UAF Hockey Kickoff and Five Other Don’t-Miss Attractions in Fairbanks this Fall

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university of alaska nanook male hockey player goes head to head for the puck against a rival team's goalie in order to score a goal
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The University of Alaska Fairbanks men’s ice hockey team kicks off its regular season against Western Michigan University at the Carlson Center on Friday, Oct. 18. A proud sponsor of the 2013-2014 UAF athletic season, it’s apparent that, at Princess Alaska Lodges, we love our Nanooks.

What is a Nanook, you might ask? The word is a derivation of the Inupiaq Eskimo word for polar bear. UAF hockey is undoubtedly a favorite Fairbanks activity, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg for things to do in Fairbanks in fall. Going beyond the ice rink, here are five more entertaining things to do this fall in Fairbanks.

1)   University of Alaska Museum of the North – Whether it’s Alaska’s rich history, natural wonders or world-class art that tickles your fancy, this top-rated, family-friendly Alaska destination has a little something for everyone. The museum recommends that you plan a visit of at least three hours to enjoy its wide variety of offerings. The museum is open year-round on the UAF campus.

2)   Aurora Ice Museum – During the fall months, the drive from Fairbanks to the Aurora Ice Museum alone would stand a chance of making our top five list, thanks to the stunning fall colors you witness on Chena Hot Springs Road. Created in 2004, the museum was built from more than 1,000 tons of ice and snow harvested from around the Chena Hot Springs Resort. The ice museum features ice sculptures created by 15-time world champion ice carver Steve Brice and his wife Heather, a six-time world champion herself. The museum also boasts a two-story observation tower, an igloo and much more. After touring the museum, relax at the Aurora Ice Bar with a signature appletini served in an ice martini glass.

3)   Santa Claus House – Prepare yourself for the coming holiday season with a trip to the Santa Claus House, appropriately located in North Pole just a short 20-minute drive from Fairbanks. Make sure to bring your camera to take photos in Santa’s sleigh, and don’t forget to say hello to Rudolph and the other reindeer. Starting on Nov. 2, you can even bring your Christmas wish list and talk to the big man himself.

4)   The Aurora Borealis – If you’ve ever been lucky enough to witness the aurora yourself, you know why this natural phenomenon made our top five and is on the bucket lists of travelers the world over. As temperatures dip and hours of sunlight wane, chances of seeing the aurora increase. At the Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge, the friendly staff will even wake you (upon request) at the sight of the aurora so you aren’t tossing and turning in fear of missing this natural wonder.

5)   Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum – The autophile in your life will love a trip to the northernmost automobile museum in America. The collections include more than 80 rare automobiles, including the Territory of Alaska’s first car!