Feature Story: Mukluk Land
We come across many unexpected things on the road. Though perhaps, in the strange and wonderful frozen expanse that is Alaska, we should have expected a gigantic Mukluk on the side of the highway. We pulled over immediately.
Mukluk Land is a magnificent little family-owned theme park featuring famous Alaska memorabilia, an impressive range of unique collections on display, and a whole lot of fun stuff to do. One game of skeeball turned into mini golf which led to a full tour of the grounds. We stayed until closing time. Then, the next day, Ricardo and Thomas won an egg toss at the local 4th of July parade and picnic and were awarded $5 gift cards to… none other than Mukluk Land, so of course we went back.
We got to spend some great time interviewing and getting to know the owners, Beth and George. Retired school teachers, they run Mukluk Land and also the town newspaper.
Within minutes of meeting us, Beth exclaimed that she was our ‘mother for the next two hours’. She spoiled us with extra skeeball tokens and let us stuff our prize bags full of more individual cheese puffs, Twizzlers, gummy worms, and plastic toy dinosaurs than our scores really deserved. She runs the front entrance and I really can’t imagine a better greeter.
Her husband, George, can be found manning the snack counter at the rear of the park. Some people are just better than others at sitting there and stimulating the exact desired dosage of intriguing conversation over the duration of a small popcorn and a Coke. You can easily see that he has sat there and conversed with thousands of people over the years, genuinely interested every time. Beth explained to us that most of the installations and strange collections around the park were brainchilds of George.
Many of the exhibits exemplified certain aspects of the history and life of Alaskans.
But equally abundant were the miscellaneous collections painstakingly sought out and displayed by Beth and George with the utmost care.
I become so happy when someone finds such great interest in things which appear to others to be seemingly unimportant or commonplace. I also appreciate having a wide selection of options available in convenience stores, so learning that George would spend a portion of his vacations around the country trying all the different sodas just so he can collect all the cans…bliss.
We were only with them for a couple days, but like so many people we meet on the road, Beth and George didn’t hesitate a moment to open up to us completely. The unbridled joy Beth emanates for every single visitor that stops by the park and the loving care with which George curates his wonderland are something to behold. We’re so glad we stopped by. We completely agree with the final sentence of the ‘park info’ section of the Mukluk Land website, “It is a fact that a visit to Alaska is not complete without a stop at Mukluk Land.”
Photos by Thomas Allison