We invite you to join us as we explore the great beauty of Alaska in winter, and see the famed Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights, the greatest light show on Earth!
We will gather in Anchorage, Alaska, to begin our adventure, situated at the head of the Cook Strait and at the foot of the Chugach Mountains, whose spectacular peaks define the coast of Alaska. After our welcome in Anchorage, we will drive through spectacular mountains to Seward, near Kenai Fjords National Park. Here we’ll visit the Alaska Sea Life Center to see sea otters, seabirds, and a profusion of Alaska marine life. We will look at Alaska’s major land mammals including grizzlies, moose, and muskox.
The following day we will travel on the classic train journey from Anchorage to Fairbanks, passing North America’s tallest and most awesome mountain, 20,320-foot Mt. McKinley en route.
We will arrive in Fairbanks to enjoy the annual winter World of Ice Art Festival and learn about the Aurora Borealis at a scientific institute as we discover the delights of Fairbanks and the night skies.
Our visits will include the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, which was established to study the Aurora and its effects. These studies have continued from the International Geophysical Year in 1957-58 to the present time and are conducted in both polar areas. They have added greatly to understanding the unique interactions between the Sun and Earth in the polar regions.
In Fairbanks we will go to three of the best locations in the evening to look at the Aurora Borealis: Mt. Aurora, Creamer’s Field, and the Auroraviewing facility at Alpencrest Observatory. In these remote locations, we will continue to learn about the Aurora and enjoy hospitality in rustic lodges while viewing the Aurora.
You will have afternoons to discover other delights of this snowy wonderland. We will see sled dogs and learn about the art of mushing, and the local Curling Club will demonstrate this popular winter sport. We will also visit the Poker Flat Research Range which launches rockets to study the Aurora Borealis.
Leading this expedition will be popular Betchart naturalist Justin Gibson. Joining him will be a representative of The Planetary Society.
We invite travelers with an appetite for adventure and discovery to explore the day and night winter wonderland of our 49th state this winter!