Alaska November 16, 2016
The Quintessential Alaskan Attraction That Everyone Needs To Experience At Least Once
With the official Alaska sport being dog mushing, you simply must make a trip to this quintessential 49th state attraction at least once in your lifetime. At the
Iditarod Headquarters you will find an abundant amount of educational information as well as some pretty adorable opportunities to get up close and personal with the local four-legged athletes themselves. This wonderful place is perfect for people of all ages to enjoy, but the kiddos will fall especially hard for the sweet smell of puppy breath. Let’s be honest… so will you!
Known as the 'last great race on earth' - the Iditarod is (hands down) the most iconic sporting event in Alaska state history. In fact, dog mushing is such an integral part of the way of life in the last frontier that it is even our official state sport. In many remote areas of the state these beautiful, athletic and truly inspiration sled dogs are a primary lifeline for transportation and ultimate survival. When it comes to the Iditarod, the perseverance that both the handlers and the sled dogs exude is one of the most impressive and respected sacrifices in the athletic industry.
One of the things that we love the most about the Iditarod is the way that the mushing community brings all Alaskans together. The outpouring of love and support from the great 49th state as well as from fans all around the globe is quite the sight to see. Each March, the streets of downtown Anchorage are partially closed off and transformed into a mushing paradise. As the mushers prepare to take off, fans line the streets to cheer them on.
The Iditarod race starts on the first Saturday of each March and ends when the last musher reaches Nome. Many local Alaskans as well as men and women from all over the world run the 'last great race' each year after preparing long and hard all winter long.
Although attending the Iditarod start in Anchorage and even the finish in Nome is quite the quintessential Alaskan attraction in itself, visiting the actual sled dog race headquarters (the Iditarod Museum) in Wasilla is something that we think everyone in Alaska needs to do at least once in their lifetime.
As you pull up to the beautiful log cabin located at 2100 S Knik-Goose Bay Road, Wasilla, AK 99654 - you'll notice something special right away.
Balto the iconic Siberian Husky is a sled dog that was part of the 1925 serum run to Nome, Alaska in which 20 mushers and roughly 150 sled dogs ran 674 miles in an effort to save the tiny town of Nome and surrounding communities from the diphtheria antitoxin epidemic. After the successful mission was completed, Balto became quite the celebrity and today his memory is found in locations such as Central Park in New York and at the Iditarod Headquarters in Wasilla, Alaska.
Inside the headquarters you'll have abundant access to historic photos, artifacts, statues and accompanying information about the iconic sport of dog mushing and the Iditarod race.
It is truly an incredible discovery to learn about how primitive the dog mushing once was and how much it has evolved over the years. Inside this beautiful museum you will be delighted by all of the displays and literature available for your enjoyment and education purposes.
Not only can you pursue all the cool, historic items inside, but you can also take a real life sled ride with a real life dog mushing team. Pretty awesome (and totally an 'Only in Alaska' moment) if you ask us!
Take a tour of the outside area and check out the entire shed dedicated solely to having enough leashes and harnesses to outfit all the dogs property. Dog mushing is quite the production that requires an immense amount of preparation and attention to detail.
But wait... there's more! Did someone say PUPPIES?
That's right - PUPPIES! Many times a year you can actually have up close and personal meet and greets with sweet, playful little mushing puppies. Can you imagine anything better? We pretty much just died and went to puppy dog heaven! This place is truly the quintessential Alaskan attraction.
To learn more about the incredibly impressive athletes that run the Iditarod each year, check out the great
YouTube video below from the Discovery Channel.
While we’re on the topic of quintessential ‘last frontier’ things, check out
these 20 sure-fire ways to make an Alaskan mad. You’ll also really enjoy the 20 most ridiculous questions that tourists have ever asked about Alaska.