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Posts Tagged ‘Juneau Alaska’

How I Spent My Summer Vacation: Favorite Museums in Juneau, Alaska and Washington D.C.

September 24th, 2010 by bsmith | No Comments | Filed in Alaska, Washington DC

Saturday September 25th is Smithsonian Magazine Museum Day.  Households throughout the nation can download a coupon good for two free entries to participating museums.  Museums are always a favorite stop during my travels.  I love learning about the history and culture of the region I’m visiting.  More and more museums are offering kid friendly exhibits to engage your little ones as well.  On this busy Friday, I have to get studying for a test, but I wanted to take a few minutes to share some museum favorites from my summer travels. 

Washington DC 

International Spy Museum Washington DC

International Spy Museum 

The International Spy Museum is so top secret, they won’t let you take photos inside the museum!  It was eleven year old boy heaven with James Bond cars and plenty of concealed weapons.  I loved the section on female spys.  We sprung for the Operation Spy Experience  and are so glad we did!  Justin enthusiastically took part in this covert operation simulation.  It’s for ages 12 and “up”, but they didn’t “card” our very tall eleven year old. 

In the International Spy Museum gift shop I discovered two fascinating books George Washington, Spymaster and Harriet Tubman, Spymaster that teach kids about US History in a thrilling way. 

National Postal Museum 


National Postal Museum, Washington DC

I stumbled upon the National Postal Museum while waiting to meet a friend at Union Station.  It does a great job sharing the history of the US postal service and has some fun and quirky exhibits.  I also like the small scale of this museum.  You can see the whole thing in about an hour, and it doesn’t overwhelm like many of the Smithsonian museums.

Postal Museum Mailboxes, Washington DC

Juneau Alaska 

After my Labor Day visit to Juneau Alaska, I’m determined to return and visit with the kids next summer.  This beautiful capitol city has plenty of kid friendly museums to escape the frequent rain showers.  Best of all admission for kids is free at most Juneau Museums!  Here are three museums that I enjoyed on my last visit: 

Alaska State Museum 

Mining Exhibit Alaska State Museum

 If you want a great overview of Alaska history and culture this is the place to go, from a charming collection of dolls crafted by native Alaskan artisans to Sarah Palin paraphenilia, the Alaska State Museumhas it all!  There is a children’s area as well as kid oriented activity  such as a scavenger hunt availiable for the rotating exhibit. 

Juneau Douglas City Museum 

Children's Area Juneau-Douglas City Museum


I almost passed up a visit to the Juneau Douglas City Museum, but I am so glad I stopped by.  It is a beautiful kid friendly hands on little museum.  Highlights include a rotating children’s exhibit and an interactive multi-media exhibit produced by local Juneau students.  Be sure to stop by if you have young ones in tow! 

Last Chance Mining Museum


Last Chance Mining Museum Juneau Alaska

 This hidden gem as a highlight of my trip to Juneau.  The Last Chance Mining Museum  is brimming with old mining equipment and guarded by a friendly fuzzy white dog.  I loved Ms. Renee the curators single rule, “Touch anything you want, just don’t drop it on your foot!” During the summer local kids act as docents.

 Still trying to decide which San Diego Museum I’ll be heading to tomorrow.  Have a great weekend.

Happy Trails,


PS For more  on my DC adventures, check out my Mount Vernon with Tween  post on Uptake.

PPS Family Adventure Guidebooks participates in Trekaroo’s Spotlight Thursdays.  Stop by to discover some amazing family travel blogs.




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Photo Friday: Couples Getaway to Juneau Alaska, Day 1

September 10th, 2010 by bsmith | No Comments | Filed in Alaska, Autumn Adventures

Mist Over the Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau Alaska

This week I was lucky enough to catch the last few days of summer in Juneau Alaska.  The cruise lines stop running September 15th, so it may be too late for you to head to Juneau this year.  Still, I would highly recommend putting this breathtaking vacation destination on your itinerary for 2011.  Ken and I had so much fun, we contemplated moving there. Not really an option however due to the house, the grandparents, the lack of jobs for Radiation Safety Officers…well you get the picture ;)

 If you are looking for an active outdoor family vacation that is completely different from anything you have ever experienced, Juneau is your ideal vacation destination.  Here are  some of my favorite pictures from our first day in Juneau.

Enjoying Breakfast at the Sandpiper Cafe, Juneau Alaska

 We started out our day with breakfast at the unexpectedly elegant  Sandpiper Cafe  in Juneau.  This cafe is connected to the Driftwood Lodge, an economy hotel with basic  comfortable accommodations located in the midst of downtown Juneau.  Ken and I felt like we were walking into another world when we entered this flawlessly decorated   Juneau oasis.  The menu was fresh and innovative with an Alaskan twist.  You could order venison, wild boar, and antelope burgers.  The specials of the day included a $150 dollar ostrich egg omelet.  Needless to say that wasn’t in my budget!    Still, I was very pleased with my delicious  Italian omelet, and I know that the kids would have adored the M&M pancakes.   The prices were mid level and generally reflected the price of a meal out in Juneau.  My Monday breakfast of waffles topped with fresh seasonal fruit and  a side order of sausage with  coffee ran about $20 with tip.

Captain Toni from Hi-Time Charters, Juneau Alaska

My husband Ken was determined to catch a big one, and we were glad we hired Captain Toni from Hi-Time Charters  to help us in our search.  Toni is one of the only female fishing boat charter captains in Juneau.  Her boat was clean and exceedingly well maintained.  Toni even loaned us  rain pants which came in handy during our blustery fishing adventure.  She entertained us with stories of her work as a boat captain , commercial fisherman, and cook for  the Alaska State Legislature.  We reeled in a variety of  fish including halibut and salmon, but unfortunately all of them were either too small or not good eating.  In September, the fish can be rather elusive  in Alaska, and we had a bum day.  Ken plans to buy some smoked salmon to bring home so we can enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labor.  Toni  also does custom  whale watching and wild life photo charters, so be sure to keep her in mind if you are considering an Alaskan adventure.

My Little Salmon, Juneau Alaska

Despite our lack of luck in the fishing department, I wouldn’t trade that day on the water for any other adventure.  We shared our charter with  Becky, a student from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Our long fishing tour gave Becky and Toni plenty of time to talk about life in Alaska.  The scenery was breathtaking. Every moment you were out on the water begged to be captured on film.  Reeling in fish from the bottom of the bay was also a rush!

Eagle in Flight, Juneau Alaska

 I’m looking forward to sharing more of my Alaskan adventures  in the coming weeks.  I will be also contributing some posts to UPTAKE  with tips on how to make the most of your trip to Juneau and how to eat like a local.

I’m also playing catch up with my posts from summer vacation.  If you want a preview of our Washington D.C. adventures be sure to check out my UPTAKE post on  Exploring Mount Vernon with Tween.  For the inside scoop on the LEGOLAND  Water Park check out my review on Trekaroo.  Warm Carlsbad weekends mean this may be an ideal time for a visit to LEGOLAND

Family Adventure Guidebooks  is always happy to participate in Delicious Baby’s Photo Friday Blog Roundup .  This week Debbie has a beautiful picture of music on a Hawaiian beach.  Maybe that should be the Smith Family’s next travel destination?

Happy Trails,


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