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Best Parks in Anchorage

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Kincaid Park is home to the city's largest moose population, but bipeds also enjoy the beauty of this former glacial area. With more than 1,400 acres (6.1 square kilometers), this wooded park has trails that wind throughout. Many interpretive sites and frequent postings allow for navigation through its beautiful, hilly expanse. You may access the park either from the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail or by Raspberry Road. There is a large interpretive visitor's center available and many wide open areas where festivals are held. These trails are home to local and national skiing competitions and have also hosted Olympic tryouts.

In 1970 this magnificent area was declared a state park. Located within the municipality of Anchorage, Chugach State Park includes roughly 500,000 acres (202,343 hectares) of the Chugach Range and the surrounding landscape. The Eklutna Lake is the park's most unique proposition that beautifully mirrors the surrounding environs over its glassy surface. With a 5,000 foot (1,524 meters) vertical rise and three major campgrounds to the north of Anchorage, this wilderness area is filled with wildlife including moose, wolves, brown and black bears and more. It's a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts offering a plethora of activities that allow one to get up, close and personal with nature.

When the "Good Friday" earthquake rocked Anchorage in March of 1964, the area that is now the park was an affluent residential area on the bluffs above Cook Inlet. The 9.2 earthquake dropped these homes into 30-foot crevasses and destroyed this entire area. Developed as a park years later, it carries monuments and reader boards with information on the great quake. The Tony Knowles Coastal Trail winds through the park.

A lovely playground with half moon sculptures, large picnic facility and one of the best playgrounds in the city, it is a long grassy area parallel to the Chester Creek Greenbelt trail. It acts as a pausing place for trail users, a play area for nearby residents and a social gathering place for family picnics. Whether you drive to the park to relax or use the trails for biking, rollerblading or walking, this is a delightful recreation spot with trees, grass and benches for people watching.

This grassy, garden strip (11 blocks long and one block wide) was designed as a fire protection strip for the downtown district. Later, it acted as a landing strip for the city. Now, it is a recreational area with eight tennis courts, space for flying kites, ball fields, basketball courts, volleyball courts, a skating rink, a steam engine and a Veteran's Memorial. Named after the 1929 Anchorage mayor, James Delaney, it hosts several festivals each year.

Spanning 110-acre (44.5 hectares), the Alaska Botanical Garden includes native perennials, an enclosed herb garden and an outdoor rock garden. Created in 1991 by volunteers, the garden has become an educational resource as well as a stunning showcase of Alaskan plants and wildflowers. Paths throughout allow for easy travel and a 1.2-mile (1.9 kilometer) hike provides views of the Chugach Mountains. One unusual feature is a still-used dog-mushing trail that travels through the garden.

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