The 14,000-square-foot Denali Visitor Center introduces the park and its connections to the rest of the world in a building that takes stock of its surroundings. The structure is environmentally advanced, using solar power for electricity and clever design to save solar warmth. Inside, life-size models of cranes overhead lead to an enormous mural, 60*28 feet in size, showing the landscape types found at the park. The carpet simulates a flowing river of gray and brown, making a path to an exhibit area with re-creations of Denali wildlife, including a full-scale moose stepping through deep snow. You will also find exhibits on the Athabascan people, mining, tourism, and scientific research. On the upper floor, a large topographic model of the park demonstrates the arbitrary nature of its boundaries, and another exhibit shows the six-continent routes of migratory birds found at Denali. Drawers open to reveal discoveries: a cross-section of Earth, or of different kinds of trees. An award-winning orientation film, Heartbeats of Denali, lasts 18 minutes. The photography is impressive and the narration says much with few words. Summer hours are daily 8am to 6pm; the center is closed in the winter.
The Murie Science and Learning Center (tel. 866/683-1269 or 907/683-1269; www.murieslc.org) supports research and offers science programs about the park. It is located about a mile in along the park road on the right side. The lobby houses changing science exhibits. A variety of organizations participate in programming, with evening lectures, morning walk-in science presentations, a speaker series, youth camps, and natural history field seminars for adults and for families with older or younger children. Three-day courses are around $320 per person. Check topics and register well in advance on the website. The center is open summer daily 9:30am to 5pm, winter daily 9am to 4pm.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.