With so much up in the air due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I've had guests reaching out asking - but WHAT is different this year? So much! Thankfully, Denali National Park is working hard to bring value to visitors who still choose to visit the park this summer.
Typically, I consider the Denali Park Visitors Center a must-see. There are life size animal replicas, a giant topographical map of Denali (the mountain, not the park) a movie that plays regularly throughout the day, and more interactive exhibits. This year, the Park Service has moved their visitors center outdoors in an effort to keep guests safe and the visitor's center sanitary. As you can see from the above image, their display is right in the entrance to their visitors center, and you can only walk up to those tables where Park Rangers are waiting to assist you!
As with the rest of our world, masks are suggested as are a 6-foot-distance and touching only what's required.
One benefit to a closed visitors center is that more information is readily found outdoors - something that you normally have to go inside to ask to find out.
To be honest, I'm just including the image above for history's sake - I'm so curious to know what we will tell our kids about this summer someday. Will it be normal for them even in a few years when they've grown more? Will we talk about it as a "wow that was a weird summer"as if it's far off in the distance? Only time will tell.
They also had a FUN Kids Wilderness Olympics set up in the entry!! The kids adventuring with us (ages 5, 3, 3, 1, 1) really enjoyed this. I'm not sure how often they are there to run it, but we were grateful for the fun interaction!!
There is a giant metal bear that you can get your photo with, or use as a jungle gym! However your party sees fit.
All of the facilities in the area were closed. Be sure to use a restroom when you see an open one, fill up water bottles when you see a potable water station, and either bring food with you or stop at one of the few restaurants open this year!
Park Rangers were well protected, well informed and happy to help on the cold and blustery day we visited!! They had maps for handout and showed us exactly which trails we needed to for the hike we wanted. While it's not the Denali Park Visitor Center I know and love, I'm grateful they're as open as they are this 2020 season.