Winters in Fairbanks are cold, dark, and long. This year, instead of spending your time counting down the days until the Hot Licks Ice Cream stand opens again, try some of these fun family activities.
1) The Nutcracker Ballet. Performed by the local North Star Ballet the first weekend of December, this production is a wonderful way to kick off the Christmas season with your family. This event takes place at the Hering Auditorium, which is located at Lathrop High School. There are four performances, including two evening shows and two matinees. Tickets for the ballet can be purchased ahead of time at the Bentley Mall Safeway or online at the North Star Ballet’s website, or the day of the show beginning one hour before the performance. After the Saturday matinee, there is an extra special event, where for $5, your child can go on stage and meet the dancers. More information can be found at the North Star Ballet’s website.
2) New Year’s Eve Fireworks at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Fireworks aren’t very spectacular on the Fourth of July, when it is still practically daylight at midnight. New Year’s Eve is the holiday for fireworks in interior Alaska, and UAF is the place to see them. Subzero temperatures are not unusual for this time of year, but you can enjoy the fireworks from the comfort of your warm and cozy car. The display starts at 8 PM, and you need to get there early to secure a free parking spot. After the display, traffic is very congested, particularly around Geist Road, so give yourself ample time to get home.
3) 2011 World Ice Art Championships. By March, many Fairbanksans have cabin fever in a bad way. Thankfully, every March, Fairbanks hosts the World Ice Art Championships, giving us a reason to get out of the house and enjoy the slightly warmer temperatures. Amazingly detailed ice sculptures illuminated by multicolored lights are worth the admission price alone, but the Flint Hills Resources Kids Park makes this event a must-do for Fairbanks families. Slides, mazes, even spinning bowls can be found in this park, and all are made out of just ice. The Kids Park is open daily in 2010 from 10 AM to 10 PM from February 22nd through March 27th. The best time of day to go is at dusk, so that you can enjoy the the Kids Park until the sun sets, then walk around the rest of the park to admire the rest of the sculptures, which are lit up for maximum viewing pleasure.
The Ice Art Championships and Kids Park are on Phillips Field Road, off Peger Road. Admission can be purchased in the form of a daily pass, or a seasonal pass, which gives you unlimited visits to the park while it’s open.
Fill up your Fairbanks winter with fun family activities like these, and you’ll taking the studded tires off your car before you know it.
North Star Ballet Information
World Ice Art Championships
Fairbanks Winter Guide 2010-11