Sunday, May 6, 2012

Tourist for a Day: Day 2

I consider myself very lucky, the weather held out for us on our 2-day Tourist for a Day extravaganza. However, today, the day the first cruise ship rolled in is AWFUL. The wind and rain are not playing around today, and I can't imagine how crappy it would be to pull into your first port only to find that you didn't even want to go out. I'm sure all the big stuff (float planes and ziplines) must be all the big plans the tourists had are pretty much out. (Just about everything we did would have been miserable or impossible in this weather)

Window Shopping at the tourist shops and candy buying

Tourist shops are fun, especially for the kids...they are, admit it. Keychains with pooping bears, packs of smoked salmon and bottles of Salmonberry Syrup. Trinkets...good. Candy...good. You should shop at one of the ports, but not all them. Make sure you go out and do stuff too.

Rainforest Sanctuary Tour

This was free for us, I'm not sure what the cost is...but I'm sure it's not cheap. So here is my honest opinion...if you aren't someone who loves adventure (ie ziplining, etc), or if you have kids that are too small to zipline (less than 80-90lbs depending on which zipline)...AND if you don't like to go out and find things yourself...this is the tour for you. You get a short/easy hike through the Tongass National Rainforest, you will see fruit, plants and wildlife. The tour guides will teach you new things, and if you come while the salmon are running (late May-Sept) then you will likely see salmon, eagles and black bears during this tour. You also have the safety and confidence of having someone else get you there, show you everything, teach you how to deal with wildlife if you come across it, and get you back to the cruise on time. I'm not against the RST, but I think it's too much to pay for what you get. We had fun, but it was free for us. (This tour also included feeding deer, seeing an eagle and an owl up close and watching a totem carver at work. Plus they give you hot chocolate and cookies for free, and the gift shop is if this sounds good to you, go for it. We really did have fun.)

George Inlet Tour and Crab Feast

We rode a bus out to George Inlet and hopped on a boat. The boat took us out to some crab pots that we pulled up and played around with, before tossing the crabs back into the water.

The boat took us back to the George Inlet Lodge where we were treated to an awesome dinner of all-you-can-eat crab. If you've never had Alaskan Dungenous crab, these are not the little blue crabs from the South (that I grew up with). These suckers are SO big, and so filled with meat that just a few will fill you. So we left, stuffed and happy. This tour was probably the most pleasant surprise of them all. I didn't know what to expect, but the tour guides were fun, the dinner in all it's glorious cheesiness was also really fun. The kids really got into all the fun and excitement (and competition) that the night provided. I would not hesitate recommending this tour.

Float Plane Ride to Misty Fjords

The next morning was our biggest adventure of the weekend (and a tightly held surprise until we got there). The kids still didn't quite get what we were doing until the lady asked if they were ready to see the Misty the point it dawned on Laurel that to get there we'd be taking a float plan ride. (then she squealed, and Luke realized it too) It was so much fun to watch the excitement come over them, and then it only grew as we walked down to the dock and got on the plane. The flight was smooth, the scenery was AMAZING and the Fjords were all the we expected.

I am so glad we spent the money on this one, this is what people come to Alaska see what you can't see almost anywhere else. 8 thumbs up for this tour, even from my husband who was incredibly scared to go up in the tiny plane...and make no mistake, it IS tiny.

After that we went back to hoofing it around town, we window shopped at Soho Coho (my favorite and totally worth seeing), rode the funicular up to the Cape Fox Lodge, walked to the Hatchery (which was closed, despite advertising that they would be open), went to the Totem Heritage Center, walked back downtown for lunch at Fish Pirates, went to the Southeast Discover Center and then onto the Lumberjack Show.

The Alaskan Lumberjack Show

This was the final excitement of our tourist weekend. (and it did not disappoint) There was nothing educational or adventurous going on here...this was just silly, funny, goofy fun. The kids adored it, and the grown ups all had fun too. The heat lamps overhead provided warmth, and the partial roof covering overhead would provide at least some protection from our Southeast Alaskan rain. The show was hosted by Ryan Seacrest's stunt double (not really, but he sure looked like him), and included log chopping, log rolling and a lot of crazy jokes. The whole show is based around the two competing teams, of which you get assigned to when you sit down.

There is cheering and heckling...and only the most hardened souls will not join in the fun. If you have kids, and the weather is bad...this is the show for you. If you don't have kids but you like to heckle people you don't know...this show is also for you.

Whew. We actually learned a lot this weekend, and I tested the kids on everything. We even discussed the morality of the era of fish piracy here in Ketchikan. It was quite a weekend. Highlights for kids: shopping, candy, feeding the deer, float plane and the scavenger hunt and movie at the Discovery Center. You can't do it all, so don't try...but decide which things you want to do at each destination and go for it. (remember a lot of the same things will pop up in other try to do the thing that is unique to each place) And pray that the day you come in the wind isn't blowing 50mph like it is today...good luck!

1 comment:

pennockpredicament said...

Hi! Love your Blog. I wanted to let you know that 7th is first day to sign up for Blueberry booth and it is first come first serve. Go to the main St gallery across from the old fire station to sign up. Hope this helps.

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