Anchorage, Alaska is located in the southern midsection of the state. It has an area of 1,955 square miles, making it the largest city in Alaska. The population of Anchorage is 280,000, which accounts for forty percent of the population of the entire state. Anchorage has been nominated an All-American City four times in four decades by the National Civic League. An interesting bit of trivia about the city is that there are no sales taxes collected in Anchorage.
The city was established in 1915 as a construction port for the railroad. The original Anchorage was a ‘tent city’ with a population of 2,000 settlers. Six different mountain ranges are visible from the city and there are sixty glaciers located within a fifty mile radius. Today, visitors can board a number of different touring railroads based in Anchorage to explore Alaska via rail lines. Popular tours include trips through surrounding mountainsides and glacier areas.
Despite its location in the midst of sixty glaciers, Anchorage is still a very green city. The city plants four hundred sixty one flower beds at various points in town. The Legend of The Fireweed Flower is a popular one in Anchorage. The legend states that once this flower blooms between late summer and early fall, there are six weeks left until winter arrives. Anchorage has a City of Flowers Field Trip where visitors can see all of the flowers in bloom. Points of interest along this trail include the public library, which is surrounded by 2,900 plants, and the L Street Hillside Picture where flowers are planted in a different design each year. Additionally, the Alaska Botanical Garden contains over 900 species of perennials, 150 native plants, an herb garden, a wildflower walk, and rock garden.
There are some multi-purpose parks located in Anchorage whose activities change with the season. Popular in the warmer months are sports like bike riding, hiking, and roller blading. In the wintertime, these parks become havens for skiers and snowboarders. Two of these parks are Kincaid Park and Point Woronzof Park. Both are impressive in size. They have a combined area of nearly two thousand square acres. Located nearby is the twenty five acre Alaska Zoo. The zoo’s emphasis is predominately on species of birds and mammals that are native to Alaska, but it does offer exotic varieties as well. The zoo attracts 200,000 visitors each year.
The Imaginarium is a popular attraction for families with children. The Imaginarium is an educational science center that has several interactive exhibits geared toward children. It is the only museum of its kind in Alaska and attracts 50,000 visitors each year. The Alaska Native Heritage Center is Alaska’s premier interactive cultural destination. The center highlights eleven cultural groups that were Alaska’s original inhabitants. Located on site is a gift shop that specializes in traditional tribal merchandise such as masks and dolls along with common gift shop fare. Throughout the year, the center hosts a number of educational classes and seminars as well as community outreach programs.