On the 19th day of our family road trip across the U.S.A. our Disney Wonder cruise to Alaska made its last port of call in the tiny town of Ketchikan, Alaska, home to a national lumberjack school, capital of salmon fishing and headquarters to the world’s largest collection of Native American totem poles.
Saxman Native Village Totem Pole Park
We started our day with a short bus ride to the Saxman Native Village Totem Pole Park. The village features a short Native American dance performance, a chance to see totem pole carvers at work in their workshop and a very photo friendly visit to a small park featuring replicas of famous totem poles from the region. Frankly the Saxman Native Village excursion was good for adults like Angela and I because we love all things related to history and culture but the pace was too slow for younger children like ours.
The Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show
The second part of our day at Ketchikan featured one of our kids’ favorite activities in Alaska as we attended the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show. The fast-paced, highly interactive show consists of a fun series of log pushing, cutting, climbing and rolling competitions between two teams of two lumberjack men.
Throughout the games, lumberjacks frequently pulled kids from the audience to participate in various activities. My son Jonathan was beside himself when one of the lumberjacks chose him as his teammate in a competition to see which team would saw through a piece of log first. Jonathan’s team won and he was given a wooden axe signed by all the lumberjacks to commemorate his victory.
One Man’s Culinary Boredom with Salmon
When you come to Ketchikan, make sure you make time to eat salmon. This is the hub of Alaska’s salmon industry and there’s virtually no way you can go wrong trying salmon here. Our excursion’s director was a Filipino who lives in Ketchikan and he says that salmon is so utterly abundant in this port that it’s unappealing to locals. Ketchikanites are very creative with salmon dishes but most of them favor meat and other foods because they are more exotic.
One man’s culinary boredom is another’s treasure.
Forget Internet Service
I had been warned that Internet service aboard the Disney Wonder was slow to non-existent and those predictions proved to be 110 percent true. The best times to TRY to get on the Internet is at the ports but I would even say to not even count on a good signal then either. Internet service is not free aboard the ship and even if you got your cell provider to extend mobile wifi to your device it may not be worth it. The main reason why the Internet is exceedingly bad in most of Alaska is the same reason you go there: because Alaska is remote, sparsely populated and has tons of signal blocking mountains and glaciers. Phone service is equally poor.