This past April of 2017, my wife flew our son and me to her home state: Alaska. At first, I was skeptical. I had recently heard many negative things about the beautiful state, such as drug and alcohol abuse. Not that the state doesn't have these problems, but what state doesn't have problems? My family and I were staying in Anchorage, Alaska, but we spent most of our days traveling to it's surrounding cities, such as Girdwood, Palmer, Wasilla, and Seward. This state has much to offer, from its pristine springs and forests to its small shops, restaurants, and breweries.

What makes Alaska so special?

Well for starters, the Wildlife Conservation Center in Girdwood. The Conservation Center is a safekeeping for animals that were not able to survive in Alaska's harsh climates. Animals that are sick, injured or abandoned are rescued and brought here for rehabilitation. The center is open to visitors, and for a small fee, anyone may enter this well-established outdoor facility to see these jovial animals. The center contains bears (black and grizzly), wolves, foxes, coyotes, moose (of course) and many, many others. If you ever get the opportunity to visit Alaska, the Wildlife Conservation Center is a trip you must take.

Alaska has many attractions, including the famous Hatcher Pass out in the stunning Talkeetna mountains.

The area used to be home to a mine known as Independence Mine (still here, just rarely used), but now locals and visitors go there for the scenic hikes, berry picking and the comfortable and welcoming Hatcher Pass Lodge; a quaint little bed and breakfast overlooking the mountains, serving fresh, homemade pie and ice-cold beer.

Alaska has whale-watching tours

Yes, that's right. Whale watching tours. Have you ever done this before? If not, I highly suggest it! Located in Seward, Alaska is the Kenai Fjords Whale Watching Tours. My family and I went on a 4-hour cruise to see the breathtaking, colossal mountains and Alaska's wildlife; such as sea lions, whales (obviously) and many species of mountain goats living on the coastline.

Having said that, the cruise was absolutely freezing, but quite enjoyable none the less.

The staff provides you with lunch, cold beverages or warm drinks, and they are constantly checking in to make sure all guests are enjoying themselves. A benevolent crew! The captain always points out the more prominent locations and mentions what animals are located where, and when to start taking photos. I can safely say that my family had a delightful time on this cruise, and the next time we visit the state, we will definitely return!

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