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Wild About Alaska: Glaciers & Wildlife With Your Grandchild

Alongside your grandchild, explore Alaska by foot, train, raft, dog sled and boat to get up close to towering glaciers and awesome wildlife, and enjoy a sleepover at the SeaLife Center!
Program No. 24149RJ
7 days
Starts at

Wild About Alaska: Glaciers & Wildlife With Your Grandchild

Alongside your grandchild, explore Alaska by foot, train, raft, dog sled and boat to get up close to towering glaciers and awesome wildlife, and enjoy a sleepover at the SeaLife Center!
7 days
Starts at
Program No. 24149 RJ
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At a Glance

Picture it: Floating down a clear river past jaw-dropping glaciers. Snoozing next to playful seals during a sleepover at the SeaLife Center. Smiling from ear to ear while excited Huskies pull you and your grandchild through the wilderness. During one unforgettable week in the wilds of Alaska, make memories that’ll last a lifetime as you explore some of the country’s coolest landscapes – literally! Experience train rides to amazing glaciers, wildlife walks through the forest and a rafting adventure while searching for moose and bears along the way. Learn about the animals that call Alaska home, all delving deep into the wild with your grandchild.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Spend the night at the SeaLife Center where you’ll learn about marine animals during two hands-on activities, a scavenger hunt and trivia, and sleep next to the seals, sea lions or seabird habitats!
  • Sail past massive glaciers in Kenai Fjords National Park as the experts help you search for local wildlife like whales, otters, puffins, sea lions and more.
  • Learn about Alaska’s long history of dog sledding at the Seavey Iditarod Racing Team's facility where the three-time champions train, enjoy a ride through the wilderness and meet the puppies-in-training.

General Notes

For a comparable family adventure for all generations, check out "Wild About Alaska: Glaciers & Wildlife With Your Family" (#24150).
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Guide to Marine Mammals of Alaska
by Kate Wynne
This book covers all 29 marine mammal species of Alaska. Each whale, porpoise, dolphin, seal, sea lion, walrus, sea otter, and polar bear is described and illustrated. Color photos and surface profile drawings show all Alaska marine mammals and compare similar species, and color range maps show distribution.
Guide to the Birds of Alaska
by Robert H. Armstrong
Alaska's Wild Plants: a Guide to Alaska's Edible Harvest
by Jancie J. Schofield
An authoritative guide book to more than 70 of Alaska's most common wild edible plants. You will see, learn about, and want to avoid, some of the plants depicted and described in this Alaska Pocket Guide that is easy to fit into your suitcase for identification on our explorations.
The Dragline Kid: A Gold-Miner's Daughter from Hope, Alaska
by Lisa Augustine
This hilarious book provides a glimpse into mining life on the Kenai Peninsula starting in the late 1940s. Our local guides will be talking about mining and we will drive through some of the areas mentioned in the book. This books is out-of-print, but you can find it as a used book on Amazon.
Alaska Earthquake 64: Where Were You?
by Joy Griffin
In 1994, thirty years after the great Alaska earthquake, the Homer Library collected 50 first-person amusing AND terrifying reminiscences from residents who experienced the earthquake. This book is filled with photos. On this program we will see and learn about the devastation on the Kenai Peninsula and we will visit Homer.
Alaska's History: the People, Land and Events of the North Country
by Harry Ritter
This is a small, easily readable "digest" of Alaska's history. It is great for a quick overview and it is a good size for tucking into a suitcase or reading on a plane.
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7 days
6 nights
15 meals
5 B 5 L 5 D
Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Anchorage, AK
Hilton Garden Inn Anchorage

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 5:00 p.m. After you check in and have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: In our hotel meeting space, we’ll have a plated dinner including dessert, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation: 7:00 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This is a Road Scholar Grandparent program. Grandparents are responsible for their grandchildren. If/when separate age group activities are conducted concurrently, program staff will supervise. Minors are never to be left unsupervised. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

Campbell Creek Science Center, Native Heritage Center
Anchorage, AK
Hilton Garden Inn Anchorage

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Field trip at Science Center is approximately 3 hours, with time spent both outside walking on flat trails and inside a classroom. Activity level at the Heritage Center is according to personal choice. There is a half-mile loop trail on flat, paved paths to see the Native dwellings. There may be some long periods of standing at field trip sites.

Breakfast: In the hotel’s restaurant, we'll enjoy breakfast items such as eggs, the daily special, a waffle bar, fresh fruit, yogurt, oatmeal, pastries, plus juice, coffee, tea, and water.

Morning: Our day begins with an immersion in nature as we walk in the forest and along the creek at the Campbell Creek Science Center, which we'll reach via motorcoach. From an expert naturalist, we'll learn about the special animals and plants that live in Alaska and how to spot them during our program.

Lunch: We'll enjoy a boxed lunch at the Science Center.

Afternoon: We'll go a short distance via motorcoach to the Alaska Native Heritage Center, the largest cultural institution in Alaska, to learn about the unique indigenous cultures that have shaped Alaska's history. Journey through 10,000 years of Alaska Native history and culture through art, dance, Native Games demonstrations, and exhibits, and walk through traditional Native dwellings. You'll even have a chance to try some Native dancing and drumming!

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we'll order an entrée from a select menu; also included are salad, dessert, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

Glacier Float, Coastal Classic & Discovery Glacier Trains
Anchorage, AK
Hilton Garden Inn Anchorage

Activity note: Early hotel departure time of approximately 5:30 a.m. Morning train ride is 2 hours, 15 minutes. Afternoon train ride is 3 hours, 15 minutes. Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 50 miles, approximately 1.5 hours to Anchorage. Glacier float is 3.5 hours; no experience necessary. Rubber boots and flotation devices will be provided. Make sure to bring warm clothes, warm socks, and waterproof layers. Restrooms are not available once on the river – backcountry options only.

Breakfast: On your own on the Alaska Railroad to enjoy during our train journey to Spencer Glacier. Choose from a selection of plated options in the train dining car, and keep an eye out for wildlife as you dine!

Morning: We'll have an early start this morning to transfer to the railroad depot for our train journey to Spencer Glacier. All aboard the Alaska Railroad Coastal Classic train, where we'll travel through spectacular scenery. The Alaska Railroad is one of the best ways to travel throughout Southcentral Alaska, as it traverses almost 500 miles of remote and wild landscapes and boasts stunning scenery at every turn. Relax, enjoy the views, and don't forget to keep an eye out for moose, bald eagles, and even mountain goats! After arriving at Spencer Glacier, we'll meet our local experts for a briefing before our 7-mile float down the Placer River. No experience necessary – choose to help paddle or simply relax and enjoy the stunning scenery.

Lunch: Following the float, we'll have a boxed lunch with a sandwich, fruit, dessert, and bottled water.

Afternoon: Our return to Anchorage gives us a chance to experience the Glacier Discovery train. This journey takes us through Grandview through the Upper Placer River Gorge Canyon for more spectacular scenery and chances to see wildlife. Disembarking in Portage, we'll take a motorcoach for the remaining distance to Anchorage.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check-out early tomorrow morning and our journey to Seward.

To Seward on the AK Railroad, Exit Glacier Hike, Free Time
Seward, AK
Gateway Hotel

Activity note: Early hotel departure time of approximately 5:30 a.m. Train ride to Seward is about 107 miles, approximately 4 hours. At Exit Glacier, length of hike is dependent on the trail you choose. There are two trail choices: one paved trail approximately 1 mile round trip with minimal elevation gain; the other trail is 2 miles round trip with some rocky, rooty sections, and several hundred feet of elevation. There are a few benches for rest along the way.

Breakfast: Aboard the Alaska Railroad, we’ll have a plated meal with milk, juice, coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Morning: Up early again this morning, we’ll check out of the hotel before breakfast and make our way to the train station for another ride on the Alaska Railroad. We’ll board the train and travel south through spectacular scenery, starting along the shores of Cook Inlet and Turnagain Arm, traveling through the valleys and canyons of Chugach National Forest, past glaciers, rivers, and lakes and finally to the mountains of the Kenai Peninsula and the coastal town of Seward, the southernmost point of the Alaska Railroad. The stunning beauty of this trip is one of the best kept secrets in Alaska. Keep an eye out for migratory birds, moose, and other wildlife throughout our journey.

Lunch: We'll drop off our luggage and enjoy a catered lunch in our hotel meeting space.

Afternoon: After lunch, we'll go a short distance via motorcoach for a ranger-led interpretive walk to the edge of Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park. Exit Glacier received its name for serving as the exit for the first recorded crossing of the Harding Icefield in 1968. You may also choose a shorter walk and spend some time at the Nature Center. After our visit, we'll transfer back to our hotel and check in. The rest of the afternoon is free to explore Seward independently. Your Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Make sure to stop by the harbor to watch the fishermen bring in their catch! You may be able to spot a harbor seal waiting for scraps in the water below.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant in downtown Seward or choose a local spot with great harbor views. Choices of fresh local fare are plentiful, and your Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure. It is recommended you pack your overnight bag today for our overnight field trip at the Alaska SeaLife Center tomorrow. Make sure to include toiletries and any medications you might need. We will store our luggage at the hotel tomorrow night.

Glacier & Wildlife Cruise, Spend the Night at SeaLife Center
Seward, AK
Alaska SeaLife Center

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Wildlife cruise is 5 hours on a catamaran. Warm layers and rain gear are recommended for the cruise, though indoor seating is available. Sleeping arrangement at the SeaLife Center is coed, on sleeping mats on a cement/pebble floor. Due to fire code, no one will be allowed to sleep on the carpeted area. There are no shower facilities at the SeaLife Center.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we'll enjoy a breakfast buffet with hot and cold items such as eggs, breakfast meats, pancakes, and more, plus coffee, tea, juice, water.

Morning: After a leisurely morning, we'll check out of our hotel and store our luggage, then transfer a short distance by motorcoach to the harbor to embark our catamaran. We'll sail out into beautiful Resurrection Bay and Kenai Fjords National Park for our glacier and wildlife cruise. The Russians who "discovered" the bay on Easter Sunday named it Resurrection Bay; "Easter" was commonly referred to as "Resurrection." Join rangers on board to learn how to identify various mammal and bird species, and have a chance to earn your Junior Ranger badge!

Lunch: Aboard the boat, we'll have a special treat as we dine on a buffet of fresh Alaska salmon and prime rib with sides, hot bread, coffee, tea, water, soda. Make sure you save room for the dessert bar!

Afternoon: We'll keep an eye out for seals, sea lions, otters, numerous birds (including some puffin varieties), and whales set against a backdrop of magnificent tidewater and hanging glaciers. We may even see some glacial calving. Once back in Seward, we'll disembark and make our way to the Alaska SeaLife Center for our overnight field trip. The SeaLife Center is a cutting-edge marine research facility and was established in the aftermath of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Money from damages assessed by the state on Exxon was used to start up the research center. One special focus was to study the long-term effects of the oil spill on the people, the animals, and the land of South Central Alaska. The Center has become a top-notch research facility, drawing researchers from all over the country.

Dinner: At the SeaLife Center, we'll have a sandwich with chips, cookies, and water.

Evening: We'll begin our exploration at the Center with a scavenger hunt to orient ourselves to the facility. After dinner, we'll participate in two hands-on educational programs to learn more about the sea animals that call Alaska home. Programs may include a squid dissection, creating bioluminescence, and learning from veterinarians on how to care for stranded or injured marine mammals. Tonight, experience sleeping right in the middle of the Seabird, Steller Sea Lion, and Harbor Seal habitats!

Seavey IdidaRide, Wildlife Conservation Center, To Anchorage
Anchorage, AK
Hilton Garden Inn Anchorage

Activity note: Dog sled ride is approximately 2 miles on summer “sleds.” Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 100 miles, approximately 2 hours.

Breakfast: At the SeaLife Center, we'll have a bagel, string cheese, juice box, and coffee/tea.

Morning: We'll finish our visit at the SeaLife Center with a trivia game to test our knowledge on all that we've learned. Afterwards, we'll head over to the Seavey Iditarod Racing Team's facility, located at three-time Iditarod champion Mitch Seavey's homestead. Here we will take a thrilling, 2-mile dogsled "IdidaRide" on their summer "sleds," offering a chance to feel the power, energy, and excitement of the dogs as they pull us along. We'll visit with a member of the team to learn about the trials of this demanding race and meet some of the puppies in training!

Lunch: We'll have lunch en route to Anchorage.

Afternoon: We'll leave Seward behind and begin our return to Anchorage via motorcoach with a stop at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. The center cares for hundreds of displaced animals each year to rehabilitate them for return to the wild. They often have iconic Alaskan animals such as musk-ox, moose, caribou, bison, bear, and elk in their care. A staffer will give us a brief look at the enclosures, then we'll have some time to explore on our own and see the animals that interest us most. Back on board our coach, we'll drive the remaining distance to arrive in Anchorage in the early evening.

Dinner: On our return to Anchorage, we'll stop at a local restaurant for a family-style dinner with salad, dessert, coffee, tea, water. We'll take this opportunity for a program wrap-up, reminiscing about all of the unforgettable sights we have seen throughout this program and all we've learned with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: We will arrive at our original hotel in Anchorage and check in. Prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.

Program Concludes
Anchorage, AK

Activity note: Hotel check-out 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: In the hotel’s restaurant, enjoy breakfast items such as eggs, the daily special, a waffle bar, fresh fruit, yogurt, oatmeal, pastries, plus coffee, tea, juice, and water.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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