Hey there, adventurers and trivia buffs! Ready for an epic journey into the heart of the coolest state in the U.S.? No, we’re not talking about Hawaii; we’re heading north to the breathtaking, frosty expanses of Alaska!
1. Moose Paradise
You thought we were done with wildlife? Nah! Alaska’s got the world’s highest density of moose. Get those cameras ready!
In fact, the moose is Alaska’s official state land mammel.
2. Hot or Not
Alaska holds the U.S. record for both the highest and lowest temperatures. Pack your swim trunks and your parka, just in case!
Hot, but that that Hot
The hottest temperature ever recorded in Alaska was 100°F (37.8°C) in Fort Yukon in 1915. The only time that record came close to being broken was in June 1969, when it got to a toasty 98°F (36.7°C) at Richardson.
Now, That’s Cold!
The lowest temperature ever recorded in Alaska and in the US was a painfully cold -80°F (-62°C) at Prospect Creek Camp on January 23, 1971. That’s almost as cold as the average temperature on the surface of Mars. Temperatures on Mars average about -81°F (-62°C).
3. Floating Mail
In Ketchikan, Alaska, they’ve got a floating post office. Rain, shine, or high water, your postcards will be delivered!
4. Home to Ice Giants
With around 100,000 glaciers covering 5% of the state, Alaska’s basically the Ice Queen’s paradise!
According to the Geographic Names Information System, there are roughly 664 named glaciers in Alaska.
ALASKA HAS NORTH AMERICA’S LARGEST GLACIER
The largest glacier in Alaska is the Bering Glacier complex, which, combined with the Bagley Icefield, covers about about 1900 square miles (5200 square kilometers).
Glaciers are Alaska’s number one tourist attraction.
5. Aurora Borealis Central
Fairbanks, Alaska, is one of the best seats in the house to catch the Northern Lights. Streaks of colorful light in the sky? Yes, please!
The best months to see them in Alaska are the darker months between mid-August and mid-April, with March and September being particularly good.
6. Lake Overload
Forget Minnesota, Alaska’s the true land of lakes – over 3 million to be exact. Now, that’s a lot of fishing!
Only about 3,197 of the lakes have official names.
With all of this water, it should come as no surprise that Alaska is home more than 40 percent of the surface water resources in the whole US. No wonder Alaska is so boat-friendly and has so many seaplanes.
7. Bears, Bears Everywhere
Alaska is a bear-lover’s dream. You’ll find 98% of the U.S. brown bear population here. But remember, only bear hugs from a safe distance!
Black, Grizzly & Polar – Alaska Has All Three Types of North American Bears
Alaska has so many bears that it works out to one bear for every 21 people. All three species of North American bears—polar, black and grizzly—live and thrive in Alaska.
8. Jade, Sweet Jade
Alaska’s state gem is jade. Talk about going green!
Jade was designated as the state gemstone in 1968. Jade is a type of hard, usually green-colored mineral that has been valued for thousands of years by various cultures around the world, including the Indigenous peoples of Alaska.
Jade is found in several locations throughout Alaska. It is primarily used for jewelry and ornamental purposes, although in the past it was also used for tools and weapons.
Jade is sometimes referred to as the “stone of heaven” or the “emperor’s stone,” because it was believed to have mystical properties and was often used in religious and ceremonial contexts.
9. Monster Veggies
Thanks to non-stop summer sunlight, Alaska grows some monstrous veggies. Ever seen a 138-pound cabbage? You could here!
Alaska’s Matanuska Valley is famous for its giant vegetables, such as cabbages, pumpkins, carrots, turnips, and beets, which grow enormous thanks to the area’s long summer days, rich soil, and cool climate.
Some of the vegetables have broken world records, with some cabbages weighing over 100 pounds (45 kg) and some pumpkins weighing over 2,000 pounds (907 kg).
To check out Alaska’s record-breaking vegetables in person, it’s worth visiting Alaska’s State Fair in Palmer, Alaska in late August/early September.
10. No Roads to This Capital
Juneau is the only U.S. capital you can’t drive to. Boat or plane, folks, boat or plane!
11. More Than Just Big
Alaska is HUGE!
Alaska is about one-fifth the size of the entire Lower 48 US states. It seems like an understatement to say that Alaska is massive. If Alaska were a separate country, it would be in the top 20 biggest countries in the world.
Alaska is the largest state in the United States.
Let’s talk numbers to give you a better idea of just how massive Alaska is. Alaska is about 663,000 square miles (1,717,162 square kilometers) or about 365,000,000 acres. Texas, the second largest US state, is just under 269,000 square miles. Texas would fit into Alaska twice, with room to spare. In fact, if you combined Texas, Montana and California, Alaska would still be bigger.
12. Abundance of Bald Eagles
Alaska is home to the world’s largest population of bald eagles. Visit the Alaska Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve to see them in action.
Before 2007, bald eagles were on the endangered species list elsewhere, particularly where they had been decimated by pesticides, but they were never deemed endangered in Alaska.
DID YOU KNOW? BALD EAGLES CHIRP, NOT SCREECH
Bald eagles make a chirping sound, not the screech that is often dubbed into movies/tv shows.
Bald eagles have a distinctive sound that is often compared to a series of high-pitched whistles or chirps. Their usual call can be described as soft, staccato whistles — a rhythmic kleek kik ik ik ik, somewhat similar to a gull’s call. These vocalizations serve as a means of communication among couples and between parents and their young.
Contrary to popular belief, the powerful, piercing cry often associated with eagles in films is not typically the call of a bald eagle. More often than not, that intense scream is attributed to a red-tailed hawk.
Amazing Alaska! Fun Fact Book
13. The Official Languages of Alaska
Alaska recognizes 20 native languages alongside English, promoting cultural diversity.
In 1998, English was designated the official state language. But in 2014, a bill added 20 Alaska Native tongues as co-official state languages. In 2021, 15.7 percent of Alaskans identified as American Indian or Alaska Native, the highest of any state.
14. Ice Worms and Alaskan Glaciers
Ice worms are small, dark-colored worms that live on glaciers in coastal mountains of Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California. They move through the ice using hair-like setae on their bodies and generate their own body heat to survive in sub-zero temperatures. Although not harmful to humans, they can be a nuisance to climbers and hikers as they tend to crawl onto clothing and gear, and their bodies release a foul odor when they die.
15. Alaska is home to the only national park in the United States that's located within the Arctic Circle.
Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve is located in Alaska’s northeastern corner, and it’s the only national park in the United States that’s located within the Arctic Circle.
16. Alaska is home to the tallest mountain in North America.
Mount Denali, formerly known as Mount McKinley, is the tallest mountain in North America, reaching an elevation of 20,310 feet. It’s also the third tallest mountain in the world outside of the Himalayas.
The Indigenous people of that area, the Koyukon Athabaskans, long ago gave the peak the name of Dinale, or Denali, which means “high” or “tall.”
17. Alaska has more islands than any other US State
Alaska has 2,670 named islands, and who knows how many unnamed islands. Big and small, they all help make Alaska the largest state. Florida comes in second place for number of islands.
18. There are only two U.S. states with smaller populations than Alaska
The only two U.S. states with smaller populations than Alaska are: Vermont with 650,000, and Wyoming with 580,000.
With roughly 292,500 people, Anchorage is the most populated Alaskan city. Fairbanks ranks number two, with about 33,000 people. Coming in third is the state’s capital, Juneau, with 32,000 people.
19. Alaska has 8 National Parks
Alaska’s eight national parks make up two-thirds of the land administered by the entire National Park System—roughly 54 million acres in all.
ONLY THREE OF ALASKA’S EIGHT NATIONAL PARKS ARE ACCESSIBLE BY ROAD
Visitors can travel by road only to Denali, Kenai Fjords and Wrangell St. Elias national parks. The other five are accessible only by boat or air.
20. Alaska has Not One, but Two Official State Holidays
Like most US states, Alaska has a state holiday, but unlike other states, it has not just one, but two official state holidays: Seward’s Day and Alaska Day.
Seward’s Day is marked on the last Monday of March. It celebrates the purchase of Alaska from Russia by the United States on March 30, negotiated by then–secretary of state William H. Seward.
Alaskans celebrate this day with parades, picnics, fish fries, fun runs, and other activities to embrace their state’s history and heritage and have a good time with loved ones.
Alaska Day is celebrated in Alaska on October 18. It commemorates the official transfer of Alaska from Russia to the United States on October 18, 1867. The holiday is celebrated with parades, speeches, and other events, and serves as a time for Alaskans to reflect on the state’s history and heritage.
There you have it, our top 20 fun and interesting facts about Alaska! From its natural wonders to its unique history, Alaska is a fascinating place that continues to captivate adventurers and travelers alike. Whether you’re planning your Alaskan cruise or simply curious about the Last Frontier, we hope these lesser-known facts about Alaska have surprised and delighted you!
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