Sitka, Alaska, US
Information Not Currently Available
Approximately 3½ Hours
Meals not included
Explore an open bird habitat where eagles fly free, as well as stunning examples of Russian Colonial architecture, captivating native tales and the ancient rain forest of Alaska's oldest National Park. On this tour, Sitka's Russian, Tlingit and American culture, past and present, comes alive.
A brief panoramic drive through the historic district showcases Totem Square and Castle Hill -- site of the 1867 purchase and land transfer ceremony of Alaska from colonial Russia. You'll also pass the Alaska Pioneer Home, the Russian Bishop's house and, when possible, the St Michael's Russian Orthodox Cathedral.
Discover the Alaska Raptor Center, staffed mostly by volunteers who rescue the birds, provide rehabilitative care for them, and hopefully release the birds back to the wild. After your introduction to the facility, you will see the fascinating bird-on-a-glove presentation. View the clinic, outside deck habitat area, and the eagle flight center. Photograph the birds throughout the grounds.
At Sitka National Historical Park, wander through the lush forest along scenic paths. Make your way to the beach trail, where totems depict the rich culture of the southeast Alaska Native people. A short optional walk includes topics such as edible and medicinal plants, the life cycle and traditional uses of various salmon species, and rain forest ecology. Don't miss the park's Visitor Center featuring local Native artists along with both ancient and modern displays, and view a fascinating audio-visual presentation on Sitka's history.
Experience authentic Tlingit stories and songs during a visit to a modern rendition of a traditional-style clan house built on the site of a former government school. The Naa Kahídi Community House features the largest carved house-screen in the Pacific Northwest and comes alive with songs and voices -- including your own. Admire the beautiful regalia clothing and even learn to speak a bit of Tlingit before you leave.
Your tour concludes with the transfer back to the ship, or you may choose to stay and explore downtown Sitka. Wander down the main street of this charming Alaskan town on your own, and perhaps visit St Michael's Cathedral -- the first Russian Orthodox cathedral in America -- to view priceless icons and religious artifacts.
Please note: Wear comfortable walking shoes; dress in layers.