15 Festive Ways To Embrace The Fall Season With Arms Wide Open

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Photo Credit: Wild Alaska Art – Dan Twitchell

Fall is one of the most magical times of the year on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground. The morning air is crisp and fresh, the fall foliage surrounds you down every road you drive, the sunsets are electric, the alpenglow’s are magnificent, the pumpkin flavored treats are utterly delicious and the cozy moments spend indoors are filled with nostalgic moments.

Photo Credit: David L. Brown

Photo Credit: David L. Brown

1 – Get outside and spend the day hiking and soaking in the fall foliage.

Photo Credit: Sujohn Das, Flickr

Photo Credit: Sujohn Das, Flickr

2 – Enjoy the final days of RV season and enjoy an overnighter. A mini road trip from Seward to Homer (while stopping in every town along the way) is the best way to drink life in.

Photo Credit: State of Alaska - Michael DeYoung

Photo Credit: State of Alaska – Michael DeYoung

3 – Wet some lines and enjoy the spectacular scenery, without the ‘combat fishing’ mayhem.

Photo Credit: Drifter's Lodge

Photo Credit: Drifter’s Lodge

4 – Take a day trip along the Seward or Sterling Highway and stop at all the pull outs to take in the epic views.

Photo Credit: Photographer Unknown

Photo Credit: Photographer Unknown

5 – Treat your fur babies to as many outings as possible before the snow flies and their paws can’t handle the trek without booties.

Photo Credit: Dana Orlosky - Flickr

Photo Credit: Dana Orlosky – Flickr

6 – Hop on the Alaska Railroad for a day of rest and relaxation, and enjoy off-the-grid views along the way.

Photo Credit: Tonia Burrough

Photo Credit: Tonia Burrough

7 – Rent a public use cabin on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground and unplug for the night. If you prefer to have some more frills and creature comforts, take advantage of the awesome shoulder season prices that are available now at hospitality spots all over the Kenai Peninsula.

Photo Credit: Recreation.gov

Photo Credit: Recreation.gov

8 – Enjoy wildlife viewing and watch as the bears fatten up before heading into hibernation.

Photo Credit: Heidi Ho Hanson

Photo Credit: Heidi Ho Hanson

9 – Go biking in the backcountry and cover as much (stunningly beautiful) ground as possible.

10 – Chase as many sunsets as humanly possible. Even if you loose a little sleep, you will NEVER regret it.

Photo Credit: Anik Martin

Photo Credit: Anik Martin

11 – As the temperature continues to drop, use every excuse possible to make a fire and have a cozy night in. Don’t forget the snacks, movies and soft blankets!

Photo Credit: Scott Schiller - Flickr

Photo Credit: Scott Schiller – Flickr

12 – It’s the season for ‘all things’ pumpkin spice, so indulge a little wontcha! 😉

Photo Credit: The Moose Is Loose - Facebook

Photo Credit: The Moose Is Loose – Facebook

13 – If the forecast calls for a Northern Lights show, stay up late and soak it in. Being tired the next day will be worth it after you lay eyes on the Aurora Borealis in action.

Photo Credit: Vaughn Johnson Photography

Photo Credit: Vaughn Johnson Photography

14 – If it’s chilly or gloomy, have fun by visiting places like the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage or the Alaska Sealife Center in Seward. Fun for the whole family!

Photo Credit: Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center - Facebook

Photo Credit: Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center – Facebook

15 – It’s okay to blend in with the crowd. Sometimes ‘status quo’ just feels way too good to ignore. The warm and fuzzies that remind you of childhood should be celebrated as often as possible. Soak in the magic of the season by doing all the traditional favorites that spark a major dose of nostalgia – and love every single minute of it!

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Need more ideas to keep you busy this fall on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground? Leave a comment below or feel free to shoot us a personal Facebook message.

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It’s Impossible Not To Fall In Love With The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center

Leave Alaska’s largest city of Anchorage and head down to The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground to enjoy the most fun and exciting place in all of the last frontier. On your way down after you pass Girdwood and right before the Whittier turnoff is this magical place known as the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. AWCC is ‘dedicated to preserving Alaska’s wildlife through conservation, education and quality animal care.’ Many animals here are rehabilitated before being re-introduced to the wild, while others look so happy that they will probably never want to leave.

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The first thing we noticed was all of the little attention-to-detail features. The wildlife theme was carried about from start to finish (and every single place in between). We were also pleasantly surprised by how kind and educated the entire staff was (literally, everyone). Everyone was so nice and helpful and most importantly – enthused! To hear their experiences first hand and feel their love and dedication for the animals was so spectacular. This is truly one of the most incredible places in the entire 49th state.

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Next we pulled up to the toll both area where we pay to enter. I believe it was $12.50 per person (adult) of which the money goes back to help feed and take care of the animals at the conservation center. Pretty good deal if you as us! We couldn’t help but love the wooden bear carvings as the sign that showed us all of the animals we were about to see, yippie!

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As we pulled around to find a parking spot (which was hard – the place was totally packed), we noticed the bears over to the right. So of course, that was our first stop. BEARS! Eeeeek!

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The observation bridge through the bear habitat was packed with people that were just like us – totally fascinated by the enormous mammals.

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At one point in time all three bears gathered perfectly into the photo frame while the nibbled on grass and explored their backyard for all of us to swoon over.

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The littlest of the three brown bears was actually the oldest (as told by one of the staff). We had to snap a photo because she was looking mighty good for her age!

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On the other side were a couple of black bears. They were pretty much basking in the sun and completely ignoring all of the tourists that were gushing over how cute they are.

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At one point in time this cutie woke up for a picture. As you can see, he is totally out of it. Shortly thereafter he went right back to sleep and continued ignoring us.

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Next we headed over to check out the Musk Ox in the distance.

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There was a great deal of education information about these ice age creatures and we were sure to get in plenty of reading while viewing them in the distance.

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These stoic animals have such a strong and impressive disposition. Just look at that view… Alaska at it’s finest!

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As you will soon find out from the countless photos below, we were kind of obsessed with the Sitka Black-tailed Deer.

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The deer and elk were both so fun to observe. Some moved slowly while dining on grass while other just basked in the warm sun.

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And of course in true AWCC fashion, the informative signs provided us with a great deal of information including diet, size, weigh, habitat and reproduction.

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In this photo you can (sort of) see a tiny little baby nestling next to the center tree. The babies were so adorable it made it very tough to leave. You could truly just sit and stare at them all day long.

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We also really enjoyed seeing how these beautiful animals all gathered together like one big happy family. With the tall snow-capped mountains in the background, it made for the perfect photo-op.

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We stopped for a good amount of time to take in the wood bison roaming about in the incredibly large (contained) field area.

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These two (below) foraged on some grass and contemplated making a move to the other side to join the rest of the group.

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The big guy was the first to cross to the other side, but first had to stop for a drink along the way.

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Next we made a quick stop to admire the flower garden that doubled as a fork in the road.

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We headed over to check out the moose and the small barn-like building with critters inside.

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There is great information about moose, the climates they live in and how there antlers grow and shed.

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The moose were just chillen out inside enjoying the cool shade in the building. Those antlers are beautiful (and they look so soft)!

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On the other side was a couple smaller critters hanging out and enjoying a neat little space.

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We snapped a fun photo of this small red fox posing for the camera and taking in the beautiful mountain view.

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As we continued our tour inside the open barn area we came across this cool musk ox skull. Pretty fascinating history behind it as you can read below.

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Displayed on the wall inside is this massive wood bison hid with information about it. It was actually quite soft to the touch and we would imagine it would keep you very, very warm on a chilly Alaska night.

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On the way out we hopped back in the truck and took a journey by the caribou viewing area.

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Otherwise known as “reindeer” – these animals are incredible to observe. And check out those beautiful velvety racks, simply stunning!

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And in perfectly fitting Alaska fashion – an Alaska flag on the way out. Next to a reindeer cutout, of course!

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But wait, there is more! On the other side – an American flag. The best of both worlds collide at the entrance/exit of the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. We love the little details and as we said before, this place doesn’t leave a single stone unturned.

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Be sure to put this magical place on your bucket list before summer is over and winter rolls around. It truly is a place that guarantees endless smiles as you fall in love with the incredible amounts of wildlife that roam the last frontier.

All photos above are taken by Courtney Stanley and copyright of Loomis Sage Marketing with sole usage rights granted to KPTMC. If you’re interested in using any, please inquire with us directly.

Celebrate Love on Alaska’s Playground

The three day weekend is right around the corner, and in addition to President’s Day on Monday… don’t forget that it’s Valentines Day on Sunday, February 14, 2016! Which means you have the perfect excuse to spend the whole day celebrating life, love and happiness with your special sweetheart or with those friends and family members that are near and dear to your heart.

Photo shared from encircleworldphotos.photoshelter.com.

Photo shared from encircleworldphotos.photoshelter.com.

Maybe you aren’t someone who necessarily cares for the Valentines Day holiday? We get it. The infamous flowers, chocolates and life-sized stuffed animal “hoopla” that surrounds us all for weeks leading up to the holiday can be a bit too much to handle.

Photo from theplanetd.com.

Photo from theplanetd.com.

Fear not… you’re in luck! We have some great alternative options for those of you wanting to celebrate LOVE this Sunday while still enjoying The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground and supporting local businesses.

First things first; seize every moment of this long weekend. You know you’ll regret it if you don’t. So get up early and chase a sunrise. Your eyes will thank you, we promise.

Sunrise over Beluga Lake, in Homer, Alaska. Photo from Laura Maciariello.‎

Sunrise over Beluga Lake, in Homer, Alaska. Photo from Laura Maciariello.

If you’re like us, and you want to start the weekend off on Friday or Saturday with a yummy breakfast treat, it is always a satisfying experience when stopping into Veronicas Coffee House in Kenai, Alaska. Serving delicious baked goods, fresh coffee and an assortment of menu options, Veronicas Coffee House offers the perfect Alaskan charm and warm hospitality to get your love-filled weekend started off right. Its also a great place to bring the whole family or to meet up with old friends.

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If you want to get out of town and into the backcountry, snowshoeing is always a great way to spend quality time with the one or one(s) you love. And on Alaska’s Playground, we truly do have an unlimited amount of backcountry to explore.

Cross country skiing is another great way to get a great workout together while also enjoying the fresh air and natural beauty that Alaska’s Playground has to offer.

Photo from edbookphoto.photoshelter.com.

Photo from edbookphoto.photoshelter.com.

Horseback riding is always a fun activity to get you out of town and exploring nature with your sweetheart, the kiddos or a group of your closest friends. Alaskan Horseman Trail Adventures and Guest Ranch in Cooper Landing, Alaska is a great option for anyone wanting a true taste of fresh winter air and views that are bound to take your breath away.

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If you have a need for speed and enjoy a good adrenaline rush, maybe snow-machining is the perfect activity for you and your special somebody to celebrate Valentines Day this Sunday. On The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground, you are always guaranteed incredible vistas no matter which direction you head.

Photo from flipboard.com.

Photo from flipboard.com.

And if snow-machining is what you choose and you happen to head south, our friends at Freddie’s Roadhouse located in the Caribou Hills in Ninilchik, Alaska offer excellent backcountry accommodations for all outdoorsy enthusiasts. If rustic lodging and a true Alaskan experience is what you are after this weekend, this is a great option for you!

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Another way to enjoy an adrenaline-packed weekend together is by heading to Girdwood, Alaska to visit the infamous Alyeska Resort. Great for snowboarding, downhill skiing, dining, live music and loads of fun for all ages. Oh, and the sunsets and sunrises seem to be notoriously amazing at Alyeska Resort as well. You really can’t go wrong when heading to this magical place for a weekend.

Photo from last Valentines Day 2015 at Alyeska Resort.

Photo from last Valentines Day 2015 at Alyeska Resort.

Chasing a sunset via ATV ride is a great way to spend quality time together this Valentines Day. The photo below was taken in Homer, Alaska off East End Road. God’s country at it’s finest!

Photo from Loomis Sage Marketing.

Photo from Loomis Sage Marketing.

If you are in the market for a romantic getaway this weekend, head to the lovely town of Seward, Alaska and check out the spectacular A Cabin on the Cliff. This is a rustic trappers cabin that has been refurbished to offer romantic elegance. Here you can enjoy spectacular views of Ressurection Bay and the Chugach Mountains from a private hot tub located on a large, spacious deck.

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Another place to enjoy a quite, secluded romantic getaway is the beautiful Escape for Two B&B Cabin Rentals in Soldotna, Alaska. Have a fire, relax in the hot tub or just get cozy indoors and enjoy a glass of wine. You will feel utterly relaxed from the moment you check in.

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Enjoying a glass of wine together and some local Alaskan chocolates is a cliché Valentines Day option, but hey… you have to admit that it sounds like a pretty incredible idea. And when you visit Bear Creek Winery & Lodging in Homer, Alaska- you will feel anything but cliché. This place is miraculous! Bear Creek is a country winery. They make fruit wines and fruit grape wine blends. They grow, pick, and process some of the best berries in the world and it shows in their hand crafted, award winning wines. Guests are invited to visit the wine tasting room, tour the facility, walk the gardens and take in the breathtaking views of Kachemak Bay. The winery also offers high-end lodging for those visitors looking for a relaxing and romantic getaway.

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If fine dining is what you are after, Hotel Seward in Seward, Alaska is proven to be an excellent option. Offering steak, fresh Alaskan seafood and a plethora of other options. Check the Hotel Seward menu out HERE and prepare to have your mouth start watering.

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Mykel’s Restaurant in Soldotna, Alaska is another great option if you are after a delicious meal this Valentines Day weekend. We’ve heard through the grapevine that they’ve whipped up a special heart-melting menu for this weekend, so don’t miss out. Check their menu out HERE and be sure to call and make your reservations now. Remember, the way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach.

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And if you’re spending time with the kiddos this Valentines Day weekend, we have a couple great ideas that sure to bring a plethora of smiles. The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center near the town of Girdwood, Alaska is dedicated to conservation, education, and quality animal care of Alaska’s wildlife. Open currently on weekends only, come view Alaskan wildlife in large natural enclosures, which allow the wildlife the ability to display their natural behaviors.

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The Alaska Sealife Center in Seward, Alaska is always fun for kids and adults of all ages. Spend the day viewing beautiful marine life with the indoor comfort of being nice and cozy.

Photo shared from mishlerphotos.photoshelter.com.

Photo shared from mishlerphotos.photoshelter.com.

Or if you want to bundle the kiddos up and take them outside for a fun, winter-wonderland adventure, sledding is always a great idea that will bring adorable pink cheeks and smiles from ear to ear. You can even bring your beloved four-legged family members to join in on a day of fun in the great outdoors.

Photo shared from www.shutterstock.com.

Photo shared from http://www.shutterstock.com.

Need more ideas for how to make your Valentines Day weekend memorable? Submit a response or question below. Remember that you can always call us at (907) 262-5229 or visit us online at http://www.kenaipeninsula.org. Wishing you all a wonderful, love-filled weekend on The Kenai, Alaska’s Playground!

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Five Amazing Sight Seeing Stops on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula

1-2: Anchorage – Seward

From Anchorage drive South on a scenic drive on the ‘All American Road’- National Scenic Byway, the Seward Hwy. to the coastal community of Seward. On your drive visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. While driving around Turnagain arm look for a bore tide and beluga whales on your right and look up to the cliffs on your left for mountain goats and Dall sheep. Cruise Kenai Fjords National Park for amazing views of marine wildlife and calving glaciers. Visit Alaska’s Sea Life Center; mush with an Iditarod Champion mushing team or on top of a glacier. Walk to Exit Glacier and hike beyond to the Harding Ice Field, tour galleries, museum and memorials. On your drive out, stop by and visit quaint towns of Moose Pass and Hope where you can tour a fish hatchery, see Ed’s historic waterwheel or flight see; and conquer class IV and V whitewater rafting.

Day 3: Cooper Landing – Sterling

Deep within the Chugach National Forest surrounded by pristine mountains is Cooper Landing. Witness hundreds of airborne salmon leaping their way up the Russian River falls to their spawning grounds. Explore K’Beq Native Heritage Site; raft the canyons on the upper Kenai River. Try combat fishing at the Russian River. Enjoy horseback riding, kayaking, and mountain bike or hike their extensive trail system. Visit the historic roadhouse and museum. Moose are often spotted on the drive towards Sterling. Canoe fans worldwide travel to the Swanson River system to portage and paddle the 150 miles of canoe trails beginning in Sterling.

Day 4 – 5: Soldotna – Kenai

Soldotna borders the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge which offers an Interpretive Center. Charter a fishing trip, stroll the river walks or stay in one of the wonderful city parks with access to the famous Kenai River (home of the 97 lb world record King Salmon) and fish to your hearts content. Ride the original working Alaskan custom carved carousel, sing along with Alaska Officer State balladeer, Hobo Jim. Charter a scenic fly-out for bear viewing. The City of Kenai boasts of wonderful views of the mouth of the Kenai River, Cook Inlet, miles of sandy beaches and four active volcanoes. Here you can watch for beluga whales and seals. On the Kenai River flats observe the local caribou herd and a variety of birds. Take a self guided walking tour of the Russian Orthodox Church and Fort Kenai, located within Old Town. Enjoy the Art Exhibit at the Cultural Center. Continue north past Nikiski to Captain Cook State Park.

Day 6-7: Homer and Return to Anchorage

Driving south you will find the communities of Kasilof, Clam Gulch, Ninilchik and Anchor Point. They are famous for history, beachcombing, clamming, a historic Russian Orthodox Church, and the most western hwy. point in North America. All offer opportunities for camping, fishing and wildlife viewing. Homer offers panoramic views of Kachemak Bay State Park, the Kenai Mountains, glaciers and the famous Homer Spit, a long narrow finger of land jutting 4.5 miles into Kachemak Bay. Charter a flight-seeing trip to view the Katmai bears. Take a marine wildlife cruise to Gull Island and across the bay. Visit the Pratt Museum, Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center and historic Salty Dog Saloon. Fish the Halibut capital of the world, horseback ride, mountain bike, take a historic harbor walking tour and shop the eclectic art galleries. You can return to Anchorage by plane, shuttle or car.

1-2 Day Add-Ons: Beyond the Road & Across the Bay

A haven for travelers to connect with nature. Accessible by water taxi, tour boats and air taxis. Remote and charming towns tucked in the Kachemak Bay State Park offer berry picking, hiking, fishing and mountain biking opportunities. Explore tide pools filled with sea life by kayak or foot. Visit the Village Tribe Visitor Center & Museum. Farm and dine on glacier fed oysters.