museum that is home to numerous artifacts and photographs dating back to the early 1900s.
- Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Fairbanks – The largest National Wildlife Refuge in the U.S. is home to polar bears, wolves, eagles and more. Numerous activities are available for visitors to take part in including camping, hiking, and wildlife viewing just to name a few. Since there are no defined trails, roads or facilities, there are risks involved in visiting such a place, so be sure to research beforehand and take the right safety precautions.
- University of Alaska Museum of the North, Fairbanks – Families can learn about numerous aspect of Alaska’s history at this museum that is home to more than 1.5 million artifacts and specimens. Be sure to visit the Gallery of Alaska to get a glimpse of Blue Babe, a mummified bison that is almost 50,000 years old – perfect for those studying the Ice Age. Numerous educational programs are available including family workshops, family days, museum sleepovers and more.
Homeschool Field Trips in the Far NorthHome to several Eskimo villages, the Far North is so sparsely populated by humans, that caribou (reindeer) actually outnumber people. Due to its remote location in and near the Arctic Circle, most of the destinations listed below can only be accessed by plane. The parks and preserves located here are undeveloped and park rangers are not assigned to these areas. The Dalton Highway is the only link to the Far North, however it is mostly unpaved and prohibited by car rental companies. Numerous companies offer tours for those interested in exploring the area.
- Cape Krusenstern National Monument, Kotzebue – Seventy miles of coastline with lagoons make up this National Historic Landmark that features 114 beach ridges along the Cape. Since no roads lead into the park, visitors arrive via chartered air taxi. Visitors can explore the monument’s headquarters at the Northwest Arctic Heritage Center that also houses a museum, bookstore and hosts several programs for children.
- Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, Nome – One of the most remote national park areas in the U.S., this preserve is home to a portion of the bridge that once connected Asia with North America. Established in 1978, this preserve features hot springs and other geological features like caves, tors (volcanic rock formations), and more. A number of programs are available at the visitor center such as Sidewalk Talk, Tundra Tots, and more.
- Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve, Bettles – Visitors to this northernmost national park in the U.S. must either fly or hike into the park that contains no roads or trails. The park covers more than eight million acres and comes in as the second largest in the country, however, due to its remote location, it is one of the least visited. Several visitor centers feature exhibits, movies and trip planning assistance.
AK Field Trips Unit Study Suppl.
Is there anything more fun than learning through field trips? To make your experiences at these destinations even more meaningful, Time4Learning members will appreciate this download of free activity tie-ins.