A great visit to the Ice Museum starts our day. We learn about the ice sculpture displays and see how hundreds of 3′ by 3′ ice blocks are harvested from the rivers for the event. Artists build fantastic sculptures using all manner of tools from air chisels to clothing irons. The first things carved are for the kids, everything from massive slides to playground equipment to make an amazing kid’s playground.

After watching the film, we don parkas and move into the -25F freezer to view dozens of ice sculptures. There is a life size replica of a dog team and sled, an ice bar complete with bar stools and glasses made of ice, as well as many native Alaskan animals. The best part was sliding down the indoor ice slide and watching the live demo.

Afterwards we wander downtown viewing its murals and painted vent tubes. These are air ducts from the steam plants used to heat the old buildings with the excess heat vented outside to help heat the streets. The visitor information center is very nice with informative exhibits and artifacts.

After lunch we visit Pioneer Park. Unfortunately we encounter heavy rain, thunder and lightning. Pioneer Park includes a pioneer village (all buildings were moved here from downtown) with shops, mining equipment displays, a small railway, and carousel. There are also playgrounds, mini golf and picnic areas. On a good day, this place must be very busy, but today most of the buildings are closed due to smoke and heat issues. Seems Alaskans find temps above the 70’s very hot. Still a lot of smoke in the air, hopefully the rains help.

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