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Seward - Alaska

Kenai Fjords & the Sealife Center

Alaska Hotels | Camping

A port town in the Kenai Mountains, Seward is situated on a beautiful bay and is the only large town on the east side of the peninsula. The town is served by ferries from Seward, and the Alaska Railroad terminates here.

Nearby is Kenai Fjords National Park. This is rugged country which includes the Harding Ice Field (36 glaciers) and is as scenic as the better-known Glacier Bay. Baranof's Russian shipyard was established here in the 1790s. The small downtown area looks out on Resurrection Bay, with views of Mount Alice and Mount Marathon. Beside the bay is the new Alaska SeaLife Center, Alaska's splendid aquarium.

The town's tourist information center is in the Seward Rail Car, at 3rd & Jefferson Streets, (907) 224-3094. Pick up a map of the self-guided walking tour.

The Chugach National Forest Ranger Station, at 334 4th Avenue, has hiking trail information and maps of the National Forest.

Kenai Fjords National Park

The National Park Service Visitor Center, (907) 224-2874, is at the Small Boat Harbor on 4th Avenue in Seward. This is the place to get maps and other information on this impressive wilderness park. The Harding Icefield -- within the park -- can be reached by trail or air. Air and boat charters provide access to the fjords.

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Exit Glacier

Exit Glacier, near Seward, is one of the most accessible glaciers in Alaska. The Nature Center can be reached by car on a paved road and a short trail. Exit Glacier is the only portion of the national park accessible by road. Here's how to get there from town: Turn on to Herman Leirer Road at mile 3 of the Seward Highway, and drive nine miles to the Exit Glacier Nature Center. A half-mile walk will take you to the toe of the glacier. While the first quarter-mile of the trail is completely accessible,it gets steeper, leading across moraines and bedrock. You have the choice of returning to the Nature Center via a nature trail. For more information, go here.

SeaLife Center

Costing $ 56 million to plan and build, this spectacular science center devoted to Alaska's marine life opened in May, 1998. Much of the money ($37.5 million) came from Exxon, the gasoline company, through money from court settlements from the Exxon Valdez oil spill case. The new attraction quickly became a major magnet for visitors to the Kenai Peninsula, Prince William Sound and the Anchorage area.

The main focus of the SeaLife Center is on outdoor pools for seabirds, harbor seals, and endangered Steller's sea lions. By taking elevators or stairs, visitors descend to underwater viewing areas where the creatures can be seen in their (almost) natural environment.

The center is open daily. Hours vary by season. Admission is $14 for adults and $11 for children 7-12 years. Kinds under seven years old: free.

SeaLife Center Hours of Operation:
May through Labor Day -- 8:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.
The day after Labor Day through September 30 -- 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
October through March -- 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
April 1 through April 30 -- 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

For information, call 888-378-2525 or go here.

Where to Stay

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Camping

Kenai Fjords RV Park, P.O. Box 2772, Seward AK 99664, (907) 224-8779

Located at 4th Avenue and D Street, this RV park offers electrical hookups, and is otherwise a basic RV and camping facility.

Kenai Fjords Wilderness Lodge, P.O. Box 695, Seward AK 99664, (907) 224-5271
This island lodge is in a remote wilderness region, overlooking Kenai Fjords National Park. The lodge management specializes in offering wildlife tours, including guided tours into the fjords, where you'll see whales, sea otters, puffins by the hundreds, and many other sea and shorebirds. Canoeing, sea kayaking and photography attract visitors to this beautiful area. ($$$)

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