Southeast Alaska Discovery Center


Three large totems greet you in the lobby of this center run by the National Park Service (NPS), while a school of silver salmon suspended from the ceiling leads you toward a slice of re-created temperate rainforest. Upstairs, the exhibit hall features sections on Southeast Alaska’s ecosystems and Alaska Native traditions.

You can even view wildlife here: there’s a spotting scope trained on Deer Mountain for mountain goats, while underwater cameras in Ketchikan Creek let you watch thousands of salmon struggling upstream to spawn.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Ketchikan attractions

1. Tongass Historical Museum

0.11 MILES

Houses a collection of local historical and Alaska Native artifacts, many dealing with Ketchikan’s fishing industry. More interesting is the impressive…

2. Creek Street

0.13 MILES

Departing from Stedman St is Creek St (a boardwalk built over Ketchikan Creek on pilings), a history book of misshapen wood-paneled houses painted in…

3. Dolly's House

0.13 MILES

Dolly's house, in Creek St, looks like a dollhouse from the outside, but it once operated as a bastion of the world's oldest profession (read:…

4. Thomas Basin

0.19 MILES

Thomas Basin is home to Ketchikan’s fishing fleet and is the city’s most picturesque harbor. When the boats come in, you can photograph them unloading…

5. Totem Heritage Center


For a crash course in Southeast Alaska's impressive totem art look no further than the Totem Heritage Center, where old poles brought from deserted…

6. Hopkins Alley

0.41 MILES

Up in Newtown, just north of the road tunnel, is an old wooden boardwalk furnished with buildings constructed in the early 20th century on the profits of…

7. Waterfront Promenade

0.46 MILES

Ketchikan’s newest boardwalk is the Waterfront Promenade, which begins near Berth 4, passes Harbor View Park (a city park that is composed entirely of…

8. Saxman Native Village & Totem Park


On South Tongass Hwy, 2.5 miles south of Ketchikan, is this incorporated Tlingit village of 475 residents. It's best known for Saxman Totem Park, which…