"GATEWAY" TO Kenai FJORDS
Ever wondered what it would be like to be underwater with sea lions? Now you can experience the miracle of the sea through underwater viewing tanks at Seward's Sea Life Center. You can observe endangered sea lions and harbor seals in the world's foremost cold water marine institute. The 52 million dollar center, dedicated to preserving the marine environment, is open year round to visitors.
You will eventually want to come up for air and learn why Seward is regarded as the "Gateway" to Kenai Fjords National Park. Kenai Fjords offers visitors a chance to view hundreds of islands, amazing fjords, brilliant glaciers, and pristine coves. At 3,022 feet, Mt. Marathon creates a breathtaking backdrop for the city. Behind Mt. Marathon, and extending down the coastline, is Harding Ice Field, measuring 35 miles by 20 miles. Many glaciers flow from the Harding Ice Field, eight of which are tidewater glaciers, calving icebergs into the sea.
For those that want to snag a salmon or two, a fishing excursion is a great way to spend an afternoon. Fishing in Seward is always excellent. You can feel the force of a giant Pacific Halibut, wrestle for a Coho or troll for Alaska's legendary King Salmon. No matter how you choose to spend your time, under water, on frozen water or on top of water, you'll be pleased with your visit to Seward.
Seward is located about 125 miles South of Anchorage, about 3 hours by road. The town is the southern terminus of the Alaska Railroad, dating back to its origins in the early 1900's.
Seward has over 3,000 year round residents, however that number swells considerably during the summer visitor season. The town is famous in Alaska for its Fourth of July celebration that features a gruelling foot race to the top of the 3,000 foot Mt. Marathon. You won't be disappointed with Seward's fine selection of shops, restaurants, and lodging choices. Historic downtown Seward still retains its small-town atmosphere.
||As the "Salmon Capital of the World", Ketchikan boasts plenty of King, Silver, Red, Pink, and Chum abound in the waters surrounding Ketchikan and Prince of Wales Island. The canneries are busy and the stream below Creek Street's rustic boardwalk bustles with life. Fishing is also excellent for halibut, red snapper, and cod. Freshwater fishing in area lakes and streams reveal dolley varden, grayling, steelhead, rainbow and cutthroat trout.
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Kenai Fjords National Park
You will eventually want to learn why Seward is regarded as the "Gateway" to Kenai Fjords National Park. Kenai Fjords offers visitors a chance to view hundreds of islands, amazing fjords, brilliant glaciers, and pristine coves. You may want to plan a dayboat cruise through the park's, steep-sided, glacier-carved valley gives you an up-close look at abundant wildlife. Watch for bald eagles, listen to the sounds of thousands of seabirds including puffins and share the waters with Steller sea lions, harbour seals, Dall's porpoise, sea otters, and whales, and many other wild animals within Kenai Fjords National Park.
Within the crystal green waters of the Fjords is an abundant array of tidewater and piedmont glaciers. Marine wildlife includes otters, sea lions, harbor seals, humpback and orca whales, porpoises, puffins, and kittiwakes.
Kenai Fjords National Park is most easily accessed by tour boat from Seward or by driving out to Exit Glacier, just outside of Seward. Wildlife and glacier exhibits are available at the Small Boat Harbor Visitor Center and the Alaska Sea Life Center.
Alaska Sea Life Center
This modern facility that sits on a 7-acre site was funded largely from the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill settlement. The center allows scientists to study marine life in their natural habitat. It is also for the enjoyment of visitors to Seward. The main attractions here are the giant aquariums where sea lions, harbor seals, puffins, porpoises, sea otters, and many other marine species can be observed through large underwater windows. There are also tide-pool touch-tanks and smaller aquariums filled with other sea creatures.
If you are a history buff, this museum won't disappoint you. It has exhibits on the 1964 earthquake, the Iditarod Trail, and Native history.
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Seward Wildlife Viewing
The historic fishing village of Seward is encircled by the Kenai Wildlife Refuge, Alaska Maritime National Refuge, Chugach National Forest, and Kenai Fjords National Park. Seabirds, otters, whales, and other wildlife thrive in nearby Resurrection Bay. Seward is named after William Seward, who negotiated the purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867 for just under two cents an acre.
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Set between high mountain ranges on one side and Resurrection Bay on the other, Seward is one of Alaska's oldest communities. The city gets its name from William H. Seward, who in 1867, as U.S. Secretary of State, was instrumental in arranging the purchase of Alaska from Russia.
The town was established in 1903 as an ocean terminal and supply center. The 1964 Good Friday earthquake, the strongest ever recorded in North America, was also the biggest event the town had ever seen (or felt). The tsunami that followed the quake totally devastated the town. Luckily, most of the residents saw the harbor drain almost entirely and knew what was to follow so they ran to higher ground.
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