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FAIRBANKS, ALASKA

Celebrate Spring Alaskan Style: Old and New Traditions Under the Northern Lights

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Road Scholar
Program #17333RJ
8 Days | 7 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Easy
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Equipment Requirements
Warm boots with good tread. There will be snow and ice on the ground at this time of year. Downtown sidewalks can be slippery.

Itinerary for Feb 20 — Feb 27, 2013

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Type: Hotel

Description: In Fairbanks we are staying in one of the newest and fanciest hotels in town. The hotel is located in the heart of downtown Fairbanks overlooking the banks of the Chena River. Shops, museums, restaurants, small museums and historical sites are all within easy walking distance. And bonus-the Open North American Championship Sled Dog Races start right outside the back door of the hotel, on Second Avenue in Fairbanks.

Contact info:
575 First Avenue
Fairbanks, AK 99701 USA
phone: 907-451-6552
Room amenities: All rooms are suites. Queen beds or better. Sofa, armchair, desk, mini-fridge, coffee maker, hair dryer, ironing board, television with cable, desk, and free high-speed internet access in each room.

Facility amenities: 24 hour coffee/hot water available. Small pool and whirlpool hot tub. Workout room. Snack machines. Restaurant on premises, but only open after 5 p.m.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Approximately $90
You must call the hotel yourself for early arrivals or stayovers. There is a special phone number that will be in the letter you receive after you register. You must use this number to get our special rate. The 800 number does not work for this.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day One: Wednesday, February 20 - Program starts with first dinner
Arrive To: Check into hotel after 3 p.m. Earlier check in may be possible at this time of year. Call hotel the first day of the program to find out if rooms are available for early check in. Meet in the hotel lobby at 6:00pm for dinner, followed by orientation.

Evening: Welcome to the program by Road Scholar staff. IMPORTANT NOTE: WE HOPE YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO SEE THE AURORA BOREALIS IN PERSON. WE WILL HAVE SIGN UP SHEETS FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT TO BE CALLED TO GO OUT TO SEE IT NO MATTER WHAT TIME OF NIGHT IT MIGHT APPEAR. BUT THE AURORA IS A NATURAL PHENOMENON AND SIGHTINGS CANNOT BE GUARANTEED. FIRST, THE AURORA HAS TO BE HAPPENING THAT NIGHT. SECOND, THE SKY HAS TO BE CLEAR ENOUGH, WITH NO HEAVY CLOUD LAYER, TO BE ABLE TO SEE THE LIGHTS OF THE AURORA. GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGES ARE GIVING THE ALASKAN INTERIOR CLOUDIER WINTER DAYS AND NIGHTS THAN WE ARE USED TO.

Lodging: Springhill Suites

Type: Hotel

Description: In Fairbanks we are staying in one of the newest and fanciest hotels in town. The hotel is located in the heart of downtown Fairbanks overlooking the banks of the Chena River. Shops, museums, restaurants, small museums and historical sites are all within easy walking distance. And bonus-the Open North American Championship Sled Dog Races start right outside the back door of the hotel, on Second Avenue in Fairbanks.

Contact info:
575 First Avenue
Fairbanks, AK 99701 USA
phone: 907-451-6552
Room amenities: All rooms are suites. Queen beds or better. Sofa, armchair, desk, mini-fridge, coffee maker, hair dryer, ironing board, television with cable, desk, and free high-speed internet access in each room.

Facility amenities: 24 hour coffee/hot water available. Small pool and whirlpool hot tub. Workout room. Snack machines. Restaurant on premises, but only open after 5 p.m.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Approximately $90
You must call the hotel yourself for early arrivals or stayovers. There is a special phone number that will be in the letter you receive after you register. You must use this number to get our special rate. The 800 number does not work for this.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Two: Thursday, February 21 - The Northern Lights and the people who live under...
The Northern Lights and the people who live under them. Visit with locals at the Morris Thompson Cultural Center. Opening night of the Festival of Native Arts.

Breakfast: Breakfast in hotel breakfast area.

Morning: NOTE: This itinerary has been crafted a year ahead of time, using the best information currently available. Everything on this schedule will be covered but the sequences may change by next spring. Also, as we get closer to the starting date, events in Fairbanks may be announced which we may want to participate in and these will be added to our program if possible. We begin with a field trip to the University of Alaska Fairbanks International Arctic Research Center. Class on the beautiful and awe-inspiring Aurora Borealis, the fabled Northern Lights. Learn about their science, history and their hold on the imagination of people since ancient times. Broad overview of the six major groups of Native Alaskans, their history and culture. Emphasis on the cyclical nature of their subsistence life style. Discussion of what the coming of spring means to cultures that live off the land.

Lunch:

Afternoon: Road Scholar is hosted in Fairbanks by the local Athabascan people, the indigenous tribe of the vast Interior of Alaska and Canada. Denakkanaaga's office is in the Morris Thompson Cultural Center, a small museum and cultural presentation center that focuses on Athabascan life in the past and in the present. Come have a cup of tea and visit with Denakkanaaga staff.

Dinner: We will have our dinners in local restaurants. We will have American food but to give you a taste of the various ethnic groups that live in Fairbanks, we may also have Thai food, Mexican food, Italian food or southern barbecue.

Evening: The annual Festival of Native Arts brings together Indigenous people from all over Alaska, the lower 48 and from other countries worldwide. There will be dancing and singing and artists showing their work. The Native people of Alaska always celebrated the changes in seasons and the gifts that each season brings to the people. They have brought their celebrations with them as they walk within two worlds-their ancient culture now set against the background of modern day America. Many things have changed, but their dances remain essentially the same-a celebration of life in all its variations. For further information on the festival, look here: www.alaska.edu/uaf/festival/index.xml The festival is held on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. The dancing is done mostly on stage in the concert hall. There is also a craft show in the student union building next door, featuring Native art and practical craft items for daily living. Most years there is some traditional food also available for sale.

Lodging: Springhill Suites

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: In Fairbanks we are staying in one of the newest and fanciest hotels in town. The hotel is located in the heart of downtown Fairbanks overlooking the banks of the Chena River. Shops, museums, restaurants, small museums and historical sites are all within easy walking distance. And bonus-the Open North American Championship Sled Dog Races start right outside the back door of the hotel, on Second Avenue in Fairbanks.

Contact info:
575 First Avenue
Fairbanks, AK 99701 USA
phone: 907-451-6552
Room amenities: All rooms are suites. Queen beds or better. Sofa, armchair, desk, mini-fridge, coffee maker, hair dryer, ironing board, television with cable, desk, and free high-speed internet access in each room.

Facility amenities: 24 hour coffee/hot water available. Small pool and whirlpool hot tub. Workout room. Snack machines. Restaurant on premises, but only open after 5 p.m.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Approximately $90
You must call the hotel yourself for early arrivals or stayovers. There is a special phone number that will be in the letter you receive after you register. You must use this number to get our special rate. The 800 number does not work for this.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Three: Friday, February 22 - Learn about the history of Fairbanks and see and ...
Learn about the history of Fairbanks and see and learn about one of the icons of Alaska--the musk ox

Breakfast:

Morning: Class on the history of the city of Fairbanks including the early 19th century gold rush into the Interior of the state. Who came up, why and how they came up, and how they adapted (or didn't) to their new environment.

Lunch:

Afternoon: Field trip to the University of Alaska Fairbanks Large Animal Research Station. (Familiarly known as "The Musk Ox Farm"). The station has been conducting research for decades on the large ungulates of the Arctic and sub-arctic. We will see musk oxen, caribou and reindeer and learn about their biology and their very separate and distinct adaptations to life in the far north. Musk ox are truly icons of Alaska. In the same way that seeing giraffes and zebras tells you that you are in Africa, seeing musk ox means you are in the far, far north.

Dinner:

Evening: Continue to welcome Spring with dance at the Festival of Native Arts

Lodging: Springhill Suites

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: In Fairbanks we are staying in one of the newest and fanciest hotels in town. The hotel is located in the heart of downtown Fairbanks overlooking the banks of the Chena River. Shops, museums, restaurants, small museums and historical sites are all within easy walking distance. And bonus-the Open North American Championship Sled Dog Races start right outside the back door of the hotel, on Second Avenue in Fairbanks.

Contact info:
575 First Avenue
Fairbanks, AK 99701 USA
phone: 907-451-6552
Room amenities: All rooms are suites. Queen beds or better. Sofa, armchair, desk, mini-fridge, coffee maker, hair dryer, ironing board, television with cable, desk, and free high-speed internet access in each room.

Facility amenities: 24 hour coffee/hot water available. Small pool and whirlpool hot tub. Workout room. Snack machines. Restaurant on premises, but only open after 5 p.m.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Approximately $90
You must call the hotel yourself for early arrivals or stayovers. There is a special phone number that will be in the letter you receive after you register. You must use this number to get our special rate. The 800 number does not work for this.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Four: Saturday, February 23 - A discussion of life in Fairbanks. Field trip to ...
A discussion of life in Fairbanks. Field trip to the University of Alaska Museum of the North, an outstanding repository of artifacts and information on all things Alaskan

Breakfast:

Morning: A very informal presentation on life in Alaska presented by Road Scholar staff. We will discuss politics, economics, medical care, schools, plumbing, or lack of--which brings us to outhouses, keeping cars running at way below freezing temperatures and other varied topics discussing how we cope with a temperature range in the Interior from 99 above to 68 below. And how nice it is that we have survived another winter and spring is here again. Field trip to the Yukon Quest Race Headquarters. We will have a presentation on all aspects of sled dog racing, which is the official state sport of Alaska. See the dogs, the sleds, the musher's clothing and the equipment needed for specific races. Discussion on the various Alaskan races. These include the epic thousand mile International Yukon Quest Race between Fairbanks and Whitehorse, the capital city of the Yukon province of Canada, and the Iditarod Race, the thousand mile all Alaskan race between Wasilla and Nome.

Lunch: Lunch

Afternoon: The University of Alaska Museum of the North is an excellent museum and a premier research center on all aspects of Alaska. Exhibits on the various cultures that live in Alaska, natural history, human history, art, geology, geography, etc. Special emphasis on the Arctic and Sub-Arctic ecology and environment.

Dinner:

Evening: Closing night of the Festival of Native Arts

Lodging: Springhill Suites

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: In Fairbanks we are staying in one of the newest and fanciest hotels in town. The hotel is located in the heart of downtown Fairbanks overlooking the banks of the Chena River. Shops, museums, restaurants, small museums and historical sites are all within easy walking distance. And bonus-the Open North American Championship Sled Dog Races start right outside the back door of the hotel, on Second Avenue in Fairbanks.

Contact info:
575 First Avenue
Fairbanks, AK 99701 USA
phone: 907-451-6552
Room amenities: All rooms are suites. Queen beds or better. Sofa, armchair, desk, mini-fridge, coffee maker, hair dryer, ironing board, television with cable, desk, and free high-speed internet access in each room.

Facility amenities: 24 hour coffee/hot water available. Small pool and whirlpool hot tub. Workout room. Snack machines. Restaurant on premises, but only open after 5 p.m.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Approximately $90
You must call the hotel yourself for early arrivals or stayovers. There is a special phone number that will be in the letter you receive after you register. You must use this number to get our special rate. The 800 number does not work for this.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Five: Sunday, February 24 - Cheer on the mushers at the Junior North American...
Cheer on the mushers at the Junior North American Championship Sled Dog Race. Field trip to the Alaska pipeline

Breakfast:

Morning: Field trip to the Junior North American Championship Sled Dog Race at the Jeff Stoddard Race grounds. And we do mean "junior"--the competition is open for mushers from two to eighteen years old, racing in age separated categories. Join with the people of Fairbanks to cheer on the kids and the dogs.

Lunch:

Afternoon: Field trip to another Alaska icon--the Alaska Pipeline. Stand under the pipeline and hear a presentation about planning it, building it and maintaining it today.

Dinner:

Lodging: Springhill Suites

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: In Fairbanks we are staying in one of the newest and fanciest hotels in town. The hotel is located in the heart of downtown Fairbanks overlooking the banks of the Chena River. Shops, museums, restaurants, small museums and historical sites are all within easy walking distance. And bonus-the Open North American Championship Sled Dog Races start right outside the back door of the hotel, on Second Avenue in Fairbanks.

Contact info:
575 First Avenue
Fairbanks, AK 99701 USA
phone: 907-451-6552
Room amenities: All rooms are suites. Queen beds or better. Sofa, armchair, desk, mini-fridge, coffee maker, hair dryer, ironing board, television with cable, desk, and free high-speed internet access in each room.

Facility amenities: 24 hour coffee/hot water available. Small pool and whirlpool hot tub. Workout room. Snack machines. Restaurant on premises, but only open after 5 p.m.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Approximately $90
You must call the hotel yourself for early arrivals or stayovers. There is a special phone number that will be in the letter you receive after you register. You must use this number to get our special rate. The 800 number does not work for this.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Six: Monday, February 25 - Winter jobs: Trapping in Alaska. Presentation on ...
Winter jobs: Trapping in Alaska. Presentation on working on the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

Breakfast:

Morning: Trapping has been a part of subsistence living in Alaska since ancient times and many people still run trap lines today. Trapping continues to provides food for the table and fur to use for winter clothing. It is also a way to make money when many jobs are "closed" for the winter. Some people who trap but don't live off the land consider trapping primarily a sport, just like hunting and fishing. But for others it is an important part of their yearly economic cycle and a way to continue to participate in a cultural heritage, no matter where they came from or what their ethnic background is. Come learn about modern day trapping from trappers. There will be pelts exhibited at the lecture so people can feel the fur and learn about the different qualities in touch, warmth, size and value of various fur-bearing animals.

Lunch:

Afternoon: Presentation: "Daily Life of An Oil Spill Worker". A medic who worked on the Exxon Valdez oil spill will give a presentation on the spill, the people who tried to clean it up and the long term effects of "The summer everyone went to Valdez"

Dinner:

Evening: There are often plays, musical performances or special events in town. We almost always find something to do at night aside from watching for the aurora.

Lodging: Springhill Suites

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Seven: Tuesday, February 26 - Field trip to the World Ice Art Championship to w...
Field trip to the World Ice Art Championship to watch the artists begin their sculptures

Breakfast:

Morning: Field trip to the Ice Art Park for the beginning of the World Ice Art Championship competition. Watch the artists working on their sculptures, under a tight deadline to create these beautiful and ineffably ephemeral works of art. In the past, all kinds of animals, people, fairy tale scenes, castles, cabins, outhouses, phone booths, a children's playground with slides and rides, miniature houses with furniture and just about anything else you can imagine has been crafted out of ice and exhibited at this world famous event. Join with the people of Fairbanks and visitors from all over the world as we celebrate one last time the gifts that winter brings us before spring arrives and it all melts away.

Lunch: Return to downtown.

Afternoon: Free Afternoon. Lunch on your own-get money from the coordinator. A chance to explore on your own, revisit some of the places we've already been or just relax and enjoy your last day on the Last Frontier.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Day Eight: Wednesday, February 27 - Program ends after breakfast. Check out time is n...
Breakfast: The only thing scheduled our last day is breakfast. Breakfast runs from 6:00 am to 9:00 am weekdays, 7:00 am to 10:00 am Saturday and Sunday. The program ends after breakfast. Hotel check out time is noon.

Meals Included: Breakfast

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.
Currently selected:Prices Starting At:
Feb 20 — Feb 27, 2013 waitlist only  

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
6 nights of accommodations
18 meals: 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners
8 Expert-led lectures
11 Field trips
3 Hands-on experiences
2 Performances

Ratings

4.8
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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