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Mendenhall with kids?

New Jersey
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27 posts
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Mendenhall with kids?

we are 4 adults and 4 kids (ages 3 1/2, 5 1/2, 7,9) - cruise in July arrive Juneau on a Tue from 7am to 1:30pm - 6.5 hrs

1) how best to get to Mendenhall? i read "MGT (blue busses) and Juneau Tours (white busses) and they charge $8 each way. " are kids our ages charged the same? how often do they run?

or if we rent car, where/how? is it possible to seat 8?

or if taxi - not sure if we can fit in one - if we lap the two younger kids...are taxi's on the large side or small? are taxi's easy to find?

2) hiking: any suggestions? i think we ought to be able to do at least an hour. i read "The trail to Nugget falls is mostly flat and even walking slowly will take no longer than an hour." is there a web site with map? any other suggestions or comments?

3) is there food at the visitor's center? i'm guessing not - suggestions for a good sandwitch place in town near where cruises dock?

Plainfield, Illinois
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1. Re: Mendenhall with kids?

That seems like a short day in Juneau. I'm guessing you have to be back at the ship by 1PM? I'll help you with what I can. Hopefully others can fill in the gaps a little.

1. This is where I don't have much knowledge as I have my own car in Juneau. I checked MGT on rumor that their fares went up this year and I confirmed per their website that the bus fare is now $10 each way (didn't check the white bus).

Car rentals aren't going to be much cheaper and then you are going to have the hassle of gas, picking it up, and returning it. I just picked a day in July and you might be able to get a minivan, but you are looking at $200 for one and that still only seats 7.

The buses are a good choice, However, according to MGTs website, they don't start running until 9AM. I've never ridden them, but I'm wondering if that is going to be tough to get on the first bus of the day when you are on a ship with such a short schedule, plus you are going to have to wait an hour just to get on the first bus (unless they start early since a ship will be in early).

Taxis aren't going to be cheap. Like you said, you'll probably need 2 of them. I've had taxis run from large fill sized vans to large sedans. You can try to call a few companies to see if they have a full sized van available. I'm sure the request will cost extra, but if they have one to fit 8, that will probably be your most cost effective method of reaching the glacier (assuming that is your only stop for the day). I'd estimate the fare would be around $50 to $60 plus any additional fees. Someone might have a better idea than I though.

The city bus is an option, but it is going to take a long time to get anywhere near the glacier and then you still have to walk a mile. Given the short time you have, I'd advise against it.

2. There are not any good online maps of the trails around Mendenhall that I am aware of. The US Forst service has a JPG of the trails online, but it isn't interactive and tough to read IMHO.

The Nugget Falls trail is easy to find and hike. By myself, I usually allow for 45 minutes starting at the trailhead to get there, take some photos, and get back. Being you have smaller kids, you might want to add some more time to that estimate (my kids never hiked it yet, so I am not sure how much and my youngest is now 6). Finding the trailhead is easy. Starting at the bathrooms by the parking lot, just follow the asphalt path around the front of the visitor's center and voila, you are there.

I always recommend people check out the Steep Creek trail as well. I'm not sure when in July you are going, but toward the 2nd half of July, the sockeyes are usually running. Bears frequent the area and if you are lucky, you might see one up close. The trail is only 1/3rd of the mile and starts from the 2nd parking lot away from the glacier. Head toward the deck overlooking the stream and you'll be right near the trail head (you can also access from the 1st parking lot via a path near the gazebo/photo point in the closest parking lot). About 1/3rd of the trail is an elevated walkway overlooking the creek and a meadow type area. There is where I see the most bears with the deck area at the parking lot being the second place I often see bears.

The trail of time is supposed to be great. I'm sure I've hiked it in my youth, but I'm just drawing a blank on that one.

3. No food at the glacier. The closest place I can think of is about 3 or 4 miles way. I don't eat downtown much anymore. As you have kids, there is a pizza place called Bullwinkle's downtown on Willoughby Ave.. It is about 1 mile from the ships. They do deliver. If it is a nice day, it might be an idea to call them and see if they'll deliver to you near the ship so you can enjoy food near the park or if you are doing the taxi thing, call them to make a pie and some sandwiches and pick it up on the way back to the ship. I love their sandwiches, but their pizza is just OK.

There is a Subway downtown as well. I think that is about a mile each way as well.

Red Dog has carryout. I have to admit, I don't recall having eaten their food before. It is a bar, so I would not take my kids in there.

The Twisted Fish is close to the ships, but with the little kids, it can be spendy and a wait to a table.

There is a little Mexican place called the El Sombraro which is right on Franklin St, an easy walk from the ship for an adult. I like their food personally.

I hope this helps!

Dublin, Ireland
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2. Re: Mendenhall with kids?

We spent a day in Juneau last month and spent a small fortune on taxis and the bus to Mendenhall. When we got back on our boat another couple told us they'd taken the bus out to Mendhenhall. We were so envious of how little they'd spent when we had paid $20/person/roundtrip. When we decided to head out to Alaskan Brewing Company we spent another $20 each way for the taxi. If you want to save cash, definitely take the bus.

Dove Canyon
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143 posts
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3. Re: Mendenhall with kids?

renting a car is the best way if you have so many people... at $20 per person the glacier shuttle will cost $160. I got a car from Avis for $60, so if you need 2 cars it's still only $120. saves you $40 plus all the extra convenience.

Denver, Colorado
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6 posts
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4. Re: Mendenhall with kids?

If you want to rent a car, Avis has an office close to the cruise ship terminal (at the Goldbelt Hotel). Google map says it's an 8 minute walk (.4 mile). We are renting a car for the day this July and it is costing us nearly 100.00.

Taylor, Pennsylvania
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5. Re: Mendenhall with kids?

We (4 adults) are also renting a car at Avis, Goldbelt Hotel location for one day in July. Cost $100. Seeing Juneau at our leisure.

6. Re: Mendenhall with kids?

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