Alaska is known for its wildlife, and at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center you can see an array of Alaskan species—bears, bison, moose, elk, musk oxen, and lynx among them—all in one place. Learn about each animal species from knowledgeable staff at this center that works to rehabilitate animals and reintroduce them to life in the wild.
You can explore the center’s vast grounds on foot or by car via a scenic 1.5-mile (2.4-kilometer) loop marked with informational placards about the resident animals. Most travelers visit the center as part of a guided wildlife tour, which often includes a scenic drive along the Turnagain Arm. You can also combine a visit to the conservation center with a cruise on Portage Lake for an up-close view of the magnificent Portage Glacier.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a must-see for families and animal lovers.
- Wildlife center tours from Anchorage typically last 4 to 6 hours, depending on the option chosen.
- Remember to dress in layers; weather can change quickly in Alaska.
- The center is accessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is about an hour southeast of Anchorage, just off the Seward Highway. There’s no public transportation to the center, so you have to drive yourself or join a tour from Anchorage, Seward, or the Whittier cruise ship terminal.
When to Get There
The best time to visit the center is during the summer season (May to August), when it is open daily. You can visit throughout the year, but hours are limited during the shoulder seasons and colder winter months. Check with the center before you arrive for a current schedule of animal feedings and other special programs.
Bringing Back the Wood Bison
Wood bison, North America’s largest land mammal, were thought to be extinct at one time, but thanks to the efforts of the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, they’re making a comeback. In 2015, 130 wood bison were successfully released into the wild.