Skagway is charming. It reminded me of the fictional town of Storybrooke on the television show, Once Upon a Time. It's so darn cute and filled with more things than we had time to do. On our previous Alaska cruise, Skagway was not one of ports, we visited Sitka instead. Sitka was lovely, but if you're planning a cruise, I highly recommend picking an itinerary that includes Skagway.
Our Ruby Princess Skagway picture, with a bald eagle and a fisherman.
Pictures right off of the dock.
The local news.
Pretty summer wild flowers.
Skagway was important during the late 1800's, as prospectors traveled through to Canada for the Klondike Gold Rush in the Yukon. The town grew and built a notoriety for lawlessness and immoral behavior. John W. Nordstrom spent a few years in Skagway, before settling in Seattle to start his shoe business, which would grow into the Nordstrom retail empire.
We had several hours before our afternoon excursion, so without a plan, we set out to explore the town. We took a lot of pictures.
Sugar Mamas sells cupcakes and hot dogs. On the recommendation of the employees, I tried a rhubarb cupcake. I think it may have been the first time that I've ever eaten rhubarb in any form. It was delicious.
One of the must-see attractions in Skagway is The Days of 98' Show. We saw this as an optional excursion, but did not pre-book it. We were drawn in by the ticket sellers on the street, promising a family-friendly, fun show.
Tickets were twenty-five for adults and twelve fifty for kids for the hour long show. When we shelled out the money, we thought it was a little steep, but we were also in vacation spending mode.
That said, the show was worth every penny. It was one of my favorite things that we did on our vacation. It was highly entertaining and we all loved it.
The show is about Soapy Smith (Bill McCarthy), a con-man who lived in Skagway during the late 1800's. The show has been running continuously since 1923, when steamships first started bringing tourists to Skagway.
The Days of 98' Show is a musical- comedy with a dose of local History. It is very audience participatory. Your chances of being pulled on stage are fairly high, especially when the theater isn't full. It was about half-full during our performance. Don't think that you can hide in the back either, they will find you.
Normally, this would scare me off, but I actually had a lot of fun when I was pulled on stage to dance the can-can. I thought I did pretty well considering I was bundled up in cold-weather clothes and I was in pain from sciatica. The best part of the video is hearing Dan and the kids laughing.
After the show. we ate lunch in The Red Onion Saloon: a former brothel. We didn't do it with the kids, but they have tours of the brothel. The restaurant has a lot of character and it was jammed with tourists. The food was good, but I think the ambiance is really what sells the place. It was like being in an episode of Deadwood.
If you're traveling with children, you must stop by The Trail Center: Klondike Gold Rush International Historical Park.
The Trail Center offers interactive educational exhibits geared towards children, explaining life during the Klondike Gold Rush. It's small (we spent about thirty minutes) and it's free. Zoe and Felix are from Sweden, so they were unfamiliar with this part of North American history, that I had learned at their age. Dan and I each took a kid and went through the exhibits. It's very well done and worth doing. When they finished, they were given a short quiz by a park ranger and earned a National Historical Park pin and sticker. I had no idea that this was a thing with our National Parks, but it's a wonderful way to teach kids. It's fun and interesting. Heck, even if you're not traveling with kids, it's worth popping in to take a look.
In Skagway: Part Two, our excursion to an Iditarod training camp and husky puppies!