February is the antithesis of tourist season in Kodiak, yet we trekked out there for a two week stint. My husband is currently building a research facility for ADF&G on the island. Kodiak is a huge island and known for its gigantic bears and fishing industry. The city of Kodiak itself only takes up a very small portion of the mostly wild island, with villages scattered along the coast.
Only an hour flight from Anchorage, we drove down to Homer and took the Alaska Marine Highway ferry in order to bring our truck and pup over with us. The boat ride is 9 hours... on a good day. Fortunately for us, both crossings were pretty calm sailing. We've heard horror stories of 20 ft. seas where if you reserved a private cabin, you couldn't even lie on the bunks with out hitting the ceiling. If you enjoy calm seas or have a stomach made of steal the ferry has a movie theater, a great cafeteria (with odd hours), a small play area for toddlers and a myriad of places to sit and take in a spectacular view.
Unfortunately while we were on the island, my son and I were suffering from a nasty cold. The people at the Kodiak Island Medical Center, run by Anchorage's own Providence Hospital were great when we had to bring our son in for pink eye. Knowing how contagious the cold we had could be, we didn't want to go out and spread the wealth. I'll share the itinerary we had and elaborate more on the things we did do. The weather was pretty awful too, even by Kodiak's standards.
Kodiak Wildlife Refuge center hold events for 3-5 year olds every Wednesday 10:30 – 11:15. We heard these are fabulous, and that even if you don't go to the event the facility is worth it alone. They have a lot of great programs for older kids, including a Salmon Camp during the summer that sounds fabulous.
The high school pool has open swim hours M, W, & F typically 6:30 – 8:30pm. Saturdays and Sundays too, but the hours vary depending on meets.
Fort Abercrombie trails are fabulous, bring your snowshoes if you are going in the winter. We took our dog and explored a bit http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/
The Kodiak Public Library provides many different opportunities for kids of all ages. We went to the story time. It was wonderful. The librarian read a Gingerbread Man story followed by gingerbread decorating.
- Game time for kids at 3:30 – 4:45 Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- Children’s movie on Friday, Feb 3 at 6:00 – 7:45
- Story time is every Thursday 11:00 – 11:30
Buskin River State Park - a great beach to go beach combing on. It is probably teaming with visitors during the summer, by the look of all the campsites there, however we saw very few people there, despite being there just about everyday to walk our pup. Aside from this beach there a little jems of beaches scattered all around.
Fossil Beach - the roads were in extremely poor condition during this visit, but my husband has been out to this beach where fossils are easily found in the cliffs at low tide. It is known for some great surfing if you have the right gear.
The Kodiak Information website has a great driving tour mapped out on it's website. It looks very much like the Alaska milepost, with every landmark noted along the way. Kodiak only has about 100 miles of road, but many trails and sights along the way.
Kid friendly restaurants: We found 2 that worked really well for us on this stay, Henry's and Java Flats. Henry's is standard pub fare, with very kid friendly waitresses. Java flats is a little ways outside of town, but they serve up a beautiful latte, great sandwiches and the most amazing cookies! Noodles the Thai restaurant was delicious, but not really kid friendly - no kids menu, and our little man wasn't feeling adventurous with his taste buds right after surviving his yucky cold.
Kodiak is a breath of fresh air, in that it isn't hooked to the grid like the rest of the world. It uses technology where it is appropriate and relies heavily on person to person contact. It is one place where word of mouth and the good old phone book are still your best reference tools.
We'll be heading back for the summer and will update again with all the opportunities that season has to offer. We're excited about fishing, hunting, camping, beach combing and hiking once our new little bundle of baby arrives this spring!