June 20, 2008


Just outside of Fairbanks is North Pole, Alaska...well, come on now, it's June, but everyone must stop here! The reindeer were a bit lazy today, but their antlers were growing like crazy & covered in velvet.

We did visit Santa's House while there, made a few purchases, of course and finished about half of our Christmas shopping (now that's getting an early start!).

Creamer's Field (was originally a dairy http://fairbanks-alaska.com/creamers-dairy.htm) is the hotspot in Fairbanks for birders, and since we were staying only a block away, it was first on the list for the next day.

The dairy was acquired by the State some years ago and transformed into a learning center for children and a wildlife refuge. It's a principal resting spot for migratory waterfowl, and we saw many ducks on the ponds there. It is also the summer home of hundreds of sandhill cranes, who put on quite a show for us overhead and on the ground!

We walked one of the many trails, and were surprised to learn that swallows will nest in what looked like bluebird boxes. The many beautiful iris blooms made us feel we were back in Louisiana....

Another real highlight in Fairbanks is the University Museum. http://www.uaf.edu/museum/
This place is a definite MUST if you ever find yourself in Fairbanks. It's loaded with cultural & historical artifacts, and some great representations of Alaskan art. We found the cultural exhit area very informative, with many examples of ancient carvings and tools.

Kim really enjoyed the intricate leather, fur and beadwork on the examples of clothing, while I just couldn't believe the detail and effort put into this fishing parka made totally out of the intestinal linings of walrus, which is completely waterproof once assembled!

As we strolled through the exhibits, Kim's curiosity was a bit taken by this incredible wooden "work of art", which resides in the backyard of many residents....got it?
Over in the Natural History section we found other finely crafted examples of woodwork, along with the largest Alaskan nugget on display (a whopping 19 ounces!).

The centerpiece of this area of exhibits is this incredible wooly mamouth skull and tusks, and the extra set of tusks, which are huge...

Walking back to the truck, we notice another fine example of local art, a huge totem pole next to the parking lot, greeting visitors who walk up from and adjacent area.