The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a must-visit destination to watch Alaska’s wildlife that otherwise, you might never encounter.
Last updated: October 5, 2021
How to Visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
With global warming and damages caused by excessive human use of natural resources, more and more animals become vulnerable to modern dangers. Some of them are already unable to adjust to ever-changing world around them. Animal sanctuaries come to their rescue. Giving shelter and taking care of the injured and abandoned wildlife for the rest of their lives is a driving force of these organizations.
Although all these animal paradises have a lot in common, they never cease to differ from each other in many other ways. So some of them add specific functions and roles to their core mission. Others, on the other hand, introduce extra educational programs to teach their visitors about the world around them.
Yet a few centers include all of the above and a few additional features that make them unlike any other animal sanctuaries. The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, that we are about to visit, falls into the latter category.
About the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
Address: Mile 79 Seward Hwy, Girdwood, AK 99587
The Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center is a non-profit organization. It focuses on providing quality care and the best environment for the injured and orphaned animals along with the educational resources on how to preserve the unique Alaska’s wildlife.
The 700 acres (280 ha) animal sanctuary is located at the head of Turnagain Arm. This convenient location ensures an easy visit to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center on the way from Anchorage to Whittier or Girdwood.
Over its lifetime, the center went through several important stages. It all started in 1993 with the creation of a for-profit organization known as Big Game Alaska. Concentrating on protecting the troubled animals, in 1999 the sanctuary became a non-profit organization and added “dba the Alaska Wildlife Concentration Center” to its name. It stayed that way until 2007, when the center was officially renamed to the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, Inc.
Reasons to Visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center
A few things make the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center stand out among other organizations of its kind and make a visit here almost mandatory.
- First, apart from providing permanent home to orphaned and injured wildlife, the sanctuary reintroduces some animals back into Alaska. So elk and wood bison are just two species that received a rare opportunity to come back to their homeland.
- Second, the pristine surroundings create an illusion of wild Alaska, untouched and unseen. Yet so alluring and enticing… Therefore, I highly recommend that you visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center and spend at least an hour here.
- Third, the center uses wide range of educational programs, tours, field trips, and free lessons to raise awareness about the Alaska’s wildlife. Furthermore, it explains how to preserve the unique inhabitants.
Meet Residents of the Center
Although one hour is enough to see the area, plan to spend at least 2-3 hours at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center to be able to visit different kinds of animals. Some of the most popular residents are wolves, black and brown bears, Alaskan moose, wood bison, Canadian lynx, reindeer. Elk, muskoxen, red foxes, porcupines, great horned owls, bald eagles, caribou, and coyotes are also not strangers here.
In fact, the animals in the sanctuary are somewhat lucky to live in these large natural habitats. Although fences separate different types of the animals, there is still enough space for all of them to roam and thrive.
Most of the animals at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center are orphaned or injured. In fact, the majority of them were found and sent to the sanctuary as babies who, abandoned by their mothers, couldn’t survive on their own.
Interestingly, these animals are not just individual species of a particular animal family. They are members of a big animal-human family with their individual names that have meanings and stories behind them. So, for the most parts, the sanctuary’s four-legged and feathered friends are named after people that assisted in rescuing and transporting them to the center. Several animals bear the names of the places where they were first found.
The Animal Sanctuary that Speaks for Itself
All these combined makes the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center an animal sanctuary you must visit at least once. The loving and caring attitude toward the animals is present in every corner of the center. The natural surroundings make it easier for the new residents to adopt to their new permanent home. Together with the educational resources and tours, these are more than enough reasons to visit the sanctuary and get a little bit closer to the Alaska’s wildlife.
For more information about Alaska and other places near the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, please read the following guides.
- Explore Kenai Fjords National Park from a Boat: National Park and Resurrection Bay Cruise
- Dreamy Alaska Photo Diary
- Whittier Itinerary that doesn’t Include Cruise: Alaska by Road
- The best Time to Travel to Alaska
- 10 Incredible Reasons to Visit Alaska
- 10 Essentials to Pack for Alaska Road Trip
- A Guide to Visiting Williwaw Campground, Alaska