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justafirefly

Things to do within walking distance?

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My family will be on a cruise that ports in Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, and Victoria, B.C. in mid-May. We really enjoy walking and seeing sights. What would you recommend doing that is within walking distance of the ports (or a very short shuttle ride)? Bonus if it is budget friendly and/or would be interesting to small children. We have a 6 & 1 year old, but they are used to long walks and hikes as this is something we do frequently in our family leisure time (I backpack the toddler). We love nature, wildlife, and historical monuments. This is our first time to Alaska, so we are looking for suggestions of things we don't want to miss seeing if we can! TIA!

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I haven't gone on a cruise yet, but my Alaskan cruise for June will visit all of your ports except for Victoria.  It looks to me like in all 3 ports there is plenty to do within walking distance of the ports.  In Juneau the tram (Mount Roberts Tramway) is right there.  A lot of the Ketchican attractions, such as Creek Street, are close to the port (if I'm wrong please others correct me).  I'm less sure of Skagway but I think the town is also close to port.  That one has a really wonderful railway that goes through the mountains that's one of the main attractions;  it's what I'm planning to do.  

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"justafirefly":  

 

In Juneau, since you are interested in long walks, you may consider going to Mendenhall Glacier; shuttle tickets can be purchased either from your cruise line or from private vendors on the shore.  Mt. Roberts, on a clear day, is another option.  And the Alaska State Museum is also within walking distance to most ship berths.  Even though you are planning a mid-May trip the Alaska State Museum is good option for rainy weather.

 

Skagway was one of the gateways to the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898.  The US National Park Service has acquired a number of the historic buildings, and a number of them are now free mini-museums and historic dioramas.  Google the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park and find the northern Skagway unit.  Look for the "Learn about the Park" tab and then find "Kids and Youth."  You will find info about the old saloon which is now a junior ranger program headquarters (during the Klondike gold rush there were an incredible number of saloons in Skagway).  There is also lovely playground in Skagway.  With the age of your kids you would be the best to know if they would find the White Pass and Yukon Railway of interest as it can test the interest and patience of kiddos.

 

There is a lovely playground in Ketchikan (spelled with two "k"s) within easy walking distance from the ship berths.  It is located near the Totem Heritage Museum.  And the kiddos also may enjoy taking the funicular up to Cape Fox Lodge and walking down.  While Creek Street may be close to the ship berths I doubt that many 1 or 6 year olds would find it of interest; during the time frame you will be there you will not be hitting a salmon run.  And the Ketchikan city museum is also within walking distance, and while it is very well curated, doesn't have an extensive hands-on kids program.

 

In Victoria I wonder if the kids would enjoy a horse-drawn carriage experience?  Just a thought.

 

 

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In Ketchikan, the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center Is great for kids on a rainy day. 

https://www.alaskacenters.gov/visitors-centers/ketchikan

There is a nominal charge. They take the National Parks Pass. They provide a wi-fi password with the ticket.

It is across the street from the Lumberjack Show, which is a five minute walk from the cruise pier.

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The Ketchikan Visitor web has maps for walking tours: or pick them up at the dock: https://www.experienceketchikan.com/ketchikan-walking-tour.html

 

Or ride the town bus out to Totem Bight State Historical Park ... wonderful totem display, waterfront and forest setting.  Again, the info is in the town web site.  Or the 6yr old may enjoy finding the totems around town.

https://www.experienceketchikan.com/things-to-do-in-alaska.html

 

In Victoria, you can walk to the Fishermans Wharf in about 15 minutes.  Fun area ... working dock, seals, restaurants, floating homes, and a little putt-putt ferry you can take to the harbor which is beautiful

http://fishermanswharfvictoria.org/

 

All the town web sites are listed in this link. Many have Visitor Guides you can download:

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2639556-2019-resources-for-planning-a-visit-to-alaska/

 

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For Juneau the Mt Roberts Tram sounds like just what you're looking for. Within walking distance, scenic, good for all ages, and inexpensive
 

 

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Lots of good suggestions above. 

 

I especially agree with the Skagway Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park museums, junior ranger program, and free walking tours--which they usually make interesting even for kids.  You could also take the nice stroll out to Yakutania Point (with lots of fun waterside rocks to play on).  Lower Dewey Lake is also a pleasant hike and though the first part's steep, I think a 6-year-old who likes hiking could handle it.

 

Picture of Yakutania Point:  https://cruisingalaskaonabudget.wordpress.com/2017/05/26/yakutania-point-skagway/

 

Ketchikan's Southeast Discovery Center is cool and has interactive tasks for kids.  Creek Street's still fun because of the boardwalks over water and possible harbor seal sightings (though less likely out of salmon season).  Totem Bight is nice (and accessible by city bus).  

 

In Juneau you could try the flume walk or go out to the whale sculpture.  Mendenhall Glacier has easy walks, like out to Nugget Falls or around Steep Creek.  The problem is getting there on a budget.  The city bus takes a long time and leaves you a mile or so short of the park.  The shuttles are quite pricey for what you get.  A taxi or ride share is often better for that many people, but try to agree on the price beforehand. 

 

Some pics of Mendenhall Glacier my first time (word of warning:  the glacier has retreated noticeably since then):  https://www.melindabrasher.com/2011/08/mendenhall-glacier.html

 

Victoria's Beacon Park has an awesome little petting zoo (entry by donation) and lots of playgrounds, flower gardens, etc.  You can take the city bus to it (or walk).  If you're there in time to watch the boats "dance" in the Inner Harbor, that's fun too.  Fisherman's Wharf is also interesting to explore.      

 

 

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Been there several times. All of the above are good suggestions. I would add: Don’t buy Mt Roberts tram tickets on the ship. Wait until you are in Juneau, look up there and decide. It may be covered with clouds and you couldn’t see anything if you went up. Ticket booth is easy to find, just follow the wires.

If you take the funicular up to Cape Fox hotel in Ketchikan, go out the front door and walk around the totem poles, some have 2 sides.

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Hi Justafirefly!

I was going to suggest several of the activities others did. We've taken the Mt.Roberts tram (on last report the eagle with only one eye was still there in a cage -- can't be released, eagles need both eyes to hunt) and gone to Mendenhall. Also whale watching which is guaranteed in Juneau. If you are going to splurge anywhere, make it whale watching in Juneau! 

 

The train in Skagway was a must do for our (all adult) family... but it is a lot of looking at similar views as someone pointed out. The town and the National Park activities sound like a better fit for your familiy. There are also self-guided walks... I forget where to get the map.

 

Our first Alaska trip we took the ship's tour to Totem Bight State Park from Ketchikan; on this June's FOURTH AK trip, we will take the city bus there. It will be nice to be able to walk all around -- the eagles are as common as crows or seagulls other places! -- without having to watch our watches so much. Of course being sure to catch the return bus! The info for the bus is on line. Be prepared for rain! I think it drizzles some part of most days in Ketchikan... We'd love to ride the funicular; in three trips to KK, it has never been running! Better luck for you!

 

At Victoria, I was also going to suggest you look into Beacon Park. And I didn't even know about the playground! I can't recommend it (because I haven't been there), but it is my plan for June!

 

My only original thing to add is, look all of these up on line. Including the self-guided walks/maps. Start a folder or big envelope!

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About buying the  Mt. Roberts Tram ticket on the ship vs at the tram station:  some lines will reimburse you for that particular tour if you buy it with them and don't use it.  It's a bit of a hassle, but if you're wanting shipboard points, and you think the weather will probably be good, it may be worth it.  Check with your line.  And if you're there on a sunny day with 5 ships, the ticket-buying line might be busy.  Not having to wait in it is nice.   But yes, I would let the weather decide whether you go,  because if it's really socked in, it's probably not worth the price.

 

Also, if you go up to Cape Fox Lodge in Ketchikan (and the totem poles outside), you can also walk up the wooden stairs through the forest for free (which of course I love, since I'm a walk-in-nature person).  The stairs start about halfway to the salmon ladder along Married Man's Trail.  Be sure to check out the salmon life cycle signs in the lobby of Cape Fox Lodge.    

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On 2/3/2020 at 9:16 PM, mapleleaves said:

In Victoria, you can walk to the Fishermans Wharf in about 15 minutes.  Fun area ... working dock, seals, restaurants, floating homes, and a little putt-putt ferry you can take to the harbor which is beautiful

http://fishermanswharfvictoria.org/

 

I really enjoyed the Fishermans Wharf. Great food, fun to see the houseboats, and delicious ice cream plus watching the seaplanes could be entertaining for them. You can walk, might be a bit far with the 6 and 1 year old, to the town. 

 

On Ovation last year we docked next to this really long pier that had fabulous views so that might be something they would enjoy as well.

 

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On 2/3/2020 at 12:12 AM, Northern Aurora said:

 

There is a lovely playground in Ketchikan (spelled with two "k"s) within easy walking distance from the ship berths.  It is located near the Totem Heritage Museum.  And the kiddos also may enjoy taking the funicular up to Cape Fox Lodge and walking down. 

 

In Victoria I wonder if the kids would enjoy a horse-drawn carriage experience?  Just a thought.

 

Thank you!  I was looking for something "kid friendly" in Ketchikan!  It looked like an easy port to navigate.  With a playground, it may be a great way to let our little grands blow off some energy!

 

And who doesn't love a horse-drawn carriage!  I guess we'll be getting off in Victoria after all!

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On 2/10/2020 at 11:52 AM, bhsolo said:

 

I really enjoyed the Fishermans Wharf. Great food, fun to see the houseboats, and delicious ice cream plus watching the seaplanes could be entertaining for them. You can walk, might be a bit far with the 6 and 1 year old, to the town. 

 

On Ovation last year we docked next to this really long pier that had fabulous views so that might be something they would enjoy as well.

 

On Ovation this June with a group of 10. A few Q's please. Is a naturalist on board of the ship? Can we do Butchart garden and Fisherman wharf after? What not to miss on board? Thanks in advance!

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15 minutes ago, oldplayer532 said:

On Ovation this June with a group of 10. A few Q's please. Is a naturalist on board of the ship? Can we do Butchart garden and Fisherman wharf after? What not to miss on board? Thanks in advance!

 

There is no naturalist on board, not that kind of ship. I did the excursion to Butchart Gardens and on the way back the driver dropped us in town so I walked around (picked up little maple butter jars for gifts) and then walked to Fisherman's wharf. Ate a lot at the wharf and then walked back to the ship, that walk felt good after everything I ate lol.

 

Some people went back to the ship, rested and then went to Fisherman's wharf since it's maybe a 15 minute walk from the ship.

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3 minutes ago, bhsolo said:

 

There is no naturalist on board, not that kind of ship. I did the excursion to Butchart Gardens and on the way back the driver dropped us in town so I walked around (picked up little maple butter jars for gifts) and then walked to Fisherman's wharf. Ate a lot at the wharf and then walked back to the ship, that walk felt good after everything I ate lol.

 

Some people went back to the ship, rested and then went to Fisherman's wharf since it's maybe a 15 minute walk from the ship.

thank you for your prompt reply.

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