As Covid-19 continues to pause travel for some individuals, destinations are inspiring future trip plans by offering new ways to explore from home. A variety of virtual experiences, video clips, online exhibitions, social media feeds and family-friendly activities are connecting individuals to Alaska's culture and wildlife. Here are a dozen highlights:
1. Virtual Early Explorers activities from the University of Alaska Museum of the North offer craft projects and sensory experiences geared toward ages 5 and under, while Virtual Family Day offerings engage wider age groups in science, art, history and culture. The Fairbanks facility also shares aurora, full moon and solstice soundscapes created by Grammy and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Luther Adams.
2. The Alaska State Museum in Juneau promotes virtual events on its Facebook page, where staffers also share new images and artifacts from the museum galleries each day.
3. The Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center's Museum From Home page presents behind-the-scenes exhibit videos, artist profiles, concert clips, language lessons and resources for parents, teachers and student artists. The museum also hosts Virtual First Fridays, Facebook Live artist events and digital exhibitions. "Created to Hold Power (Intellectual Property)," by multi-disciplinary artist Nicholas Galanin (Tlingit/Unangax), opened online in May.
4. The Alutiiq Museum brings its exhibits from Kodiak to the screens of viewers worldwide with high-resolution virtual tours. The interactive experiences spotlight artwork, archaeological finds, photos and more.
5. Visit the Facebook page of Anchorage's Alaska Native Heritage Center for virtual storytelling sessions showcasing cultural experts from across Alaska, plus staff-guided online tours of its village of Native dwellings.
6. The City of Ketchikan shares links to family-friendly virtual experiences that include printable activity books, interactive puzzles and exhibits by the Totem Heritage Center, the Tongass Historical Museum and elsewhere.
7. Avian care specialists at the Alaska Raptor Center answer questions and introduce bald eagles, owls and other species during public livestream events. Experts at the Sitka facility also share photos and updates from their raptors in residence through the center's social media feeds.
8. Facebook Live events from Palmer's Musk Ox Farm introduce fluffy calves and adult animals, and the facility's video page includes additional clips and information from the farm. Musk ox fans can also assemble a virtual animal puzzle from the Mat-Su Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), along with puzzles of Denali State Park, Independence Mine, the Palmer water tower and additional area sites.
9. Inspiring stories and images of reindeer, black and brown bears, porcupines and other residents of the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center grace the facility's Instagram and Facebook feeds. About 125 rescued animals live at the Portage center known for its education, research, conservation and care programs.
10. Seward's Alaska SeaLife Center connects viewers to sea lions, seals, eels, salmon and seabirds through a series of YouTube videos and Facebook events. Archived clips feature Sunday Fish Sketch activities, Telequarium broadcasts and other happenings.
11. A new podcast from the Alaska Zoo explores fun animal facts and shares surprising stories from across the zoo. On the Anchorage facility's Facebook page, viewers can watch up-close experiences with wolves, bears, moose and other animals.
12. Birders can view the winged species of the Mat-Su Valley, along with rafting tours, hikes and cycling adventures, local festivals and food and wine experiences, through a video gallery from Mat-Su Valley CVB.