Pioneer Park#8 in Best Things To Do in Fairbanks
Part-theme park and part-historic park, the 44-acre Pioneer Park – built in honor of the 100th-anniversary celebration of Alaska's purchase from Russia – showcases the history of Fairbanks through several museums, including the Tanana Valley Railroad Museum, the Alaska Native Museum and the Pioneer Museum. A replica steamboat and two historic houses also give a glimpse of life in past eras. The park features several restaurants and shops, as well as kid-friendly activities, including a train ride, mini-golf and a playground area. Although many attractions and concessions close during the winter, RV parking is available year-round.
Families who visited recently called Pioneer Park a "gem" for kids and complimented the playground area, train ride, train museum and shops. Other reviewers enjoyed the replica steamboat, original historic homes and museums, and some were surprised to find affordable overnight RV parking for only $12 per night. However, some travelers noted that the grounds – particularly the mini-golf area –were in need of some maintenance.
The park, located by the Chena River, is open daily year-round, although concessions and some attractions are closed between Labor Day and Memorial Day. Summer hours (Memorial Day to Labor Day) are noon to 8 p.m., and during the winter, the Bear Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. Admission to the park is free, but some of the property's attractions charge a nominal fee. You'll find the park about 2 miles west of downtown; it's reachable by car or bus (the blue line makes a stop here). For a park map or information on RV parking, visit the park's website.
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#1 Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center
The Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center is a great first stop to pick up maps and information on things to do in Fairbanks. In addition to exhibits on the natural history of the region and the cultural history of Alaska natives, the center offers a free film on Alaska's history and nature. What's more, on the first Friday of every month, the center hosts a free reception featuring the work of an Alaskan artist from the interior region. This is also where you'll find the city's famous Antler Arch, a piece constructed with more than 100 moose and caribou antlers collected from all over interior Alaska.
Most recent visitors said this free museum was an ideal first stop for learning about Alaskan life, with a good mix of history and culture. Many found the central downtown location convenient, and families particularly enjoyed the interactive displays for kids. Some visitors were disappointed that the informative movie only runs once per day, but all travelers complimented the friendly and knowledgeable staff.
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