Past Family Days


Past Family Days



Travel Family Day (April 2024): Guests explored how and why people and animals travel! They met ornithologists, saw museum objects, investigated human-powered forms of transportation with UAF Outdoor Adventures, decorated paper bag backpacks, created migration mobiles, designed and tested boats, made mini airplanes, and more.


Person standing behind a table showing a pair of snowshoes and a model sled to two children.

Alaska Stories Family Day (February 2024):
Families discovered Alaska through storytelling! They met archivists, explored the Black in Alaska special exhibit,  created mini museum exhibits and discovered stories behind museum objects on display, investigated how scientists tell stories with fossils, made storybooks, told their own stories with storyknives, and more.

 A child and adult make storybooks with construction paper at a table in a museum lobby.

Rodents Family Day (January 2024):
Visitors explored the world of Alaska rodents! They met mammalogists, saw museum specimens, learned about beavers' effects on the landscape, played a rodent guessing game, investigated rodents in Arctic food webs, made model rodent burrows, created rodent habitat art, and more.

Child making art with rodent-shaped foam stamps and paint.

Arctic Life Family Day (November 2023): 
Kids and adults investigated how life survives and thrives in the Arctic! They met museum researchers, saw objects and specimens, explored Arctic adaptations, made model snow goggles and snowshoes, played a camouflage game, created Arctic landscape art, and more.

A child looks at a variety of animal pelts on a table. An adult stands behind the table.


Pollinators Family Day (September 2023): Guests explored the importance of pollinators in Alaska. They met entomologists, saw beekeeping equipment, played an interactive pollinator game, created clay insects, made pollinator art, observed specimens under a microscope, and more.

Child placing pom poms in a foam flower model, as an adult looks on. Illustrations of flowers are visible on a whiteboard.


Feathers Family Day (April 2023): Families investigated the fascinating world of feathers. They met ornithologists, explored flight with the Alaska Songbird Institute, discovered different ways people use feathers, made feather art, sculpted clay dinosaurs with feathers, and more.

Closeup of a child's hand using a feather to paint a piece of paper. The paper has purple paint on it.


DNA Family Day (February 2023): Visitors explored the building blocks of life by meeting museum researchers, investigating how scientists use DNA in their work, creating DNA models, extracting DNA from wheat, playing a DNA guessing game, and more.

Two scientists stand behind a table with a DNA timeline, DNA model, and various pipettes and other lab equipments. Several kids and adults are looking at the display.


Ice Age Family Day (January 2023): Kids and families discovered ancient Alaska! They met museum archaeologists and paleontologists, saw artifacts and specimens, watched a flintknapping demonstration, created Ice Age art, made model fossils, and more.

 An adult and a child look at a fossil bison skull on a table. Behind the table is a paleontologist talking to guests.


Boreal Forest Family Day (November 2022): Guests explored the environment of Interior Alaska! They met botanists and saw specimens, investigated wildfires with the Alaska Fire Science Consortium and Alaska EPSCoR, learned about cultural connections to the boreal forest, tried an I Spy hunt, created forest art, and more. 

Child looking at a table covered in small and large pieces of tree bark. Curator Steffi Ickert-Bond is standing behind the table.

Water Family Day (September 2022):
Visitors explored the importance of water to life in Alaska. They met museum researchers, tested water quality with the Tanana Valley Watershed Association, explored a stream table with the Fairbanks Soil & Water Conservation District, went on a scavenger hunt, made model watersheds, and more.

 A child looks through a magnifying glass at several animal figurines next to a tub of water.


Whales Family Day (April 2022): Kids and adults explored whales in culture, science, and art. They met mammalogists, saw  objects from the collections, watched the Arctic Currents film, tried a blubber glove experiment, made ocean art, picked up supplies for take-home activities, and more. 

Children's hands making designs on black scratch art paper. A piece of whale baleen sits next to the paper.


Big Things Family Day (February 2022):  From mammoths to mountains, families discovered big things at the museum. They met entomologists, played a size sorting game, contributed to an art wall, made suncatchers, picked up supplies to do activities at home, and more.

 Children look at a replica dino bone and moose antler on a table.


Tools Family Day (January 2022):  Visitors discovered how tools have been made and used throughout history. They met archaeologists, saw tools from the collections, went on an I Spy hunt in the galleries, made art with different tools, picked up supplies to do activities at home, and more.

Several visitors looking at tools on a table in the museum lobby.


Animals in Art (November 2021): Guests explored animal-related art in the museum, went on I Spy hunt, drew their own animal artwork, and picked up supplies to do more art activities at home.

Children's hands applying colorful tape to create a frame around a drawing of a bird.


Berries (September 2021): Presented in partnership with the Winterberry Project, visitors met berry scientists, saw objects from the collections, investigated berry microbes, went on a berry scavenger hunt, and picked up supplies to do more berry activities at home.

 Two adults and a child stand at a table under a canopy outside, making a berry recipe book.


Fossils (February 2020): Kids and adults met paleo artist Ray Troll, explored fossils in the Cruisin' the Fossil Coastline special exhibit, decorated Ice Age animal puppets, excavated bones, created paleo art, and more.

Visitors around a table in the Gallery of Alaska, making animal puppets.


Walrus  (January 2020): Visitors met walrus researchers, saw specimens from the collections, experimented with blubber gloves, explored the importance of walruses in Alaska cultures, made walrus masks, and more.

The Curator of Mammals shows walrus bones to two children.


Stars (November 2019): Guests experimented with hands-on astronomy demonstrations, explored how different cultures view the night sky, made solar viewers, and created glow-in-the-dark artwork.

A young child sits at a table, decorating construction paper with star-shaped sequins.


Animals in Art (September 2019): Visitors explored how animals inspire artists! They saw art from the collections, created animal masks, sketched scientific specimens, and made fish prints.

Children stand around a table making animal masks.


Soil (April 2019): Visitors met soil scientists and archaeologists, explored the properties of permafrost, looked at soil under microscopes, created artwork with soil paint, and planted seeds.

Two children examine soil samples under a microscope.


Ravens (March 2019): This Family Day focused on ravens in culture, art, and science. Guests met a raven researcher, read and wrote raven stories, created raven artwork, and competed in a Raven Olympics game.

An adult and child sitting at a table playing a game.


Earthquakes (February 2019): Kids and adults explored the science of earthquakes with researchers from the Alaska Earthquake Center, learned how to prepare emergency kits, and created earthquake-inspired art.

Lea Gardine shows hands-on earthquake demonstrations to visitors.


Gold (November 2018): Visitors met geologists, investigated the importance of gold in Alaska history, saw objects from the Ethnology & History collection, created gold-themed artwork, and tried panning for faux gold.

Geologist Jaenell Manchester helps a young visitor pan for gold in a plastic bin.


Berries (September 2018): Guests met berry experts, learned about the Winterberry Citizen Science project, created berry field guides, decorated berry recipe books, and explored the role of berries in Alaska cultures. 

A volunteer explains an activity to children at Berries Family Day.


Stories (April 2018): Visitors listened to a Yup’ik storyteller, discovered stories of the past with archaeologists, recorded interviews with the ScienceTapes project, made storybooks, and used storyknives to tell their own stories.

Yup'ik storyteller Marty Hintz helps children play a drum.


Butterflies (March 2018): Kids and adults met butterfly experts, explored the Kenelm Philip collection, investigated the life cycle of butterflies, made butterfly art, and tried on butterfly costumes. 

Two children pose in butterfly costumes.


Whales (February 2018): At this Family Day, visitors could meet whale researchers and examine specimens, explore Arctic food webs, create scrimshaw art, and learn about the importance of whales in Alaska cultures. 

Two children put their hands in a tub of cold water to test the effects of blubber.


Dinos & Fossils (November 2017): Guests saw and touched real fossils, met museum paleontologists, explored Ice Age mammals, dug for fossils, made fossil timelines, and created dinosaur art.

A child uncovers fossils in a tub full of sand.


Bears (September 2017): This Family Day featured exploration of bears in art, science, and culture. Visitors saw polar bear art, went on a Bear Story Quest, investigated bear specimens, and learned about bear safety.

An adult and child examine a bear skull.

Family Days have been a tradition at the museum since 2010!

For more stories and pictures from Family Days and other events, visit UAMN's Tumblr page.


Return to Family Days page.


TOTE logo.


Museum Family Days are proudly presented by TOTE.