These are the attractions that you can see when visiting Sitka. Click on the links below to see photos and read about each site.
Fortress of the Bear is a non-profit education and rescue center located on three quarters of an acre originally designed for orphaned Brown Bear cubs. The first cubs arrived in 2007, and ever since then the exhibit has been going strong. There is a large covered viewing deck for guests, where interpreters are on hand to explain history, management, and behavioral characteristics of bears in a naturalized setting. All ages enjoy this Sitka highlight!
The New Archangel Dancers are an all volunteer organization dedicated to preserving Sitka’s Russian history through the art of dance. Beginning in 1969, they perform folk dances from Russia and the surrounding areas. Using authentic music, costumes, and choreography, this all women’s dance troupe has an average of 100 performances each summer season for Sitka visitors and residents. The dancers perform at the Harrigan Centennial Hall, a beautiful convention center, built in 1967 to commemorate Alaska's centennial. Also seen here is the Sitka Historical Museum and a wildlife display.
Sitka Sound Science Center, a non profit organization, dedicated to scientific research and education, shares the beauty of Sitka tide pools through its lovely jewel and touch tanks where visitors are encouraged to get a hands on experience with the small organisms that make up the intertidal zone of our coastline. Visitors also learn about the salmon life cycle, and Alaska commercial salmon fisheries as they tour the state's only training and working hatchery here at the Science Center. Fun for kids and adults, the Science Center is a delightful, educational and fun place to visit.
The Russian Orthodox St. Michael’s Cathedral is referred to as the "Mother Cathedral of Orthodoxy for all of America”. Standing in the middle of downtown Sitka, it has been a major part of the community from days of the Russians to present day. With its onion dome, bells and spire topped by a gold Russian cross outside, its collection of religious icons and historical archives inside, it is a must for all to see.
The Russian Bishop’s House is one of only five surviving examples of Russian colonial architecture in North America. It was built in 1842 for Russian Orthodox Bishop Veniaminov, and served as his residence, and later as a school, seminary and orphanage. The building has been restored to the original appearance and houses many of the original furnishings and icons.
Sheldon Jackson Museum is named for its founder, Reverend Sheldon Jackson, a Presbyterian missionary and educator. During the late 1800’s he collected artifacts during his travels around the territory. Represented are the Athabascans, Haidas, Tlingits, Eskimos and Aleuts. The museum was the first concrete building in the State of Alaska, built to preserve and protect his prize possessions. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Sitka National Historical Park was established to commemorate the 1804 Battle of Sitka, between the Russians and the Alaska Natives. Beautiful coastal trails and wooded pathways grace the grounds of this 115 acre park. It features totem poles, a cultural center, exhibits, and demonstrations by Native artisans. Guests love to spend time inside the building and then enjoy a walk by the beach.
The Alaska Raptor Center is Alaska’s only full service avian hospital and educational facility. You will be greeted by knowledgeable staff who will introduce you to the facility. Start your tour with a visit to the 20,000 sq. ft. Bald Eagle Flight Training Center where you will be able to view bald eagles in various stages of their rehabilitation. From the Flight Training Center you can see the clinic, meet the 21 “raptors in residence” including bald & golden eagles, owls, hawks and falcons in the outdoor habitats and possibly take in a fascinating live eagle presentation. If time allows, you can walk the ¼ mile nature trail along the Indian River and out across the muskeg. Be sure to bring your camera as photographs are not only allowed, they’re encouraged!
Castle Hill – On October 18, 1867, Russia transferred its Alaska claims to the United States. Every year Alaskans, history buffs, and out of town dignitaries attend a reenactment ceremony of the transfer on Castle Hill. Also, on July 4, 1959, the 49th star flag, for the first time was raised on Castle Hill over Sitka and the new State of Alaska. Great views and photo opportunity.