Explore Potlatch Totem Park and City Center
Ketchikan, Alaska, USA
- Potlatch Totem Park: You are welcomed to wander around this intricately detailed replica of a 19th century Native Alaskan village, complete with totem poles, one of which stands 42 feet high!
- Potlatch Carving Studio: See the expert carvers in residence as they use ancient techniques to fashion intricate totem poles. This experience will leave you with a new appreciation for whittling wood.
- Downtown Ketchikan: After experiencing the then it’s time to see the now as you drive through Ketchikan’s historical City Center; a combination of natural beauty dusted with the remnants of the salmon and timber industry.
About this Ketchikan, Alaska tour
The Tlinglit really like to party – they've been known to throw a celebration for almost anything, from birthdays and weddings to deaths and leader demotions. But the potlatch tradition is especially sacred, a memorial feast held a year or two after someone's death. That's when they raise the roof (and one of their mythical totem poles) to celebrate the life of a departed soul.
These poles all tell a story, etched with the markings of family symbols and spirit leaders, full of legend and hidden meaning, and some towering as high as 40 feet in the air. You'll learn about the ancient techniques passed down for centuries by Tlinglit leaders and totem pole artists, as you watch an expert carve a totem before your eyes.
The Tlinglit will tell you their totems have supernatural powers, maybe even with the ability to awaken the dead, but let’s not test that theory. Gazing upwards you will notice a reoccurring theme of brightly colored animal faces, which the Natives believed were intimately connected to people to guide them through life. Who do you think your spirit animal would be?
Quoth the raven
Though ravens are usually viewed as eerie and bearers of bad omens, the Tlinglit people honor the black bird as one of their most sacred animals – in their tradition, the raven is responsible for bringing sunlight into the world. You'll get the full story on your tour.
Please make your way to the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau at 131 Front St.
Learn about ancient carving techniques and enjoy a light snack at the Totem Trading Company Store.
A minimal amount of walking is needed. Wheelchair users must be able to transfer from chair & climb some steps. Bring a companion for assistance. Folding wheelchairs only. Advance notice is required for lift-equipped transportation.
Cultural, Family Friendly, Wilderness/Wildlife, Adventure, Bus Tour
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated mild. To participate fully, you may be required to walk over primarily even surfaces at a leisurely pace. You may encounter a limited number of steps, cobblestones, or uneven surfaces, and you may have to stand for extended periods of time.
Suitable for all ages.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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