Monday, July 6, 2015

Native Art and a Walk on the Wildside

While staying at the lovely Williwaw Campground we ventured out a few times/ We went back to Anchorage to visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center. We had visited the excellent  Anchorage Museum which had a large collection of Native Art plus contempory art of Alaska. on our previous trip. The Heritage Center is  also very interesting. . First we checked out the Welcome House. It has the Hall of Cultures with displays of the five cultural groups. There were also local artists showing and selling their work.

There is also a cafe and gift shop. We bought a couple of mugs with a native design on them and had a salmon sandwich at the cafe. There was also what was called the Gathering Place which was an open auditorium where there are scheduled dances and music as well as story telling. There is also a theater though we didn't see any of the films while we were there.

Outdoors there are the village sites representing 11 major cultural groups of Alaskan Natives. We took a tour of the sites which are arranged around a lale.

Another day we made a return trip to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center which is a short drive from the campground. The Center is a non profit wildlife refusge located on a 200 acre preserve. It is dedicated to wildlife conservation and education. It is also a place for wounded, sick and injured animals from the wild. They also have reintroucted elk to the wild and are now in the midst of a project to reintroduce the wood bison to the wild as well. It is a great way to see some of the wildlife of Alaska in a close up and safe environment.

There was a large raised walkway where you could observe bears below. Some of the animals we saw we wood bison, caribou, bears, musk ox, moose and a sleeping lynx. Then there were these two wild animals below. Pretty scary.

We had a great time. We were at Williwaw over a quiet fourth of July. We were going to go into Anchorage. However we changed our minds for a few reasons. As it never really gets dark, they have the fireworks at midnight and it is an hours drive from there back to our campground. Also on the third we had gone into anchorage and the traffic was terrible. It seemed that everyone in Anchorage was leaving town. We thought after our trip to the Native Art center it would have died down but it was still backed up and took an extra hour or more to get back. We found out later that part of the problem was a bad accident that caused the huge delays. Anyway we had a great time in the area and are now headed to Seward and the rest of the Kenai Pennisula.

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