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What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

We had the most incredible week sailing the Disney Wonder up the Inside Passage of Alaska. Our cruise departure date was July 17, 2017 and included the ports of Icy Strait, Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. The Disney Wonder sailed out of the port of Vancouver, Alaska.

Stanley Park, Vancouver Canada

What to do in Vancouver
We arrived in Vancouver a few days before the ship left so we could acclimatise and also to see more of the city. We spent three very full days in Vancouver and absolutely loved it. Summer in the city is gorgeous and there is lots to do – the guide to what to see and do in Vancouver is here.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

Check in at Vancouver Port
The process is very simple. Arrive at your PAT (Port Arrival Time) and follow the signs and directions. We dropped off our luggage (don’t forget to use the bag tags), head to the check in desks to receive our Key To The World cards (as Silver Castaway Club members we received bonus lanyards – otherwise bring your own) as well as the Navigator for the first day (each day onboard the ship you will receive a “Navigator” which is a printed guide to the following day’s activities) and then head through customs.

As the ship starts in Vancouver then sails into the US state of Alaska, you must clear customs before boarding the ship. It was the simplest customs we have ever had to go through. Next was the security check, which we also breezed through, and finally the boarding room.

In the boarding room we took photos with Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse and then boarded straight away.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

Departure Day
We had a sit down lunch at Triton’s restaurant, but the popular buffet restaurant, Cabanas, is also open for lunch and breakfast every day (except for disembarking day). We checked into our room when the luggage arrived, roamed decks, had a quick dip in the pool. The first day was all about checking out our surroundings and settling in before dinner. Each evening guests are allocated one of three restaurants for sit down dining, changing location each night in what’s called the “dining rotation”. Our first evening we were in Triton’s, which is loosely themed on The Little Mermaid.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

We came back after dinner to find our room transformed for the evening. The bunk bed was pulled down from the wall and made up for Cheese to sleep on, and we had a cute towel animal on the bed plus the Navigator for the next day’s activities. Each evening this routine was repeated.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

Hubby wanted to see a movie that was showing that night, so the kid and I listened to live music in the lobby, hung out in the room together after dinner and went to bed early after watching a spectacular sunset from our balcony.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

Day 1: At Sea
We booked our Disney Character Breakfast for the first at-sea day. The breakfast is a free ticketed event that is best booked in advance when your activity booking window opens.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

Each session of the character breakfast is held in the Animator’s Palate dining room. We ordered from the menu and met the characters circulating around the tables while waiting for the food to arrive. Minnie Mouse, Mickey Mouse and Pluto all came by for a visit.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

We booked the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique princess transformation for after breakfast and selected the Castle Package this time (get more info here on all the packages and a detailed overview of the whole Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique experience aboard Disney Cruise ships).

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

The package included a choice of dress, hairstyling, makeup, nail polish, a face gem, princess sash, crown, wand and a cute little bag to put all her goodies in.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

After the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique we head to the atrium for another free, ticketed event, the Princess Meet and Greet (book your tickets online at the same time as your other activities to get the best time for you).

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

At the Princess Meet and Greet we met Belle, Ariel, Tiana and Cinderella. The princesses made small talk while signing autograph books and taking photos – they are all extremely gracious and a delight to meet.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

We lunched at Cabanas and then explored the ship while on the Anna’s Chocolate Chase Scavenger Hunt. The hunt took us all around the ship in search of Frozen-themed clues. The instructions told us to leave the completed form the following morning on our beds to receive a chocolatey surprise.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

The first evening on the cruise was “formal night” so we put on kind of dressy clothes and, after taking a few pictures in the lobby, we went to our designated dining rotation in Animator’s Palate. This evening featured a really fun animated show on the video screens plus a surprise appearance by Mickey Mouse dressed as the magician.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

After dinner we walked down to the Walt Disney Theatre to watch the Golden Mickeys, a cute show that is a take-off of the Oscars, combined with scenes from Disney movies.

Day 2: Icy Strait Point, Alaska.
We spent the morning checking Cheese into kid’s club. For her age group, there is the Oceaneer’s Club and Oceaneer’s Lab for kids 3-12. They are two separate areas that are connected via a tunnel that the kids love to run up and down.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

The Club and Lab both have activities that run each day as well as being open for free play. Characters often visit, such as Spider-Man and the cast of Frozen. While we were waiting to dock, Cheese and I enjoyed one of the many free daily activities that are run all over the ship – 3D Star Wars crafts.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

We docked at Icy Strait Point and headed down to check it out after eating lunch. Cheese and I walked around the port and enjoyed the rocky beach, while the rest of the family went on the  Whale & Marine Mammals Cruise. Read more about our Icy Strait Point port adventures here.

Cheese and I headed back to the ship to get ready for the Royal Court Royal Tea, a ticketed event for an additional fee that runs once every cruise to a small amount of people. It’s an event that, despite being pricey, books out extremely quickly. You can read about our Royal Court Royal Tea experience in detail here.

Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line

We had a lovely afternoon of cakes, meeting princesses and enjoying the songs and storytelling during the Royal Tea event, before heading back out to Icy Strait Point for a walk down one of the nature trails.

Icy Strait Point Alaska

We checked back into our room before dinner and found the chocolate prize for completing the scavenger hunt the day before.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

Our dining rotation for the evening was the brand new Tiana’s Place, which was our fave restaurant for the attention to detail and ambiance. Live jazz music played during dinner and Tiana herself made the rounds to meet her little fans.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

When we returned to our room that evening we had a lovely surprise – a beautiful photo was waiting for us from our Royal Court Royal Tea we had enjoyed earlier that day.

Day 3: Skagway, Alaska
A full day in Skagway meant plenty of time for both an excursion and exploring the town. We booked a tour called Yukon Ho through Skagway Day Trips and highly enjoyed our tour over the Canadian boarder into the Yukon, and fantastic visit to a summer dog sledding camp.

Skagway, Alaska

On the tour we held 7-week-old puppies and had a ride on the dog sled, and spotted a bear along the way. Back in town we walked around the historic gold mining era streets before boarding the ship. Read more about our Skagway port adventure here.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

Back on board, our dining rotation was Triton’s, followed by the Freezing The Night Away deck party. We donned our light-up snowflakes and made sure we were up on deck in plenty of time. After getting the kid her daily cone of unlimited soft serve, we found her a spot at the front for her to watch the show and gave her and her friends blankets that are stored on the deck incase they felt cold (which they didn’t!).

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

The deck party featured the whole Frozen cast with lively music and dancing, capped off with “snow” falling from above and silver streamers shooting out across the deck. A highlight night for the kids.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

Day 4: Juneau & Tracy Arm, Alaska
A super early morning for us in Juneau so we order room service (available 24 hours a day, room service is free onboard) then meet at what feels like the crack of dawn for our Disney Exclusive Glacier Dog Musher For A Day port adventure. The bonus for us with this excursion over the regular dog mushing ones was the additional time we were given on the glacier with the dogs.

Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska

We took an incredibly scenic helicopter flight to the top of the Norris Glacier. In this snowy wonderland we met the dogs and people who lived in complete isolation here during the summer months while training for dog sled races such as the Iditerod.

Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska

An incredible few hours flew by where we hugged and patted the dogs, made snow angels on the top of a glacier, and whooshed through the snow on a sled. Playing with the puppies completed the experience, before we were flown back town to Juneau and boarded the ship. Read more about our dog sledding port adventure here.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

Our time in Juneau was brief as the ship sailed onwards towards Tracy Arm after lunch. We dropped Cheese off at kid’s club and enjoyed a quiet afternoon on our balcony reading books and watching the amazing scenery as it became more and more glacial. From 4pm onwards Tracy Arm could be viewed from the deck, so we all head up there to take a look.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

Dinner rotation was Triton’s again with a Frozen-themed menu. We had an extremely rushed dinner as it was on at the same time as the ship was reaching the peak position to see the glacier.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

Up on deck the weather was milder than we had expected. The glacier was right there in front of the ship – we were amazed at how close we were.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

The top deck was crowded so after a bit of a look we went back downstairs to our rooms and watched from our balcony instead as we sailed back out of Tracy Arm.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

Day 5: Ketchikan, Alaska
Our last point of call, we booked the Neets Bay Bear Watch By Float Plane excursion, which left mid-morning so it wasn’t as rushed as the previous day. We took a shuttle bus to the floatplane base, and then flew to Neets Bay (around 25 minutes away).

A Disney Cruise Port Adventure: Bear Watching at Neets Bay, Ketchikan Alaska

Neets Bay is a great spot to see bears as it’s home to a salmon hatchery. Each summer, the salmon return to the hatchery to spawn, which brings the bears in the neighbouring woods out to try their luck at fishing in the stream. We saw about seven black bears on our trip, as well as a few bald eagles.

A Disney Cruise Port Adventure: Bear Watching at Neets Bay, Ketchikan Alaska

Back in Ketchikan, there is time to take a walk around the town and look at the totem poles before boarding the ship. A few streets from the port is Creek Street, an historic area that is actually a boardwalk mounted on stilts on the east side of Ketchikan Creek.

Ketchikan, Alaska

Creek Street was Ketchikan’s red light district between 1903 and 1954, with over 20 bawdy houses set up for business on the one strip. The area is now a combination of shops, museums and art galleries. Read more about our Ketchikan port adventure here.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

Our dining rotation that night was Animator’s Palate, which featured the character drawing event. At each diner’s place is a piece of paper for the person to draw themselves (or anything really!). During the evening all the drawings are collected and scanned, then turned into an incredible animated show around the walls of the restaurant.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

The evening also included a “decorate your own cupcake” option for the kids’ dessert, making it our daughter’s favourite night of the cruise.

We decided to head to the Walt Disney Theatre that evening to watch the show Dreams, An Enchanted Classic. It’s a really sweet story about a girl who needs to believe in herself to fly and featured characters such as Peter Pan.

Day 6: At Sea
Our last day on the ship! We had booked the free Frozen meet and greet but Cheese told us she met them in kid’s club already so didn’t want to meet them again. We had already done the meet and greet on our previous trip so didn’t think we were missing too much by letting her cancel.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

We spent an incredibly relaxing day with Cheese in kid’s club and us having a coffee at the adult-only Cove Cafe. We used the free time to trying food from the other casual (and included in the price of the cruise) cafes up on deck, where I was served a pretty good veggie burger and fries.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

Cheese wasn’t into meeting the characters on this cruise but was keen to meet Minnie Mouse one last time in her Alaskan gear. While I was waiting in line for Minnie I managed to meet Mickey in his Alaskan gear too. I really love how the characters change outfits several times over the course of the cruise so each time you meet them they look different.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

Our last dining rotation was at Tiana’s Place again and the theme was mardi gras night. This meant we were handed festive beads to put on, there was more live music, Louis the alligator made an appearance with Tiana, and the whole restaurant was encouraged to get up and dance. We also highly enjoyed the beignets this evening!

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

The last show for the cruise was the brand new Frozen musical spectacular. Of all the shows we saw on the ship, it was our favourite. The show cleverly blended puppetry, technology and live actors/singers to create a really riveting performance.

Day 7: Disembarking Day
We put out our bags the night before and had an early breakfast in Tiana’s Place. It’s always sad to leave the ship and this time was no exception. After a quick breakfast we collected our carrying bags and walked off the ship, collecting our bags and then catching a taxi to the airport.

Taking your first Disney Cruise? You’ll need these tips!
Sailing to Alaska? Your ultimate packing list is here.
Interested in my cruise sailing? Find the Navigators here.

What To Expect On A Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Disney Cruise Port Adventure: Icy Strait Point Alaska

Icy Strait Point Alaska: A Disney Cruise Port Adventure

The only privately-owned cruise port in Alaska, Icy Strait Point is near the small village of Hoonah on Chichagof Island, about 35 miles west of Juneau. Owned by the Huna Totem Corporation, a group made up of 1,350 Alaskan Natives with ties to Hoonah and the Glacier Bay area.

Icy Strait Point Alaska

Icy Strait Point is home to a restored 1912 Alaska salmon cannery and museum, restaurants, shops that are 100% owned by Alaskans, a beach and some beautiful walking trails. It’s also the jumping off point for nature and adventure tours, as well as being home to plenty of wild life such as bears and eagles (we saw a bald eagle in a tree right in port!).

Icy Strait Point Alaska

It’s also one of the best places in the world to spot humpback whales in Alaska, with frequent sightings from May to September.

Icy Strait Point Alaska

During our visit to Icy Strait Point, our family split into two groups. Cheese and I explored the port solo and then returned to the ship for the Royal Court Royal Tea, and then ventured out again afterwards for some more time on shore.

Icy Strait Point Alaska

We wandered down to the beach, threw rocks and investigated the barnacles and crabs living in the rocks, then strolled along the waterfront into the main village area to walk through the cannery and shops. It’s a great little port with a very authentic feel to it, no doubt as a result of being owned and operated by native Alaskans

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The rest of the family boarded the 2.5 hr Whale and Marine Mammals Cruise aboard a catamaran that sailed past Chichagof Island to the Point Adolphus area, one of Alaska’s premier whale-watching sites. This area is so full of whales that if you don’t see one, the operators will give you a $100 cash refund.

Icy Strait Point Alaska Icy Strait Point Alaska Icy Strait Point Alaska

Before the ship left port we had time to walk around one of the nature trails near the port.

Icy Strait Point Alaska Icy Strait Point Alaska Icy Strait Point Alaska Icy Strait Point Alaska Icy Strait Point Alaska

Icy Strait Point Alaska: A Disney Cruise Port Adventure

Heading to Alaska? Your ultimate packing list is here.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

A Disney Cruise Port Adventure: Bear Watching at Neets Bay, Ketchikan Alaska

A Disney Cruise Port Adventure: Bear Watching at Neets Bay, Ketchikan AlaskaThe city of Ketchikan was the last stop on our 7-night cruise up the Inside Passage of Alaska with the Disney Wonder. While the city itself is known for its many Native American totem poles that can be seen around the town and its historic Creek Street district, it’s also a jumping off point to experience some of the natural and wildlife wonders of Alaska.

A Disney Cruise Port Adventure: Bear Watching at Neets Bay, Ketchikan Alaska Ketchikan, Alaska

Nearby is Misty Fiords National Monument, which makes for a popular floatplane trip to see snowcapped mountains, waterfalls and salmon spawning in the streams. Wildlife in the Ketchikan area include black bears, wolves and bald eagles.

A Disney Cruise Port Adventure: Bear Watching at Neets Bay, Ketchikan Alaska

We chose on our stop at Ketchikan to take a floatplane to nearby Neets Bay to hopefully see some bears up close (but not too close!). Our trip was organised through Disney Cruise Line, but if you sail with another cruise line to the port you can take the same tour that we did through Taquan Air.

A Disney Cruise Port Adventure: Bear Watching at Neets Bay, Ketchikan Alaska

Neets Bay is 40miles north of downtown Ketchikan – a 25 min plane ride or 35 min by boat. it’s a prime spot to see black bears from late July through early September because the bay is also home to the Neets Bay fish hatchery, where thousands of Coho, Chinook, & Chum salmon return every year in early June to swim upstream and spawn. The salmon attract the bears and the bears attract the people!

A Disney Cruise Port Adventure: Bear Watching at Neets Bay, Ketchikan Alaska

For our floatplane and bear watching adventure, we are picked up at the cruise port and transferred by by to the waterfront base where the planes depart. It’s about a 15-minute drive. We watch a safety video before boarding our plane, and then an approximately 25 min flight to Neets Bay. The plane ride is bumpier than expected and for the first time ever, Cheese and I feel motion sick in the air.

A Disney Cruise Port Adventure: Bear Watching at Neets Bay, Ketchikan Alaska

On the ground at Neets Bay, we are given a tour of the hatchery on the way to the bear viewing platform. It’s as short 1/4 mile/400m walk through the rainforest and during the walk we learn about the different kinds of salmon, their life cycle and the bears who live in the forest and return every year.

A Disney Cruise Port Adventure: Bear Watching at Neets Bay, Ketchikan Alaska

The observation area we are led to has two small undercover gazebo areas where we stand when the rain comes down. The stream directly in front of is teams with salmon and it’s not long before we see bears ambling down to the river to try their hand at fishing.

A Disney Cruise Port Adventure: Bear Watching at Neets Bay, Ketchikan Alaska

Despite the abundant number of salmon in the stream, the bears don’t manage to catch any while we are watching. We see about seven different bears during our stay, as well as several bald eagles.

A Disney Cruise Port Adventure: Bear Watching at Neets Bay, Ketchikan Alaska A Disney Cruise Port Adventure: Bear Watching at Neets Bay, Ketchikan Alaska A Disney Cruise Port Adventure: Bear Watching at Neets Bay, Ketchikan Alaska A Disney Cruise Port Adventure: Bear Watching at Neets Bay, Ketchikan Alaska A Disney Cruise Port Adventure: Bear Watching at Neets Bay, Ketchikan Alaska A Disney Cruise Port Adventure: Bear Watching at Neets Bay, Ketchikan Alaska A Disney Cruise Port Adventure: Bear Watching at Neets Bay, Ketchikan Alaska A Disney Cruise Port Adventure: Bear Watching at Neets Bay, Ketchikan Alaska A Disney Cruise Port Adventure: Bear Watching at Neets Bay, Ketchikan Alaska A Disney Cruise Port Adventure: Bear Watching at Neets Bay, Ketchikan Alaska A Disney Cruise Port Adventure: Bear Watching at Neets Bay, Ketchikan Alaska A Disney Cruise Port Adventure: Bear Watching at Neets Bay, Ketchikan Alaska A Disney Cruise Port Adventure: Bear Watching at Neets Bay, Ketchikan Alaska

When our time at the river is up we walk back to the waterfront to catch our floatplane back to Ketchikan. During our walk back through the rainforest we come across a black bear only a metre or so away.

A Disney Cruise Port Adventure: Bear Watching at Neets Bay, Ketchikan Alaska

The bear was somewhat startled to see us, but was quite relaxed about having several cameras snapping photos not too far away. I guess the bears who return continually to Neets bay have learned that they get a free food buffet but in return have to put up with the paparazzi.

Ketchikan, Alaska

Back in Ketchikan, there is time to take a walk around the town and look at the totem poles before boarding the ship. A few streets from the port is Creek Street, an historic area that is actually a boardwalk mounted on stilts on the east side of Ketchikan Creek.

Creek Street was Ketchikan’s red light district between 1903 and 1954, with over 20 bawdy houses set up for business on the one strip. The area is now a combination of shops, museums and art galleries.

Ketchikan, Alaska Ketchikan, Alaska

NOTE: There is no food allowed on this trip as it attracts the bears. Be sure to feed kids a BIG meal before boarding the floatplane. There are bathrooms and water available at the hatchery. Ketchikan has a very we climate and there will be a high chance of rain when you visit so dress accordingly.

A Disney Cruise Port Adventure: Bear Watching at Neets Bay, Ketchikan Alaska

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Disney Cruise Port Adventure: A Yukon Tour in Skagway, Alaska

Skagway, Alaska: A Disney Cruise Port of Call

The port of Skagway in southeast Alaska is a popular stop on the Inside Passage cruise route. The town itself is an historic city with gold-rush-era buildings that have been preserved as part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.

Skagway, Alaska

On our stop in Skagway we took the “Yukon Ho” tour with Skagway Day Trips, a local company that specialise in intimate tours.

Skagway, Alaska

Our Yukon Ho tour was a four-hour adventure from seal level to 3300 ft over the White Pass Summit, through the Tormented Valley and into the Yukon territory in Canada.

Skagway, Alaska

During our Yukon Ho tour we made several stops to admire the spectacular scenery including the “Welcome the Alaska” and “Welcome to the Yukon” signs that make for great photo ops.

Skagway, Alaska

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The highlight of the tour was a stop at the Tutshi Lake Musher’s Camp where we met and played with 7-week-old Alaskan Husky puppies and added a dog sled ride to our tour package.

Skagway, Alaska

While at the musher’s camp we learned more about the life of the Alaskan Huskies and the people who race them in the annual Iditarod competition through snowy Alaska. The camp’s owner, Michelle Phillips, placed 13th in the race in 2017, making her the highest ranking dog musher to be currently running dog sledding tours.

Skagway, Alaska

We learned that the purpose of the summer training camp that we visited was to train younger dogs while keeping the team in shape for race season. Alaskan Huskies are a mixed breed that combines breeds such as Siberian Huskies, greyhounds, vizsla and mastiffs to create the perfect race dog.

Skagway, Alaska

The dogs were a lot smaller than we had expected. As they are bred to be marathon runners, they are quite light in weight. Their coats were also not as big and fluffy as we had expected, yet when we ran our hands through the fur we could feel the thick layers that make the dogs so suitable for the cold.

Skagway, Alaska

On the day we visited it was a mild day yet still required us to wear warm layers – the dogs, however, were unbearably hot and had sprinklers on them while they rested in the shade.

Skagway, Alaska

Our dog sled ride was a fun run through some gorgeous scenery, with the dogs yipping in excitement the entire way.

Skagway, Alaska

Playing with puppies were another special experience we enjoyed at the mushing camp. As visitors, we provided them with much-needed socialisation that will help them acclimatise themselves to the presence of strangers in the future.

Skagway, Alaska

This is particularly important as when the dogs race they are in contact with large numbers of unfamiliar people and dogs so need to be able to cope with environments that are very different to the quiet, isolated part of Alaska where they train during the year.

Skagway, Alaska Skagway, Alaska Skagway, Alaska

After a few swings on what was the biggest swing any of us had ever seen, we were back in the van, keeping our eyes peeled for wildlife.

Skagway, Alaska

While the tours can’t promise animal spottings, we were fortunate to see a deer and grizzly bear on the side of the road.

Skagway, Alaska Skagway, Alaska

After a stop to skip rocks and a few more photo ops, we arrived in Skagway with enough time to walk around the town to check out the historic buildings before boarding our ship, the Disney Wonder.

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Get more info on our tour through skagwaydaytrips.com

Heading to Alaska to cruise the Inside Passage? Get tips on what to pack.

Considering a helicopter and dog mushing adventure? Find out what to expect.

Skagway, Alaska: A Disney Cruise Port of Call

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska

Dog Sledding In Juneau On The Norris Glacier

An icy breeze blows against our faces and the high pitched sounds of excited dogs yipping fills the air. We’re racing at high speed through a snowy winter wonderland, pulled by a team of 12 strong, extremely enthusiastic dogs who live to race. High up on a glacier in remote Alaska, this remarkable experience is one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments that we can’t believe is actually happening.

Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska

On this special day, we’re dog sledding with the mushers and sled dogs of the Iditarod, an annual race that sees teams of people and canines pitch themselves against each other in a race across an arctic landscape. It’s a battle of endurance, speed and survival.

Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska

High up on the Norris Glacier we visit their training camp. It’s a chance to not only see natural beauty that is so spectacular that it makes your heart ache, but also an opportunity to get a glimpse at the unique way of life for the people who dedicate their entire lives to their dogs.

Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska

The opportunity for this incredible experience comes while we are in Juneau, Alaska. We get picked up by staff from Era Helicopters at the dock where our ship, the Disney Wonder, had parked early that morning. A quick bus ride to the heliport and we are given a life vest, a weigh-in and watch a safety video. No bags, water bottles etc are allowed on the helicopter and must be placed in a locker before boarding. My daughter and I wear waterproof boots, but snow booties are supplied for those wearing sneakers.

Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska

Each group and their seating assignment is decided on weight to ensure an even distribution in the helicopter. In ours, my husband and our daughter, Cheese, sit up front and I get placed in the rear next to a window.

Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska

It’s Cheese’s first helicopter flight and we aren’t sure how she will go. It’s an exhilarating (and potentially terrifying) experience for adults, so for a five-year-old, we have no idea what to expect. She’s really quiet when we board and while we are taking off, but, once we are in the air and she discovers the “talk” button, it’s game on and we have a running commentary of every amazing detail she spots out the window: mountains, glaciers and tiny buildings nestled into the ice.

Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska

The flight from Juneau to the Norris Glacier lasts about 20 minutes. We get a bird’s-eye view of the glaciers and can see the vibrant blue of newly-calved ice. Our pilot, Ryan, talks us through the glaciers and points out which had receded and which advanced back to the same level each year. Most are receding more and more each year. It’s a confronting look at the effects of global warming.

Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska

Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska

Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska

On the Norris Glacier we are met by the Alaska Heli Mush crew, who take us to meet the sled dogs, AKA the stars of the show. 20 people and almost 200 dogs live on top of this remote glacier during summer, with their entire lives devoted to training. As the only way to get to the glacier site is by helicopter, the entire camp must be flown up the same way that we did – via helicopter, with special dog boxes made to carry about 12 dogs per flight. In September the dogs and camp are all flown back off the glacier, with the camp being stored in a warehouse and the sled dogs continuing their training and racing in other homes.

Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska

The dogs we have flown so far to meet are in training to run the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which is held every March in Alaska over a distance of 1,049 miles (1688 km). Mushers and a team of 16 dogs complete the race in 8–15 days, through the harshest of terrains – through forests, over hills and mountain passes, in the coldest conditions imaginable. The Iditarod race, which began in 1973, is highly competitive and a win is incredibly prestigious.

Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska

We learn that the sled dogs who run the Iditarod are “Alaskan huskies”, which is actually not a breed, but rather category of dog. An Alaskan Husky is generally a mix of many different breeds that each give the dogs various strengths, such as Siberian Huskies, Greyhounds and German Shorthaired Pointers. The dogs are selectively bred to create dogs that have the desired traits of speed, stamina, good feet, size, and coat type.

Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska

We are introduced to the dogs one at a time and learn their names, plus a bit about their personalities, then gave their coats a brush and assist giving the dogs a wellness check. They’re much friendlier than we had expected working dogs to be, and greet us with face licks if we’re not fast enough to get out of the way.

Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska

Next is strapping on their snow booties (only some of the dogs need them to protect their feet from the water, not the cold) and harness them up, ready for the ride. Our sled is led by two dogs both called “Otter”. One is bred for endurance and one for speed. As the racing dogs are around large groups of people and other animals when they race, it’s important for them to be well socialised, so the cuddle time we have with the dogs is beneficial to both dogs and visitors alike.

Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska

After a quick lesson in how to drive the sled, we jump on and are off, racing in the snow. The dogs know what’s coming and literally leap with excitement at the chance to run. It’s so hot for the dogs that they’ve been lying in the snow to cool off, while we’re so cold that we pull our beanies down over our ears and tuck chins into our fleeces.

Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska

With the two Otters leading our team of dogs, we glide through the snow to the tune of our musher’s commands of “Hike!” “Gee!” and “Haw!”, and Cheese’s gleeful cry, “Mush, mush!”. We each take turns driving the sleds as we race through the snowy glacier top, with awe-inspiring scenery on every side. Snow-capped mountains reach high around us, as we glide through a winter wonderland that photographs can’t do justice.

Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska

Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska

Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska

When our sled ride is complete, we feed the dogs a treat and thank them for the ride with hugs and pats. One of the Otters, we learn, is a particular softie who sleeps inside with the musher and does an incredible job as a heater. Running our hands through their thick, soft coats it’s easy to understand how these dogs thrive in cold climates.

Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska

We say a sad goodbye to our new canine friends and are taken on a tour of the rest of the camp, which consists of 10 living tents, a cook tent, vet clinic and community tent. No Internet, cell phones, or TV – the crew live completely off the grid on their remote glacier with the absolute basics. The life of a musher is a simple one that is 100% about the dogs they care for.

Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska

Our tour continues with puppies, who will in time be trained as sled dogs. They meet us with joyful licks and wiggling tails; 7-month-old babies who benefit from the socialisation visitors like us give them as much as it gives us joy to play with them.

Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska

Cheese merrily chases the puppies and tumbles with them in the snow in a pile of canine and human limbs and icy snowflakes flying in the air. Her dislike for the snow pants we made her wear is forgotten as she lies on her back and makes snow angels, and throw giant snowballs at our heads.

Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska

Just before the helicopters arrive to take us back to Juneau, we are served freshly baked cookies, snacks and hot drinks in a heated tent, which is exactly the thawing out we need after a few hours playing in the snow.

Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska

We arrive back in port after our return helicopter flight in awe of the experience we have just had. Have we really just flown to a glacier? Have we really just mushed dogs through the snow? When we say it out loud it sounds like a dream or a scene from a movie that doesn’t happen to regular people like us.

We flick through the photos and videos in disbelief that this magical day has been ours. It’s true, this memory is real and has left a snowy pawprint in our hearts that we will never forget.

Dog Sledding In Juneau on the Norris Glacier Alaska

Dog Sledding on the Norris Glacier Juneau Alaska

Our whole experience lasted rough 2.5 hours and was an “extended” experience. We booked through Disney Cruise Line but you can also book this experience directly through Alaska Heli Mush, in partnership with Era Helicopters.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

What To Pack For An Alaska Cruise

What To Pack For An Alaskan Cruise

Wondering what should be on your Alaska cruise packing list? This is one of those trips where you need to take a lot of items as the weather might be reasonably warm, or incredibly cold and rainy. You might be walking around all day in the rain or even snow. We recently sailed the Inside Passage on the Disney Wonder and found that every day was a different temperature to dress for.

The daytime temperatures in Alaska from May to September range from 55-65˚F (12-18˚C). It can get to as hot as 80˚F (27˚C) on the odd occasion too. Evenings range between 40-50˚F (4-10˚C). Generally the inside of the ship will be warm but you will need to rug up on deck, particularly if your ship gets close to a glacier.

Ketchikan, Alaska

Alaska Cruise: What To Pack

The key is layers! Lots and lots of layers.

For both general cruise wear and excursions

– Two pairs of jeans
– Seven tees
– Two sweaters or hoodies of various weights
– One heavy fleece jacket (I love Kathmandu and North Face)
– Seven pairs of underwear
– Two bras
– Wind/rain jacket (Mine is this Gortex – find a similar one by Kathmandu or North Face)
– One dress for formal night (a second one for semi-formal night if you like to dress up)
– Cardigan for formal night
– Beanie
– Lightweight or medium scarf
– One pair warm socks
– Seven pairs of athletic/walking socks
– Sleep clothes
– Weatherproof pants for kids, particularly if you are planning a trip to a glacier.
– Gloves (weatherproof ones for kids)
– Princess dress for little girls sailing a Disney cruise – they are more expensive to buy on board. Many girls wear the princess dresses every day on board.

Disney Wonder, Alaska Cruise

Footwear

– Sneakers/trainers for walking in (I wear lightweight Skechers)
– Ballet flats or sandals/heels for evening attire
– Waterproof shoes – I wore these L.L. Bean Boots in the rain and snow.

Alaska, USA

Toiletries and other items

– Toothbrush
– Toothpaste
– Body wash (the cruise we were on has soap but no wash)
– Shampoo and conditioner (unless you are happy to use the generic cruise one)
– Sunscreen (for the rare chance there is sun)

Disney Wonder, Alaska Cruise

Other items

– Sun hats
– Sunglasses
– Medications including seasickness meds
– Backpack for port adventures (I use this foldable backpack by New Outlander)
– Refillable water bottle
– Binoculars (optional if you don’t have much room)

Disney Wonder, Alaska Cruise

Cameras

– DSLR (Mine is a Canon 5D)
– Point and shoot for around the ship (Mine is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100)
GoPro HERO5 for video
– Chargers for all electronics plus power converters. The cruise ship has North American power outlets.

That’s it! You’re ready for Alaska! Note: If you’re travelling in August it might be a bit colder, so add an extra fleece layer into your packing.

If you’re travelling to Alaska with kids, you’ll find this ultimate guide by the Wanderlust Crew invaluable.

This blog post contains affiliate links. This means if you purchase something through this page I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Adventure, baby!

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Royal Court Royal Tea: Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line

Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line

For little girls who dream of princesses, there is no experience more magical than the Royal Court Royal Tea aboard the Disney Cruise Line fleet. The tea is available on all four ships – we experienced our tea aboard the Disney Wonder on our 7-night Alaska cruise.

During Royal Court Royal Tea, children are crowned young princesses or dubbed royal knights, in a special celebration that is full of songs, gifts, food and royal guests. It’s a truly special experience that is unforgettable for kids and their parents alike.

The Royal Court Royal Tea is offered just once during the cruises to a small group, making it an intimate setting. We tried to book the tea last year on our Caribbean cruise and weren’t able to secure spots. This year on the Wonder I was a silver Castaway Club member thanks to my previous sailing, so was able to book it with my early booking window.

When we boarded the Disney Wonder, a special invitation was waiting for us on our bed, with the request to call and let the staff know which princess we would like on our specially designed cupcake. Belle is the favourite in our family, so a Belle cupcake was requested.

Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line

Our tea took place at 3pm in Triton’s, the main dining room on the ship. We joined the other guests outside and checked in with the cast members who were from the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique that we had visited the previous day. Many girls visited the same day as the tea so had perfectly coiffed princess hair.

Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line

At 3pm, the Royal Tea experience began with a royal greeting from Lady Chamomile, the host of the event. Each child was escorted by a Royal Page into the dining room, with a special individual announcement and crowning (or knighting) before being taken to their dining spot at the tables.

Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line

Each dining spot was filled with beautiful gifts for the kids. A large Aurora doll, Cinderella jewellery box with a charm bracelet and necklace, large autograph book and fancy princess pen was ready for each “princess”.

Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line

Lady Chamomile was joined by Chef Brule, and the two entertained the kids throughout the tea with singing and stories. The pair were immensely fun and had excellent singing voices.

Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line

Tea was served to all guests – apple juice to the kids, real tea for the adults, and tiered platters of sweets and sandwiches. We had a lot of mix ups with the food after letting them know we were vegetarian, but really there was no need for any trouble over the food – with the exception of one sandwich (which had salmon), the entire tea was vegetarian.

Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line

The staff did their best to cater to all dietary requirements, including vegan and allergy-friendly options which were given to us by mistake, but which were happily received by other vegan diners.

Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line

During the tea, three princesses joined us for the celebration – Cinderella, Ariel and Tiana. Each princess made their way around the room, spending quite a lot of time with each child for autographs and photos, and leaving them with an additional charm for their bracelets.

Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line

The children had a magical experience at the tea – so much special pampering and entertainment made this tea party an incredible highlight for the cruise.

Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line

A few days after the tea party we receive a luxe folio with the photo taken from the tea inside as a special take-home gift. It was a very thoughtful way to end the royal experience.

Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line

Pricing for Royal High Tea is currently $270 for one adult and child. Each additional child is $210 and an adult is $69.

Royal Court Royal Tea, Disney Wonder, Disney Cruise Line

More information on the Royal Court Royal Tea.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA

A must-visit in Monterey, California, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a non-profit public aquarium that is located on the site of a former sardine cannery on Cannery Row. The aquarium opened to the public in 1984, and now houses more than 35,000 creatures, with over 550 species in 34 major galleries.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA

The Monterey Bay Aquarium aims to inspire conservation of the ocean. There is a strong focus with all the exhibits on conservation, including information on how we as individuals can modify our choices to be more environmentally friendly.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA

The aquarium has a variety of tours where visitors can go behind the scenes and learn more about the work they do. We did the family tour, which was advertised as being suitable for kids under 8, but we found it to be more suitable for kids aged around 6-10 as there was a lot of talking and asking of questions.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA

The tour was an extra $15 on top of general admission and lasted half an hour. The tour took us behind the scenes of the aquarium where the kids were able to see how it runs and learn about some of its inhabitants. There were plenty of hands-on elements involved, and the 30 minutes was a good amount of time to hold short attention spans. The kids loved holding the hermit crab and hearing how the animators of the movie Finding Dory visited to the aquarium and based the scenes on it.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA

The aquarium is large and has a lot inside to see and do. It’s very easy to spend an entire day here, particularly with kids as the kids’ education and play stations are extremely well designed and plentiful.

Highlight exhibits include

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA

The Kelp Forest
At 28 feet tall, the Kelp Forest is one of the tallest aquarium exhibits in the world. We enjoyed watching the swarms of sardines, leopard sharks and wolf-eels weaving through the swaying kelp, just like in the wild.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA

Sea Otters
The spirited sea otters are all rescued animals that are no longer able to survive in the wild.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA

Penguins and Splash Zone
A fave with families, there are over 45 interactive exhibits in English and Spanish in this area to explore. African penguins and clownfish can be found in this area, as well as telescopes to look out over the bay and spot sea lions or wild otters.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA

Open Sea
This is the the aquarium’s largest exhibit. it includes several types of luminous jelly fish plus a 90-foot window that feels like being under the ocean, with tuna, sharks, sardines swarming in mesmerising schools, and sea turtles floating by.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, California, USA

Monterey Bay Aquarium
886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA
Hours: Daily, 9:30am-6pm
montereybayaquarium.org

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

The Best Things To Do In San Francisco With Kids

The Best Things To Do In San Francisco USA With Kids | Family Travel | Travel With Kids
San Francisco is a town with many faces and a long, fascinating history. Originally a Spanish mission and pueblo, it joined the United States in 1846, and became a thriving city with the Gold Rush in 1848. San Francisco is known for its diversity and tolerance. While it’s no longer the hippy city famous for the 1967 “Summer of Love”, it’s still a place where activism is part of the culture, particularly gay and women’s rights. Walking the streets of San Francisco is a stroll back through time to historic moments in history that gained media attention worldwide.

Today, San Francisco is also a hotbed for the tech industry, so it’s not surprising that the city boasts numerous science and cultural centres both in the city and outlying suburbs. When visiting San Francisco with kids, you’ll be spoiled for choice with activities everyone will enjoy. From incredible museums and kid-friendly galleries to lush parks and innovative playgrounds, San Francisco is a city that welcomes families with open arms.

The Best Things To Do In San Francisco With Kids

Downtown San Francisco
The heart of San Francisco, Downtown/Union Square is the busiest part of town. Filled with restaurants, shops and hotels the constant stream of people in the area makes downtown an assault on the senses (and the wallet!).

Union Square, San Francisco

Union Square
A busy plaza that was set aside for public use by the city’s first mayor in 1849, Union Square is in the heart of the shopping district of San Francisco. We love the public art and kids adore the Disney Store (39 Stockton St, San Francisco) where upstairs they can watch Disney videos and colour in and the Lego Store (Westfield San Francisco Centre, 865 Market St C41, San Francisco) which has various Lego stations set up for free play.

Geary, Powell, Post and Stockton Streets

SF MOMA, San Francisco

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
Give kids an early education in modern art at SFMOMA. Head to level five to explore the Oculus bridge, sculpture garden, kid-friendly cafe and eye-popping Pop Art. Our fave was
Richard Serra’s Sequence sculpture on Floor 1 in the Atrium, which is kind of like a labyrinth. Best of all it’s free to enter off the street and explore. Kids under 18 are free to enter the SFMOMA.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
151 3rd St, San Francisco
sfmoma.org

Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco

Yerba Buena Gardens
An oasis in the heart of busy downtown San Francisco, Yerba Buena Gardens is a place to find culture and green space. Galleries, museums and cafes frame landscaped lawns with a stunning waterfall at the back, a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. During the warmer months, free performances are held in the park.

Children's Creativity Museum, Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco

Also housed in the park are the Children’s Garden, play circle and Children’s Creativity Museum, an ice skating rink, bowling and the historic Leroy King Carousel, built in 1906.

Children's Garden, Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco

The Children’s Garden, located on the top of the Moscone Center, features a sand play area, water play, several climbing structures and slides.

Yerba Buena Gardens
750 Howard St, San Francisco

yerbabuenagardens.com

Children's Creativity Museum, San Francisco

Children’s Creativity Museum
Children’s Creativity Museum is a hands-on, multimedia arts and technology museum for kids of all ages. Little kids will enjoy the lower level, filled with hands-on activities that including building, shaping and dressing up. Older kids will enjoy the singing studio, animation studio, tech lab where they can program robots, and the innovation lab that encourages curious minds to solve problems. It’s impossible to leave the museum without taking a ride on the Leroy King Carousel outside.
Read more about our experience here.

Children’s Creativity Museum
221 Fourth St. San Francisco, CA
creativity.org

Lombard St, San Francisco

Lombard Street
This topsy-turvey street is like something out of a Dr Seuss book. Lombard Street is famous for a steep, one-block section with eight hairpin turns past beautiful Victorian mansions. Be warned, kids will want to bolt down at high speed.

Lombard Street, San Francisco

sftodo.com

Painted Ladies, San Francisco

The Painted Ladies
This postcard-perfect row of houses is located on Steiner Street, across from Alamo Square park. While this particular row of houses is known as the “Painted Ladies”, the term actually refers to any set of Victorian or Edwardian houses that use three or more colours to show off the detailing of their architectural design. Over 48,000 houses were built in this stye between 1849 and 1915, with the famous seven constructed between 1892 and 1896.

Alamo Square, across the street from the Painted Ladies is prime viewing position as well as the perfect location for a picnic. It also has a gated playground that will occupy kids.

Painted Ladies
710 to 720 Steiner St, San Francisco

Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco

Fisherman’s Wharf 
This is considered the “touristy” part of town, but I think it’s worth a visit as it’s right next to the aquarium and has a few fun things for kids to see.

San Francisco with Kids via christineknight.meVisit the California sea lions at Pier 39, where several hundred sea lions like to doze in the sun (be warned, they smell and are very loud!).

Eat at Boudin’s Bakery, home of the most delicious sourdough bread. This is their flagship location.

Ghiradelli Square, San Francisco

Dine and shop at Ghirardelli Square. Formerly headquarters of the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, the factory was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and is now a retail and restaurant complex. On the lower floors of the Clock Tower you’ll find the Ghirardelli chocolate shop.

Fisherman’s Wharf
fishermanswharf.org

Aquarium by the Bay, San Francisco

Aquarium of the Bay
This little aquarium has over 20,000 marine animals to visit. With a focus on conservation, kids will learn a lot about taking care of our water and the animals within, while getting up close to exotic and local aquatic life. Highlights include 300 feet of crystal clear tunnels with marine animals from San Francisco Bay and nearby waters and Touch the Bay, featuring touch pools with sharks, rays and sea stars. Our fave exhibit was the feisty river otters. It’s a small aquarium and we were in and out in under an hour.

Aquarium of the Bay
2 Beach St, San Francisco, CA
aquariumofthebay.org

Alcatraz via christineknight.me

Alcatraz Island
A very popular day trip, Alcatraz Island is located 1.5 miles offshore from San Francisco. A visit to Alcatraz offers a close-up look at the site of the first lighthouse and US built fort on the West Coast as well as the infamous federal jail.

As well as being steeped in history, the Rock is also home to tide pools, bird colonies and stunning views of San Francisco Bay. Wear very comfortable shoes, bring a light jacket no matter how warm the day begins, and be sure to book your tickets well in advance.

Buy tickets for the cruise across to Alcatraz online.
Ferries depart from Alcatraz Landing at Pier 33.

Alcatraz Island
nps.gov/alca

Embarcadero
The Embarcadero is the eastern waterfront of San Francisco.

San Francisco with Kids via christineknight.me

Cupid’s Span
Kids absolutely love this sculpture by artist Coosje van Bruggen on the Embarcadero along San Francisco Bay. The art work was inspired by San Francisco’s reputation as the home port of Eros.

Exploratorium science museum, San Francisco

The Exploratorium
More than a museum, the Exploratorium is a hands-on laboratory designed to help visitors learn about the world through science, art, and human experience. A heavy focus on science will engage curious minds for hours. The Exploratorium is divided into six main galleries, with each one focused on a different area of exploration. Our favourite exhibits included a hurricane maker, spiral drawing creation and light play. Be prepared to spend the whole day tinkering, exploring and learning about how the world works.

The Exploratorium
Pier 15, The Embarcadero & Green St., San Francisco
exploratorium.edu

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Golden Gate Park
You could easily spend a week just exploring everything Golden Gate Park has to offer. This 1,017 acre urban park is open to the public for free (however there is an entrance cost for some of the attractions). Be sure to check out the American bison who have happily lived in the park since the 1890s.

Other attractions of note include Golden Gate Park Aquarium, Strawberry Hill (where you’ll find a waterfall and gorgeous views), Koret Children’s Quarter with its new and improved playground, Japanese Tea Garden, Carousel, windmill and tulips and the California Academy of Science.

Golden Gate Park
goldengatepark.com

Japanese Tea Garden, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Japanese Tea Garden
The oldest public Japanese garden in the United States is a fun place to explore. Kids can discover giant koi carp in ponds, climb the steep drum bridge and search for serenity at the zen garden.

Japanese Tea Garden
75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco
japaneseteagardensf.com

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Koret Children’s Quarter Playground
In the southeast corner of Golden Gate Park you’ll find a fantastic playground filled with climbing structures for all ages, a sand pit, slide and sea-themed structures for bringing imaginations to life. The playground opened in 1888 as the Sharon Quarters for Children, and is thought to have been the nation’s first public playground. It was a groundbreaking idea for the time, to have an area dedicated to children’s play.

The playground was renovated and reopened in 2007 as the Koret Children’s Quarter with new features including the climbing wall shaped like waves and a rope climbing structure. The historic concrete slide remains as a remnant of the original playground.

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Also located in the Koret Children’s Quarter is the Herschell-Spillman Carousel, the last of three carousels to be housed near this location. It was built in 1914 and, after operating at amusement parks in Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon, was installed in Golden Gate park in 1940. The carousel features 62 colourful animals including a camel, dragon, cat, ostrich, horses, dogs and roosters.

Koret Children’s Quarter Playground
Martin Luther King, Jr and Bowling Green Dr, San Francisco

De Young Museum, San Francisco

de Young Fine Arts Museum
Kids will love running around the sculpture garden which is free for the public to enter and the extremely kid-friendly cafe. The museum, located in Golden Gate Park, also offers families hands-on art making activities designed by the Museums’ artist-in-residence.

de Young Fine Arts Museum
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco
https://deyoung.famsf.org

California Academy of Science, San Francisco

California Academy of Sciences
The California Academy of Sciences is a natural history museum in that is among the largest museums of natural history in the world, housing over 26 million specimens – 40,000 of them live. Inside the one building is an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum and rainforest – all under one living roof (literally – the roof is alive!).

The Academy has plenty of hands-on exhibits and activities for kids to explore. Our favourites were the Shake House section of the Earthquake exhibit where kids can experience what it would feel like to be on top of an earthquake, the aquarium with its immersive glass tunnels, the dinosaur in the foyer, and the rainforest with live butterflies and birds.
Read more about our experience here.
California Academy of Sciences
55 Music Concourse Dr, San Francisco
calacademy.org

The Mission
The centre of Latin culture in San Francisco, the Mission is an eclectic and hip neighbourhood in San Francisco. Mission Dolores, the oldest original intact mission in California and the oldest standing building in San Francisco, is located in the northwest of the area.

The Mission, San Francisco
Street Art

The Mission District is full of vibrant murals, particularly between 17th St. and 18th St., and Mission St. and Valencia St. Our fave was on the Women’s Building, a women-led non-profit arts and education community center at 18th Street.

Paxton Gates Curiosities, San Francisco

Paxton Gate Curiosities
A whimsical store where you’ll find a wide range of creative, educational and interactive toys, games and projects for children.

Paxton Gate Curiosities
766 Valencia St, San Francisco
paxtongate.com/curiosities

Bi-Rite Creamery, San Francisco
Bi-Rite Creamery
Delicious ice cream, hand-made in small batches in flavours such as the extremely popular salted caramel. Take your ice cream to go and eat it on the benches outside (there is an additional “eat in” tax if you stay inside!).

Bi-Rite Creamery
3692 18th St, San Francisco
biritecreamery.com

Tartine Bakery, San Francisco

Tartine Bakery
A bakery famous for their pastries and cakes. There is often a long wait to buy treats, but on the day we went there was no queue at all.

Tartine Bakery
600 Guerrero St, San Francisco
tartinebakery.com

Mission Delores Park, San Francisco, USA
Mission Delores Park

This lush, 16-acre green park lies in the vibrant Mission District. Located two blocks south of Mission Dolores at the western edge of the Mission District. You’ll find sprawling lawns, shady trees, a soccer field, six tennis courts, one basketball court, a multi-use court, a playground, and two off-leash dog play areas.

Mission Delores Park, San Francisco, USA

Helen Diller Playground
The newly renovated Helen Diller Playground inside Mission Delores Park contains seperate play areas for preschoolers (kids aged 2-5) and school ages (kids aged 5-12), plus a sand garden, wooden climbing structure, shipwrecked boat, nets and stones for climbing and swings, plus a 45-foot long super slide. The park has bathrooms and water drinking fountains.

Mission Delores Park
Dolores St & 19th St, San Francisco

Mile Rock Beach, San Francisco

Coastal Trail to Sutra Baths
We started the trail at Lands End, behind the Legion of Honor Museum. The trail goes along the headland to Mile Rock Beach, Lands End Viewpoint and Labyrinth, to Sutro Baths.

Labrynth,Land's End, San Francisco

Part of a much longer trail, we found this section to be easy to do with a child in tow at about 2km in length in one direction, not including the detours to each look out, and included plenty for her to enjoy.

Sutro Baths, San Francisco

Take plenty of water for the trail, and enjoy a late lunch at the end of the trail at either the historic (and slightly pricier) Cliff House or Louis’ Cafe (a traditional American Diner).

Legion of Honor
100 34th Ave, San Francisco
legionofhonor.famsf.org

Sutro Baths
1004 Point Lobos Ave, San Francisco
nps.gov

Marina District

Palace of Fine Arts
While the Palace of Fine Arts is actually home to art exhibitions, visitors also go to enjoy the beautiful structure (originally built in 1915), walkways and lagoon. The palace is iconic in San Francisco, and is a popular destination for family and wedding photos. Kids will particularly enjoy spotting the swans who live in the lagoons. Bonus: it’s free to walk around the grounds.

San Francisco with Kids via christineknight.me

Palace of Fine Arts
3301 Lyon St, San Francisco, CA
palaceoffinearts.org

Crissy Field, San Francisco

San Francisco Beaches
You’ve got to be pretty tough to swim at the beach in San Francisco but they do have fantastic views of Golden Gate Bridge, and provide ample space for kids to run around on, splashing in the waves and digging in the sand. Dip tiny toes in the Pacific Ocean at Crissy Field, Baker Beach and China Beach, three beaches in San Francisco city.

Crissy Beach is the easiest to access: an 100-acre shoreline park and restored marshland along the Bay, you can reach it by strolling alone the shorelines from Fisherman’s Wharf.

San Francisco with Kids via christineknight.me

Golden Gate Bridge
And lastly … don’t forget to check out Golden Gate Bridge. While the bridge can be seen from Alcatraz and various points on around San Francisco Bay, my favourite place to photograph it is Battery Spencer, on the Marin Headland just north of the bridge.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

You can also get fantastic views from Crissy Field and any areas on the coast line in the marina and Presidio areas, and at Lands End.

If you have enough energy, hire bikes from Fisherman’s Wharf and bike over the bridge into Sausalito, then catch the ferry back to the wharf. We used Blazing Saddles Bike Rentals, who have plenty of options for kids including kids bikes, trailers, tag-a-longs and baby seats.

San Francisco with Kids via christineknight.me

How to get around
The Cable Car is fun but expensive ($7 per person a ride, $21 for a day pass) and limiting in the directions it goes in, as well as slow due to the wait for a ride. You can also use the Muni Public Transport System. We found it easiest to walk and use Uber. When requesting an Uber, it costs $10 extra to request a car seat for kids up to 48 lbs. or 52 inches.

San Francisco Cable Car

San Francisco Cable Cars
It’s a must to ride the last of the world’s manually operated cable cars. There are three San Francisco Cable Car lines, each going to a different location: the Powell-Hyde Line, the Powell-Mason Line and the California Line.

The Powell-Hyde and Powell-Mason lines both begin at Market Street and stop at Union Square. The Powell-Hyde Line ends near Ghiradelli Square, and the Powell-Mason Line ends at Bay Street in Fisherman’s Wharf. The California Street Line runs east-west from Van Ness Avenue to the Financial District. Maps and stops here.

Note: the cable cars are NOT accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. If you bring a collapsable stroller, as the conductor if there is room before boarding – there may not be space to place it onboard.

Riders can board at the beginning/end of each route or anywhere along the routes where you see the brown and white stop sign. The cable cars are cash only – pay the conductor directly when you board, or buy a 1-day Visitor Passport before boarding if you’re planning to take more than three rides in a car ($7 per person for a single ride, $21 for a 1-Day Passport). More information on fares.

We found the cable cars to be fun but they’re so popular that it can be a long wait (30 minutes or longer) to get on board, so I would suggest taking a ride on one in one direction for the experience, but then catching an Uber back as they’re faster and cheaper, particularly if there are several people in your party. (an Uber from Fisherman’s Wharf to our hotel in downtown cost $15).

Exploratorium science museum, San Francisco

CityPASS
We used the San Francisco CityPASS to save money on visiting attractions. The $89 adult/$66 child pass (ages 5-11) includes Cable Car and Muni Bus Passport,entry to the California Academy of Sciences, Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure, Aquarium of the Bay and entry to either the Exploratorium or de Young Museum.

The regular pricing for adult entry to these is: Cable Car/Muni pass $32, California Academy of Science $35.95, Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure $31, Aquarium of the Bay $24.95, Exploratorium $29.95, de Young Museum $15 = $153.85. If you’re like me and want to see and do everything, this is a massive money saver.

You can also do what we did and substitute our Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise Adventure for tickets to Alcatraz. Read the instructions here carefully regarding purchasing your CityPASS if you want to do the same.
citypass.com

The Best Things To Do In San Francisco USA With Kids | Family Travel | Travel With Kids
Sutro Baths, San Francisco

What to pack
San Francisco has unpredictable weather all year round. July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 14°C (57°F) and the coldest is January at 10°C (50°F). No matter what time of year you visit I recommend jeans, comfortable sneakers and several layers such as a tee, light sweater and jacket. Even in summer you will find yourself wearing a jacket and scarf. It can also get hot in summer, so be sure to pack light layers, sunscreen and a hat.

What to tip
While tipping isn’t mandatory it’s an intrenched part of American culture and is deemed extremely bad form not to tip. A 10% tip is the absolute minimum and usually indicates bad service. If you’ve received good service, 15% is the norm. Tip hotel porters $1 per bag carried and leave $2-$3 USD per day in your hotel room to tip service staff. I prefer to leave the money daily rather than a tip at the end as there are different staff who service the room each day.

The View, Marriott Marquais, San Francisco

Where to stay
We stayed at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis this time, located on Mission St, near Union Square. The location is fantastic for a stay in San Francisco; all the major shops, restaurants and amenities like grocery stores all a few blocks away. Be warned however about hidden charges at this hotel – $100 a week for internet and $15 per packaged delivered. We did enjoy The View bar and lounge inside the hotel is open from 4pm and has them most incredible views over the city, as well as being super kid-friendly.

San Francisco Marriott Marquis
780 Mission St, San Francisco
Find the best prices and book online.

Other popular places to stay include Fisherman’s Wharf, which I find too touristy and out of the way apart from a few attractions, and Nob Hill, which is nicer than downtown, but means a lot of walking up and down the steep hill it’s located on or catching a lot of cable cars.

Find, compare and book your hotel in San Francisco online.

The Best Things To Do In San Francisco USA With Kids | Family Travel | Travel With Kids

Thank you to CityPASS for the complimentary passes to explore San Francisco. They are a genuine money saver and we will use them again in other cities we visit. This post contains affiliate links, which means if you book through my website I will receive a small commission from the vendor at no extra cost to you.

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!

Marathon Turtle Hospital, Florida Keys, USA

Marathon Turtle Hospital, Florida Keys, via christineknight.me
A must-see on a road trip through the Keys, the Marathon Turtle Hospital is a small, non-profit organisation dedicated to the rehabilitation of endangered sea turtles.

Marathon Turtle Hospital, Florida Keys, via christineknight.me

The Turtle Hospital is home to over 50 sick and injured turtles who are undergoing various stages of treatment, rehabilitation, or have been deemed unsuitable to be released into the wild and so have become permanent residents.

Marathon Turtle Hospital, Florida Keys, via christineknight.me
In order to meet the turtles you must book in for a tour of the facilities. The tour lasts around 90 minutes and includes a presentation on the various turtle breeds and the threats they face in the wild, a tour of the hospital facilities, and, what everyone had been waiting for, meeting the turtle patients. The majority of the turtles end up in the hospital after bodily trauma (such as being hit by a propeller blade) or sickness such as infections or tumours.

Marathon Turtle Hospital, Florida Keys, via christineknight.me

Several of the turtles have what’s called “bubble butt” where an accident, such as a boating incident, has damaged their shell, letting air in underneath it, giving them the appearance of a “bubble butt”, which causes the turtle to float.

Turtles with bubble butt have weights affixed to them to help them balance out and give them the ability to swim underneath the water once more.

Marathon Turtle Hospital, Florida Keys, via christineknight.me

Marathon Turtle Hospital, Florida Keys, via christineknight.me Marathon Turtle Hospital, Florida Keys, via christineknight.me Marathon Turtle Hospital, Florida Keys, via christineknight.me Marathon Turtle Hospital, Florida Keys, via christineknight.me Marathon Turtle Hospital, Florida Keys, via christineknight.me
Marathon Turtle Hospital, Florida Keys, via christineknight.me

At the end of each program guests are invited to feed the permanent residents – not touch them, mind you, but throw their favourite pellets to them as they swim happily in the pool underneath.

Marathon Turtle Hospital, Florida Keys, via christineknight.me Marathon Turtle Hospital, Florida Keys, via christineknight.me Marathon Turtle Hospital, Florida Keys, via christineknight.me Marathon Turtle Hospital, Florida Keys, via christineknight.me Marathon Turtle Hospital, Florida Keys, via christineknight.me Marathon Turtle Hospital, Florida Keys, via christineknight.me

Because they are a working hospital, you must be part of one of the guided educational programs in order to visit the turtles. Reservations are highly recommended.

The Turtle Hospital
2396 Overseas Hwy, Marathon, FL
Prices: Adults: $22, kids 4-12 years old: $11, under 4 free

Christine Knight
Christine is the editor of Adventure, Baby!