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Cruise Diva Goes Ashore in ALASKA
Sights to see & things to do

Cruise AlaskaJuneau, Alaska

The huge lode of gold discovered in 1880 transformed Juneau into a booming mining town. During gold rush days, three of the world’s largest gold mining operations were located here. In 1900, Juneau became the territorial capital of Alaska, but mining and commercial fishing absorbed most residents. 

Diversions 

Cruise ships dock right downtown except on particularly busy days when tendering might be necessary. The visitor information center is housed at the cruise ship wharf and has walking tour maps and Juneau literature. Don’t miss the bronze statue of Patsy Ann, a bull terrier nicknamed “the official boat greeter of Juneau” in the 1930’s because of her habit of meeting all boat arrivals. Once you’ve been “greeted” by Patsy Ann, proceed either by foot or hop on the shuttle bus service that takes visitors up and down the waterfront road.

Opened as a territorial museum in 1900, the Alaska State Museum contains a wildlife exhibit, a collection of artifacts reflecting Native culture and the area’s Russian history, as well as exhibits reminiscent of the city’s fishing and mining heritage.

From the pier it’s a simple matter to arrange transportation to Mendenhall Glacier, the most accessible glacier in Alaska. A taxi is a pricey alternative so watch for the refurbished school bus for a less expensive thirteen mile ride. Park rangers are on duty at the U.S. Forest Service visitor center to answer any questions you might have after viewing the exhibits and video. To get close to the glacier, there is a half-mile nature trail.

Popular shore excursions include helicopter and float trips. If your dream is to walk on a glacier, this is your chance. Don ice boots and go for a stroll when your helicopter lands on either Mendenhall or Norris Glacier. On the shore of Mendenhall Lake you can board rafts bound past icebergs and into the Mendenhall River. Aside from the spectacular views, float trips often include lunches of smoked salmon and reindeer sausage.

Back at the dock, an easy six minute ride on the Mount Roberts Tramway rewards sightseers with a spectacular view from 2,000 feet up Mount Roberts. On a clear day it’s a must-do, but if it’s overcast, don’t waste the time and money. Instead, amble on over to Franklin Street and Marine Way for a taste of Juneau’s frontier spirit at the Red Dog Saloon. Try a locally brewed beer or ale and look for one of Wyatt Earp’s pistols among the many items displayed behind the bar.

Cool Cruising-- Spring! It's in the air and cruisers' fancies turn north. North to Alaska, with thoughts of majestic scenery, frontiers to explore, and what  to pack.

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