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University of Alaska Museum of the North

#5 in Best Things To Do in Fairbanks

University of Alaska Museum of the North picture in Fairbanks
Brian Adams / Alaska.org

Key Info

Details

  • Museums, Tours Type
  • 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.2
Overall
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Scorecard

  • Value
    4.0
  • Facilities
    4.5
  • Atmosphere
    5.0

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

Located on the campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, this museum is the state's only research and teaching museum. Housing more than 1.4 million artifacts and specimens, the collections include Alaskan art spanning more than 2,000 years, featuring paintings, sculpture and ancient ivory carvings. Specimens include a 36,000-year-old mummified bison named Blue Babe and the state's largest public display of Alaskan gold. A special exhibit, "The Place Where You Go to Listen," features a sound and light installation controlled by the real-time positions of the sun and moon. Special lectures and family programs are also offered throughout the year, and the museum store features an array of artwork, jewelry and crafts. 

Locals and visitors alike said this facility offered a wealth of information on the inhabitants, animals and history of the northern parts of Alaska, along with a second floor devoted to Alaskan art. Most were impressed with the unique building, the friendly staff and the small cafe, and some noted that local hotels offer shuttle service to the museum. Others recommended adding the "Dynamic Aurora" movie experience, saying it was worth the extra $5.

You'll find the museum on the UAF campus – about 6 miles northwest of downtown. If you don't have your own set of wheels, MACS Transit's blue line makes a stop here. The museum is open daily in the summer (June 1 to August 31) from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and in the winter (September 1 to May 31) from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Admission costs $12 for adults (15 and older) and $7 for youth (5 to 14) Visit the property's website for directions or to see a schedule of special events and programs.

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Hotels Nearby

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Best Western Plus Chena River Lodge

Best Western Plus Chena River Lodge ...

  • 1.6 Miles Away
  • 2.5-star Hotel Class
7 Gables Inn & Suites

7 Gables Inn & Suites ...

  • 1.0 Miles Away
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Rivers Edge Resort

Rivers Edge Resort ...

  • 1.3 Miles Away
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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 ... Read more » Angie Cerny / Explore Fairbanks

#2 Aurora Borealis Tours The aurora borealis – commonly called the northern lights – are one of the most popular attractions in Fairbanks. The region is situated under the "aurora oval", and from late September to ... Read more » Chris McLennan / Alaska.org

#3 Chena River State Recreation Area The Chena River State Recreation Area, which sits just east of Fairbanks, is a popular spot in the summer for hiking, kayaking, fishing and camping. In the winter months, locals ... Read more » Explore Fairbanks / FCVB

#4 Georgeson Botanical Garden The Georgeson Botanical Garden is part of the School of Natural Resources and Extension at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The nationally recognized garden was created by Christian Georgeson in ... Read more » Courtesy of Georgeson Botanical Garden

#5 University of Alaska Museum of the North Located on the campus of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, this museum is the state's only research and teaching museum. Housing more than 1.4 million artifacts and specimens ... Read more » Brian Adams / Alaska.org

#6 HooDoo Brewing Company You won't find unusual flavors at this local Fairbanks brewery. Bobby Milken, born and raised in Fairbanks, started HooDoo Brewing Company to offer beers in classic English, German, Belgian ... Read more » Courtesy HooDoo Brewing Company

#7 Running Reindeer Ranch This family-owned farm sits just north of Fairbanks in the boreal forest of the Goldstream Valley. Here, visitors are invited to take a guided nature walk through the forest with ... Read more » Sherman Hogue / Explore Fairbanks

#8 Pioneer Park 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 ... Read more » Nicholas Jacobs / FCVB

#9 Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum You don't have to be an automobile buff to enjoy the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum. The museum showcases more than 85 cars made prior to World War II, each ... Read more » Sherman Hogue / Explore Fairbanks

#10 Robert G. White Large Animal Research Station Looking for a place to buy some qiviut? Prounounced kin-ee-ut, qiviut is the Inuit word for the soft underwool produced by musk oxen, prized for its insulating warmth. The Robert ... Read more » brytta / Getty Images

Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor Center picture in Fairbanks
Aurora Borealis Tours picture in Fairbanks
Chena River State Recreation Area picture in Fairbanks
Georgeson Botanical Garden picture in Fairbanks
University of Alaska Museum of the North picture in Fairbanks
HooDoo Brewing Company picture in Fairbanks
Running Reindeer Ranch picture in Fairbanks
Pioneer Park picture in Fairbanks
Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum picture in Fairbanks
Musk Ox picture in Fairbanks
Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor Center picture in Fairbanks
Aurora Borealis Tours picture in Fairbanks
Chena River State Recreation Area picture in Fairbanks
Georgeson Botanical Garden picture in Fairbanks
University of Alaska Museum of the North picture in Fairbanks
HooDoo Brewing Company picture in Fairbanks
Running Reindeer Ranch picture in Fairbanks
Pioneer Park picture in Fairbanks
Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum picture in Fairbanks
Musk Ox picture in Fairbanks

The Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitor Center features free exhibits, stage shows and a staffed visitor center for local information. Angie Cerny / Explore Fairbanks

Local guides take visitors about 25 miles north of Fairbanks for the best views of the aurora borealis, visible from late September through early April. Chris McLennan / Alaska.org

Outdoor enthusiasts love hiking and camping in the Chena River State Recreation Area. Explore Fairbanks / FCVB

Free to the public, the Georgeson Botanical Garden is a lovely place for a summer stroll. Courtesy of Georgeson Botanical Garden

The University of Alaska Museum of the North houses more than 1.4 million artifacts and a vast collection of indigenous art. Brian Adams / Alaska.org

The solar-powered HooDoo Brewing Company is the place to be for happy hour. Courtesy HooDoo Brewing Company

The guided forest walk with a reindeer at Running Reindeer Ranch is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, according to recent visitors. Sherman Hogue / Explore Fairbanks

Pioneer Park is a favorite outing for families and history buffs. Nicholas Jacobs / FCVB

In addition to featuring several rare antique cars, the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum displays period clothing to accompany each vehicle. Sherman Hogue / Explore Fairbanks

Visitors to the Robert G. White Large Animal Research Station are always captivated by the baby musk oxen, coveted for their insulating fibers. brytta / Getty Images

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