"Sled Dog Demonstration at Denali" Top 5 Page for this destination Alaska Tourist Trap Tip by PA2AKgirl
Alaska Tourist Traps: 30 reviews and 23 photos
I know a lot of people are going to hate that I'm putting this into the tourist trap category but so be it. I was not impressed. Denali's frontcountry is crazy in the summer and while I do like that people really can't drive themselves into the park, the insanity of the bus system to the sled dogs was irritating. First, you'd think they would have a counting system down but no, we had to wait for the bus to fill up, to be over capacity, to get the extra people off and then drive about 1 mile an hour to the demonstration. No big deal, really...on the travel channel, the whole thing looks pretty cool and well worth this public transportation confusion.
But then you get there, you can visit with the dogs (if they want to visit with you) either in cages or outside of a fenced area until the presentation starts. Then you go over to the bleachers and listen to a man talk about the dogs and what they do for about 95% of the program. The last couple minutes are devoted to showing you how the sled and dog team operate. I've been to many national parks, I've been a national park ranger who's given programs...this guy did not have public speaking qualities. It wasn't just me who noticed this...it was hard to ignore that his speech was monotonous--yet, he still managed to end each sentence or thought in question form.
I'm not sure what we were expecting, it just seemed a bit more involved and interactive than what we got. Oh yeah, and halfway through the program, a man of high self importance got a phone call and rather than silencing his phone, he talked loudly about something work related. Everyone told him to be quiet but he didn't care...it was completely rude and disrespectful. Not the parks fault, but it did take away from the program and because it's the most popular of sled dog demonstrations, you have a higher chance of running into someone like this guy.
Unique Suggestions: Try to get to the first presentation...I think both the ranger and dogs will be in better form. By early afternoon on the day we went, the dogs wanted to rest and it just seemed like the ranger hit play on a prerecorded talk. Also, there were 3 whole buses of people attending this particular demonstration.
Fun Alternatives: If you're traveling individually...not with a tour group...try out some of the other locations for sled dogs--they're smaller, more personal and all over the state. You may even be able to take a ride. Both on the Denali Highway (at Crazy Dog Kennels) and in Seward (just as 2 examples), there are kennels that let you hold the puppies. Better yet, come in the winter and see the dogs in their element.*
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