September 06, 2012

Labor Day recap

Three day weekends are my favorite. Yes, it is only one more day to the weekend, but it seems like that one day allows for so much more time to play outside and get things done around the house.

Matt had to work through Sunday, so the outdoor activities didn't start until Monday, which was fine with me. Neither of us had ever been to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, and since a strong chance of rain lingered in the forecast, we decided touring the Conservation Center and then going for a hike would be a perfect way to spend Labor Day.

According to the AWCC website...

"The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving Alaska’s wildlife through conservation, public education, and quality animal care. AWCC takes in injured and orphaned animals year-round and provides spacious enclosures and quality animal care. Animals that cannot be released into the wild are given a permanent home at the center."

The musk ox were far away but relatively active...

In my personal opinion, the AWCC was incredible. For anyone traveling to Alaska, $10 is definitely worth the educational narration and live view of Alaska's wildlife. Feedings happen periodically throughout the day and visitors are welcome to watch. Grizzlies, black bears, musk ox, elk, caribou, moose and other animals are all a part of the Conservation Center, which is vehicle accessible and walker friendly.

These moose were found after being abandon by their mother just days after being born.

The brown bear was my favorite. 

She was so fun to watch...moving from the stump to the rock...standing up and sitting down. I swear she was showing off for the crowd.

Couldn't agree more...


A bald eagle was rescued after a wing had been shot off...

These lynx were rescued as kittens by a firefighter after their mother was killed in the fire.

In addition, AWCC hosts the Wood Bison Reintroduction Program. With the only wood bison herd in North America, which was brought to the center from the Yukon Territory in November of 2003, AWCC has brought the wood bison population back to Alaska after more than 100 years of extinction.

(photo courtesy of AWCC)

Interestingly, AWCC has played an integral part in film productions, specifically when animals are needed for certain footage. National Geographic has visited the center multiple times. Sean Penn worked with AWCC when producing "Into the Wild," which required the transportation of a bull moose, caribou and calf, porcupine, bald eagle, pheasants, and red squirrels to film on location off of the Denali Highway near Cantwell. All animals were provided by AWCC who trailered the animals, set up temporary fencing and handled the animals appropriately under the observation and inspection of the Humane Society. One scene involved the actor shooting the moose with a rifle, partially butchering the animal, then coming back later only to find the carcass had gone rancid and scavengers had taken over.  

Matt and I really enjoyed the center and will probably venture back periodically for special events.

After visiting and lingering around AWCC, we drove down Portage Road for breathtaking views and decided to stop for a quick and very easy hike along the Trail of Blue Ice, which was more for the benefit of Rio, who desperately needed a bathroom break after having to stay in the car while we visited the AWCC.

A fun and fulfilling day (paw prints on the car seat = evidence)...

...Labor Day officially marks the beginning of fall in Alaska. Snow has fallen on the mountain tops, which means winter is just around the corner...