3 Fun Things to do in Seward, Alaska with Kids
Seward, Alaska is a beautiful coastal town 126 miles south of Anchorage and a popular embarkation or disembarkation port for many Alaskan cruises. Visitors also come from all over the world to fish the Alaskan waters, but if you are like me and prefer more land based activities, Seward offers plenty for those without sea legs. Here is my list of fun things to do in Seward, Alaska with kids that don’t involve a fishing pole.
3 Family-Friendly Seward Attractions
Alaska SeaLife Center
My family has been to Seward twice and the first time we missed the Alaska SeaLife Center. I made it a priority to visit on our second trip and it didn’t disappoint. The Alaska SeaLife Center is an educational experience with several hands-on exhibits where visitors learn ocean literacy and stewardship of Alaska’s marine ecosystem. They have touch tanks which are always a hit with kids and adults, an open bird aviary with the most adorable puffins frolicking around, and giant seals that flirt with visitors through the large glass windows of their tanks. They also do an amazing job at rehabilitating injured sea creatures.
We spent a good two hours exploring all the exhibits. If you have the time, I recommend taking a Behind the Scenes Tour. This guided walking tour through the Alaska SeaLife Center’s back hallways familiarizes guests with the scientific research, wildlife response, and other marine science programs that happen behind the scenes to support Alaska’s marine ecosystems.
Information on opening times, ticket prices and events can be found on the Alaska SeaLife Center website.
Tip: Seward has a FREE shuttle service that runs throughout the day from the cruise ship terminal and stops all through town. Check out the City of Seward official webpage for more information.
Seavey’s Ididaride Wilderness Sled Dog Tour
I have been fascinated by the Iditarod Sled Dog Race since I first heard about it several years ago. Iditarod is hands-down the most difficult sled dog race in the world and spans the state of Alaska going along the old Seward-Iditarod-Nome trail used in the gold rush. During the 1,100-mile journey that takes nearly two weeks, mushers and their teams travel over rugged mountain ranges, frozen rivers, windswept tundra and even over frozen sea ice. Temperatures can vary widely from above 40°F to below 50°F.
Seward is home to the famous Seavey Family. Dan Seavey was a founder of the Iditarod sled dog race, and the racing tradition has continued within his family: three generations and counting! The Seavey Family own and operate a tour company where they share their love of Alaska, demonstrate how they train for races, and, most importantly, show off their adorable huskies.
My son and I were limited on time so I chose the Ididaride Wilderness Dog Sled Ride & Kennel Tour to get the lowdown on how dog sledding works. The tour was only 1 1/2 hours but packed full of information.
My son relished the opportunity to cuddle 6-week old puppies. We took a two-mile “wheeled” sled ride through a forest pulled by 16 excited dogs. (This is part of their summer training.) We also saw the equipment used by mushers during their races. The real highlight was being introduced to their resident movie star, Hugo, the Alaskan Husky that played Shasta in the movie Snow Buddies. Overall, I was impressed with the whole operation, and the care and love the dogs receive cannot be emphasized enough.
If you don’t have a car, no worries, they will pick up and drop off wherever you need to go within the Seward boundaries. Check out the Ididaride Tours website for different tour options, times and cost.
Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking
Ok, so sea kayaking isn’t land-based, but it’s a far cry from spending hours on a fishing boat rocking up and down in the open sea. Before we embarked on our journey to Seward, I contacted Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking to arrange a tour my 8-year old son would be comfortable doing. They were very responsive and recommended a morning three-hour paddle in Resurrection Bay when the waters are most calm. I appreciate calm.
The morning of our session, the weather was a thick mist (quite common in Seward), but we were excited anyway. The launching point at Lowell Point is a few miles out of town. Once we arrived, we were outfitted with all the gear we would need, including life jackets, wet weather boots, dry bags, paddle gloves, kayak skirts, kayaks and paddles. All the kayaks used are sturdy two-person ocean kayaks, and we received instruction and a safety briefing prior to entering the water.
We had a fun guide, Kat, who was very patient, knowledgeable, and great with kids! Our group consisted of another family with young children and Kat did a great job keeping everyone together.
Although visibility was limited due to the weather, we managed to see porpoises frolicking nearby, several bald eagles perched in trees and salmon spawning up a creek. We didn’t spend the entire time in the water. After an hour, we reached a halfway point, but first got out to walk around a beach for 30 minutes to marvel at tide pools and watch salmon spawning.
This was a perfect family-friendly activity, and I highly recommend this company to take you and your family sea kayaking. Check out the Sunny Cove Sea Kayaking company website for tours offered and contact information.
Tip: Bring your own water, snacks, warm hats, and rain gear. Their location is a bit out of town, and they do not provide transportation. I would recommend calling a taxi early, as taxi service in Seward can be very slow in the summer months.
Day Trip from Anchorage to Seward
There are many affordable transportation options for getting from Anchorage to Seward that make a day trip feasible if you are short on time. Try the affordable historic Alaska Railroad for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The trip between Anchorage and Seward is arguably the most scenic section in Alaska.
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