Family-Friendly Fairbanks

Fairbanks is a surprisingly family-friendly community with kid-friendly parks, green spaces, activities and events welcoming all ages. Wander Fairbanks and let the kids explore authentic Alaska to create a memorable trip the whole family will enjoy.

Child and grandparent on wooden salmon at the Alaska Salmon BakeOne whimsical place for the family to explore is Pioneer Park. The streets of this historic village feature original Gold Rush era cabins and buildings, many of which are now home to local vendors selling homemade goods and treats. Stroll through the Pioneer Museum and Big Stampede Show to see what life was like for the early prospectors of our area and visit the Pioneer Air Museum to learn the story of aviation’s impact to Fairbanks and Interior Alaska. Play a round of disc golf then stay for dinner of fresh salmon, halibut and more at the Alaska Salmon Bake.

If learning about Fairbanks’ Gold Rush past gives the kids a bit of gold fever, there are options to scratch that itch. Gold Daughters and Gold Dredge 8 will teach you how to pan for gold just like prospectors of old and you can explore some of the machinery that was used to search for that elusive treasure responsible for the founding of the city—GOLD!

Downtown, the Fairbanks Community Museum will teach you more about the town’s origins and the Fairbanks Children’s Museum will further expand and inspire those young minds. Then head up to the University of Alaska Museum of the North to learn even more about Alaska’s history, culture and dinosaurs!

Children looking at Santa's ReindeerAfter getting your fill of history, what kid (or grown-up) would turn down the chance to spot a living ice-age relic? Muskoxen, like those you will see at the Large Animal Research Station at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, are large, barrel shaped creatures that have been wandering the northern tundra for over 600,000 years—since sabertooth tiger and woolly mammoth times. Watch the muskox and reindeer play from a distance or tour the farm to see them a bit closer. In addition to those at the farm, you can meet reindeer at the Santa Claus House in North Pole or go for a walk in the woods with them at Running Reindeer Ranch.

Those with little ones looking to get back to nature while still staying close to town can head toward the outskirts of the city proper to wander Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge. This 1,800-acre property was once a dairy farm during Fairbanks’ early days but has been taken over by the birds! Ducks, Canada geese, Sandhill cranes, swans and more make their way to these fields every spring. Walking trails will lead you into the woods where you can spot other migratory birds and wildlife. Fun nature education programs are offered for the kids throughout the year.

If the kiddos want to get their feet wet and sandy, head for the beach! No, Fairbanks is not coastal but does have some fantastic fresh-water lakes where you can go swimming, boating, fishing or just soak up the sun while lounging on the beach. Tanana Lakes Recreation Area is conveniently located just a few minutes south of downtown Fairbanks and Chena Lake Recreation Area is just past the city of North Pole.

Kids floating at Tanana Lakes