“Just came back from Alaska. I can hardly believe I went, but to see the Northern Lights, I was brave. The lights were spectacular! I was never very cold because in the various places we watched, we could get out of the cold in buildings that were close by. And, the dogs! I wanted to bring one home but my cat would not have been very happy.”
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“I was surprised by the northern lights. We saw them on 2 nights and each time they were very different, and very spectacular!”
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“Chena Hot Springs should be on the list of the greatest places on earth, it was amazing.”
It is arrival day—some people coming in from Anchorage and some flying in from the lower 48. We will greet you all and transport you to your hotel, the lovely Westmark Hotel, where we will dine together this evening.
After breakfast at our hotel, we board our private coach for a visit at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks where we will visit the Museum of the North with exhibits showcasing natural and cultural wonders of the North. You will also have the opportunity to stand next to a giant bear standing on his hind feet (a great picture as no one will want to believe a bear can be that big). Then it is on to Chena Hot Springs, 60 miles outside of Fairbanks, set in a beautiful mountain range.
Chena may well be the greenest place on earth. Nothing is wasted, everything is recycled. They raise most of their own food, use the hot water that feeds the springs to generate all their electricity and heat all of their buildings. When they first thought of trying to produce electricity they were told by scientists from all over the world that it cannot be done because their spring water was only 165 degrees and it would have to be 212 to generate electricity. Now those same scientists have all visited to find out how Chena solved that problem.
Chena has sleds and sled dogs all waiting for you. You will understand what I mean when you visit them for all they want to do is run and when a tourist shows up, they know that at least some of them will be in front of a sled. By the way, these are wonderful animals and if you want to take one home, you can.
The greenhouses are there to visit, the ice house for a cold drink, the generating plant where you can get an idea of what makes Chena tick, the mountains all around, and a few Sno-Cats waiting to take you to the top for a glorious sunset.
Then, of course there is the recreation building, which serves simple snacks and is directly next to the place where most people go to view the lights. There is a reason for that. If you are outside and the cold is starting to be felt, you simply step inside for a few minutes.
We will have a group meal the first night while we are at Chena. Chena Hot Springs are open all day until midnight. Bring your bathing suit because you are going to want to tell all your family and friends how you went swimming outside in February in Alaska. And, if the Lights happen to be shining while you are lying in the springs, you will have a life-long memory.
After breakfast, we head back to Fairbanks with a stop at the Alaskan Pipeline, an incredible architectural feat in the harshest of climates. This evening, we will visit the Fairbanks Ice Park to see the great ice sculptures created by carvers from all over the world. At night, they are particularly beautiful, illuminated by colored lights. Every evening when we are in Fairbanks and the weather conditions prove fair, we will go, by chartered coach, to a site out of town not bothered by the city lights, to see the aurora.
After breakfast, we will take an easy walk to the Morris Thompson Cultural Center, which houses world class displays on Alaskan natural habitat and native culture. We will have the rest of the morning free and then, in the afternoon, we visit the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum containing a fantastically impressive collection of both antique cars and women’s clothing from the same era.
Dinner this evening, our final group meal, will be at the Pumphouse Restaurant
Breakfast will again be provide by the Westmark Hotel. Checkout time is at 12 noon, but later checkout may be arranged. Transportation to the airport will be available throughout the day.
Excited about taking the Northern Lights Tour, but still have questions? Please feel free to email us by completing the form on the “Contact Us” page or call us at 727-216-3492.
We would love to hear from you!