Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ridin' the Salmon in Fairbanks

Fairbanks was our first stop on our Alaskan road trip with the Connors clan. We had a peaceful nights rest at the Sophie Station Hotel and all of the family was very glad to have heavy curtains that blocked out all of our Alaskan "Midnight Sun"! We headed out for a full day of adventures and sightseeing. Our first stop was the beautiful Georgeson Botanical Gardens on the University of Alaska-Fairbanks campus! These gardens are the northernmost public gardens in North America and are dedicated to plant science and research relating to growing plants in the "Far North". Basically, they are experimenting to see which plants will grow well and which plants (and flowers) will not.


After the gardens, we headed just down the road to Creamer's Marsh. It is named that because there is a Creamery there and the person who used to own it also had the last name of Creamer. He used to gather the milk and then deliver it around town. We learned that he used to have to keep a heater on in the delivery truck so that the milk would not freeze. Part of his land is a big field and is now used as a waterfowl and bird sanctuary. We enjoyed seeing the different types of birds that live there. The picture below is of the baby birds inside the nest and the momma bird bringing them food.



The field was full of small, lovely yellow flowers and it had a cute little fence around the field too!
After leaving the marsh, the visitors headed over to the Ice Museum. Steven and I did not go through this museum because we have already visited one at Chena Hot Springs. They enjoyed seeing all of the ice sculptures though and also watching a movie about how the artists carve and create things out of the ice.After the Ice Museum, we all were starving, so we headed over to Pioneer Park (basically a touristy shopping, music, museum, food outdoor park) to go to the Salmon Bake. It was a nice outdoor, all-you-care-to-eat buffet that not only has salmon, but halibut and prime rib also. The fish was wonderful as were the different sides (beans, slaw, salad, pasta salad etc.) and the desserts.


After stuffing ourselves Alaska-style, we went to check out the -40 Below room (#108 on our list). It is basically a big cooler that is chilled to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. We all bundled up as best we could with hats, boots, parkas and even gloves. I was wearing a skirt and my legs were cold in there and very red when I came out. We got to hammer a nail into a piece of wood with a frozen banana and also throw boiling water up into the air and watch it freeze before it hit the ground. It was really interesting and CRAZY to think that the people of Fairbanks have to go to work and school when it is really that cold outside!

The last thing we did before leaving to head to Denali, our next destination was ride the giant salmon at the park. Mama really liked this part as you can see!


Rebekah

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