Pioneer Park
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Pioneer Park
Alaskaland Entrance

The 44 acre  Pioneer Park was built for the Alaska 1967 Centennial Exposition. It was later renamed Alaskaland, a name it held until October 2001 . 

The following is from the park's website:

History of Pioneer Park

In late 1960/early 1961, the Pioneers of Alaska requested public land from the State of Alaska. The plan for the land was to create a tourist attraction that showed historical Alaska exhibits. The Pioneers of Alaska formed a non-profit Pioneer Memorial Park, Inc.) for the purpose of pursuing the Park project.

 In 1965, the Alaska 67 or A-67 committee requested that the park be used for the 100th year celebration of Alaska’s purchase from Russia. A-67 requested federal funding to develop the Pioneer Memorial State Historical Park. A-67 subleased the Park from Pioneer Memorial Park Inc. and the Park was opened as “Alaska 67 Centennial Exposition”. In 1968 Pioneer Memorial Park, Inc. quitclaimed the Park to the State of Alaska. That same day the State quitclaimed the Park to the City of Fairbanks. On May 1, 1968, Mayor Red Boucher of Fairbanks signed a letter to the Prime Minister of Ottawa, Canada, stating, “Alaskaland” is the new name for the 40-acre Exposition resulting from the A-67 Centennial Site in Fairbanks last year.

Here you will find a taste of just about everything in Alaska, from a riverboat to a salmon bake to a Native village. The buttons on the left lead to pages treating certain subjects in more depth.

Pioneer Park is located near downtown Fairbanks off Airport Way. Free parking is provided while visiting or attending events. Parking for self-contained RV's is $12 a night for a maximum of 4 consecutive nights. Potable water and 24 hr restroom facilities are furnished, with a free dump station within 1/2 block, but there are no hook-ups available. Reservations are not required, but you should register at the Riverboat Nenana upon arrival.

There is no fee to get into the park, but there may be a small entrance fee for museums inside. The park is open year round, but most concessions are only open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, from noon to 8 p.m. In 2011, the following were listed on their site:

Arts In The Park
•Bear Gallery
•Gazebo Nights (June-August)
•TIPS






 
Museums
•Alaska Native Museum
•Kitty Hensley House
•Pioneer Air Museum
•Pioneer Museum
•Riverboat Nenana
•Tanana Valley Railroad Museum
•Wickersham House
Shops
•Betsy's Photography
•Bush Babies
•Bush Babies Too
•CHARMS by CJ
•Fairbanks Arts Association
•Just Originals
•World Eskimo-Indian Olympics
•Wild Interior
Attractions
•Alaska Outdoor Rentals & Guides
•Bear Gallery
•Big Stampede Show
•Crooked Creek Railroad
•40 Below Fairbanks
•Mini-Golf Fairbanks
•Red & Roela's Carousel
•Square Dance Hall
•The Palace Theater
Restaurants
•Alaskan Salmon Bake
•Bulgolgi House
•Frosty Paws
•Gold Rush Ice Cream Parlour
•Grizzly's Tent Camp Foods
•Souvlaki
•The Bag Ladies of Fairbanks



 
 

In addition to tourist attractions open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Pioneer Park  is also home to the Alaskaland Civic Center and Theatre, and the Farthest North Square and Round Dance Center, which are both open year round. There are three museums, a 40-foot antique carousel and an old-time saloon

A total of 29 cabins were moved to the site to form Gold Rush Town. The cabins form a unique walk through Fairbanks' history. They include the Kitty Hensley House, Doc Stearn's cabin, Judge Wickersham's House, and the original First Presbyterian Church. Georgia Lee's house, thought to have once been an establishment of ill repute, is headquarters to the park office. The building started out in Nenana in the 1920's, but was moved to Fourth Avenue in 1928. After its move to Pioneer Park, its interior was refinished "in the stylish manner reminiscent of its heyday".

The other cabins have also been refurbished as close as possible to their original condition and are occupied by local merchants offering an assortment of refreshments, gifts, and Alaskana. For a more complete list of cabin offerings, follow this link to Alaskaland's Website.

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Palace Saloon & Chena Hotel
Also located in Gold Rush Town is the historic Palace Saloon and the Chena Hotel.

In 1906,  fire destroyed most of the downtown buildings, but the Palace Hotel survived in nearly its original condition. In 1957, it was renamed the Chena Hotel, and  was moved to Alaskaland in 1967, where it stands across the street from the Palace Saloon.

The "Golden Heart Revue," a collection of musical comedy sketches, is performed nightly at the Palace Saloon. It seeks to use humor to answer the question of why anyone would build the city of Fairbanks.

The show begins at 8:15 p.m. daily. Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for children ages 3 to 12. Call (907) 456-5960 for reservations. Go to the events calendar to check on opening and closing dates.

In addition to Gold Rush Town, Pioneer Park includes covered picnic shelters and a large grassy field and playground area for travelers to stretch their legs and relax. The park is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, although certain buildings are utilized year 'round.

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"S.S. Nenana"Riverboat Nenana at Alaskaland
The riverboat S.S. Nenana, which once sailed Alaska's rivers, is permanently docked at the park & features a diorama of the points of call in its heyday. The Nenana is  listed as a National Historic Landmark, and has been the subject of a five-year structural restoration project. They offer inexpensive guided tours.

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Harding Rail Car
The railroad car used by President Warren G. Harding when he visited the territory of Alaska in the early 1920's has been restored and rests at Pioneer Park.

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Museums

Air Museum
Pioneer Air Museum Gold Dome at Alaskaland The Pioneer Air Museum, housed in a large gold-domed building, chronicles the development of flight in Alaska.

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Native Village
The Alaska Native Village Museum takes a look at Alaska through the Athabascan culture. It houses such Native artifacts as a wolverine parka and traditional tools. A mural depicts life along the river.

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Pioneer MuseumPioneer Hall
The Pioneer Museum offers a glimpse of Frontier Alaska. It is located in the Pioneer Hall, in Gold Rush Town. A companion display, The Big Stampede Show will give you a real feel for the hardships faced by those involved in the Gold Rush, as it takes you on a narrated tour of the Gold Rush Stampede.

[Picture courtesy of Julie Coghill.]

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Railroad No. 1
The Crooked Creek & Whiskey Island Railroad, a train modeled on the one that used to carry supplies north from Nenana to Fairbanks takes visitors on a short loop around Pioneer Park, thanks to work by the Friends of the Tanana Valley Railroad . They are restoring the original Engine No. 1 which was used on the Tanana Valley Railroad.

The cost is $2 for adults and $1 for children ages 4 to 12, children under 4 and the handicapped ride free.

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Alaska Salmon BakeAlaska Salmon Bake
The Alaska Salmon Bake, located at the west end of Pioneer Park, in "Mining Valley" is known statewide for generous portions of King salmon, steaks, and ribs grilled over an outdoor alder wood fire and rounded out with deep-fried halibut, baked beans, salad and blueberry cake. The coals are hot from 5 to 9 p.m. There is indoor seating available.

Alaska Salmon Bake will be open Mid-May thru Mid-September, 2011

2011 Rates
The Alaska Salmon Bake
Dinner is served nightly from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m
.
(*Add $6.00 per person if Alaska Salmon Bake provides transportation)
  Rate
All you care to eat Slow Roasted Prime Rib, Fire Grilled Salmon, and Bering Sea Cod

Dinner includes all you care to eat salad bar, baked beans, rolls, dessert, and beverages.
Beer and Wine are available at extra cost.
$31.00*

 
Children 12 and under
2 Hot Dogs, salad bar, beverage and dessert
or
All You Can Eat Childs plate

$6.00

$15.00

View of Mining Valley

If you are early, you can explore the working sluice box and cannons and learn a bit about mining while you wait.

The Salmon Bake is open from  mid May through mid Sept. For information call (907) 452-7274.  http://www.akvisit.com/salmon.html

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Civic Center
The largest building in Pioneer Park, the Civic Center houses a 384 seat theater, art gallery and exhibition room. New art exhibits are offered monthly.  It was renamed "The Alaska Centennial Center for the Arts," but it is still known affectionately as the "Pickle Barrel" by locals. Check the park's schedule of events.

Downstairs for 1999 (at least until October 31) is a photo display (Albert Johnson, 1905-1917) of old time Fairbanks. Viewing hours M-Sat 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun noon-8 p.m. Upstairs in the Bear Gallery, until June 27, is "R.A.G.S. for all Seasons", a display of art-to-wear, quilts and jewelry, etc. Gallery hours 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.

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Square & Round Dance Hall
The Farthest North Square & Round Dance Center was completed in 1981. Area dance clubs keep the center busy nearly every night, and the clubs welcome visiting dancers to dance with them.

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Recreation

Carousel
The merry-go-round ($1 a ride) features the music of an 1890 Berni band organ with 100 years of original music. (Built sometime between 1915 and 1920, the carousel was brought to Fairbanks from Kirkwood, Ill.)

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Playground & Picnic Shelters
There is a large playground and picnic area in the middle of Pioneer Park. Numerous shelters are available for organized functions, or may be used for casual picnickers when not reserved ahead by others.

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Mini Golf
Pioneer Park has two 18-hole miniature golf courses right in the middle of the park, near the playground. The course is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day.

For more information contact (907) 459-1087.

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Hours of Operation
Pioneer Park is open 24 hours a day, though the Gold Rush Town shops, restaurants, carousel and railroad are open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily during the summer season which begins with Memorial Day and extends until Labor Day.

The Palace Theatre and Saloon's "Golden Heart Revue" plays at 8:15 p.m. nightly from May 15 through September 14. (Reservations required). The Salmon Bake serves from 5 to 9 p.m. daily, same dates as the Revue.

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Alaskaland Museums ] Engine #1 ] Harding Rail Car ] Kitty Hensley House ] Square Dance Center ] Palace Saloon ] S. S. Nenana ] Wickersham's House ]
For more information about the Alaskaland Pioneer Park, write to:

Alaskaland (or Pioneer Park)
Parks & Recreation, F.N.S.B.
P.O. Box 71267
Fairbanks, Alaska 99707-1267

Or call (907) 459-1087

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