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Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska
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Mighty Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau is accessible and affordable family funFlag review
Located 12 miles from downtown Juneau lies Mendenhall Glacier, perhaps one of Alaska's most famous formations of ice and compressed snow. The visitor center is staffed by USFS rangers, all of whom possess a broad knowledge base about the area and the rapidly-receding glacier. Take a hike along the many accessible trails to inspect the glacier's route since visitors began showing up in the 1800's. Visit Fish Creek, adjacent to the parking area to see if any bears are catching salmon in the water, often with youngsters in tow. A USFS ranger will be on hand to explain the bears' habits and food preferences, too. Older kids might enjoy a kayak paddle through one of Juneau's tour guide companies (www.traveljuneau.com).
Tips for Families
Juneau is a rainy place, and the glacier can cause chilly winds to sweep through the valley and off the lake, so dress for cold, wet, and windy conditions. Strollers are totally okay here. Watch for black bears who frequent the area, and keep kids close at hand. Best time to visit is in the evening, after the cruise ship traffic has moved on. If you are on a cruise ship, take time to explore on your own!
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