This center provides a wonderful introduction to the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge covers some 3½ million acres spread across some 2,500 Alaskan islands, from Prince of Wales Island in the south to Barrow in the north. The 37,000-square-foot eco-friendly facility with towering windows facing Kachemak Bay is a must-see for anyone interested in wild places. A film takes visitors along on a voyage of the Fish and Wildlife Service's research ship, the
MV Tiglax. Interactive exhibits detail the birds and marine mammals of the refuge (the largest seabird refuge in America), and one room even re-creates the noisy sounds and pungent smells of a bird rookery. In summer, guided bird-watching treks and beach walks are offered, and you can a stroll on your own on the walkways in the Beluga Slough, where Alaskan poet Wendy Erd's commissioned work lines the way.