We spent 9 days in Fairbanks because we were a few days ahead of our schedule. We didn't make any reservations in Alaska except for the campgrounds in Denali National Park from July 3-10 so we pretty much had to spend some extra time here. It was nice to be still for a little while, plus we had cable tv, something we had not had since Banff National Park. Once we arrived at Banff, we were too far north to receive our Dish signal. Since we have been at Fairbanks, we have also lost our Sirius signal in our car, something about being too far north to receive the satellite signal.
We didn't have to worry about being bored in Fairbanks, there are many things to do.
We toured the Museum of the North at the University of Alaska.
There were lots of interesting exhibits here.
We also visited The Great Alaskan Bowl Factory. Jim watched the bowls being made. It is one of the last operational bowl mills in America. They had lots of great things to buy.
There is a great visitor center in Fairbanks, but I thought one of things you would never see down south was this sign for the ladies' restroom.
There is also Pioneer Park. The park commemorates early Alaskan history and was opened in 1967 as part of the Alaska 67 Centennial Exposition celebrating the 100th anniversary of the purchase of Alaska. After the exposition, it was given to the state and then to the city. Today, there are museums, shops, food concessions, as well as the site of a nightly Salmon Bake and Palace Theater performance in the summer. You can also dry camp in the parking lot for $12 a night.
The flowers all over Alaska are beautiful.
We also went to Gold Dredge 8 to learn about gold mining in Alaska. Fairbanks came to be as a result of a gold strike. Miners who were already in the area came quickly to this area to try to strike it rich.
Before we began the tour, we had another chance to see the Alaskan pipeline. We were also told about the security used here and the measures taken to lessen any impact on the wildlife here.
We then boarded a train to take us to the dredge.
We took the train around stopping at several stops to learn more about the gold mining operation here.
This gold dredge operated from 1928 to 1959 and extracted 7.5 million ounces of gold. Here, we were also given a demonstration on how to pan for gold.
The train arrived at a group of buildings and we were greeted by the "miners" who would help us
pan for our own gold. Each person was given a bag of paydirt which we placed in the pan, added water, and swirled around.
Here's Jim looking for gold. When we were finished, we each had some gold specks that we places in a plastic cylinder and took to the gift shop to be weighed. We had $13 worth of gold together. You could purchase a necklace to put the gold in, but we opted to just keep our flakes. It was a fun experience.
Our last night in Fairbanks, we went to The Pump House for dinner with our neighbors next door. It's always fun getting to know new people and we really enjoyed our evening out. The pump house was used to provide water to dredges on Cripple Creek until 1958 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They also serve great food! All four of us were happy with our selection.