Fairbanks – our impressions

We spent 5 nights in Fairbanks.  Perhaps longer than other RVers would stay there before moving on to Denali, but a check of our progress shows we have plenty of time and there are a few things we want to do while in Fairbanks, e.g. grocery shopping.

Unknown First Family'

Statue of the ‘Unknown First Family’ at the center of Golden Heart Park near the river in “old town” Fairbanks.

Fairbanks, Alaska

There were amazing flower arrangements all around the “old town” area of Fairbanks.

On the way into town, we stopped at the Santa Claus House at North Pole, which was fun.  The whole town uses the Christmas theme, with candy canes and bright colors that tend to put people in a happy mood.  Mona Liza got to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him whether she had been naughty or nice – not sure how that conversation went.  If you send post cards from their location, they will be postmarked “North Pole”, so of course we had to send a few.

North Pole, Alaska

What else would you expect to see at North Pole, Alaska?

Once in Fairbanks, we spent some time checking out the “old town” area by the Chena River and learning some history about the city.  As described elsewhere on our site, we also spent a very long 18-hour day on a tour to the Arctic Circle.  It’s a beautiful trip and a good way to learn about and touch the permafrost and the Alaska pipeline.  Finally, we spent a few hours taking the Riverboat Discovery trip on the Chena River. This is a sternwheeler (paddle boat) and the 3.5-hour tour in on the Chena River. On this tour we got the chance to see the late Susan Butcher’s  Iditarod champion dogs in action, a Bush pilot taking off and land on the river, and a guided tour at the Chena Indian Village.    It was fun and informative, a must-do in Fairbanks.

Bush pilot

Bush pilot displayed a short field take-off and landing along the Chena River

I also enjoyed the University of Alaska- Fairbanks Museum of the North where  it features an interesting gold collection, excellent displays and exhibits like ‘Forced to Leave’, about the detention of Alaskan Japanese Americans and Aleuts during World War II. A stroll at the Creamers field was in order to watch the waterfowls and birds migrating at this time especially the Sandhill Cranes which were really pretty.

Creamers Field

Creamers Field

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

We were also able to take a nice bike ride on the excellent paths in Fairbanks.  Maybe the beautiful weather we had most of the time there helps to form the very positive opinion we have of the city.  It is nice to see a place with housing fairly spread out, but also the conveniences of supermarkets like Safeway nearby.  We certainly enjoyed the super-long days, never seeing darkness while we were there.  We did our laundry late one night and were surprised to see lots of folks out and about in the park after 11:00pm!

Giant Lupines

Giant Lupines

Giant Dahlia

Chena River

Confluence of two mighty rivers,clear water from Chena River on the right and slit laden Tanana River on the left .

We stayed at Rivers Edge RV park along the Chena River. A nice big RV park  that is close to everything.

Fairbanks gets 2 thumbs up from us! Next stop, Denali National Park.