Kenai Fjords & the Sealife
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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
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, 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
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
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
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.
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