We'll do our very best to ensure you'll GoBe an explorer in Alaska. Please note there is very limited space available on this tour and all reservations must be reconfirmed. Thanks for your understanding.
Hands-on Alaskan Glassblowing at Jewell Gardens
Skagway, Alaska, USA
- The ancient art of glassblowing: Tour an authentic hot shop and learn about the art of glassblowing from resident artists and creators of majestic and unique glass sculptures.
- Your own artwork: Create your own ornament or paperweight out of molten glass and have it shipped anywhere in the world, compliments of Jewell Gardens.
- Self-guided garden tour: Enjoy the freedom of wandering the world's most beautiful organic gardens at your own pace, home to some of the largest plants you've ever seen.
- Klondike Railway: Railroad buffs, both young and old will love the garden railway, an authentic G-scale model of the legendary White Pass & Yukon railway, complete with a tent city like the ones used by actual prospectors.
- Shopping: Be sure to visit the on-site glass and gift gallery.
About this Skagway Tour
In July of 1897, steamships arrived in Seattle and San Francisco from an unheard-of northern town carrying cargoes of solid gold valued in modern prices at more than a billion dollars. The sensational cargo sparked a gold rush that would last a decade and drive over 100,000 prospectors from several countries toward the brand new city of Skagway, Alaska.
Almost overnight a bustling frontier community was born, where money and fortunes were made, and of course criminal elements thrived. An empire of scammers led by the notorious "Soapy" Smith sold soap with "hundred dollar bills" in the wrappers and ran fake "telegraph offices," hiding behind a network of corrupt sheriffs and mayors. When vigilantes raised a militia to drive Smith out of town, he countered by raising a militia of his own nearly twice the size.
And yet the surge in people brought legal opportunities as well. After all, Skagway's new population needed to be fed. Capitalizing on the town's long summer days, Skagway's farmers and gardeners grew famous for enormous produce such as the legendary man-sized rhubarb grown by "Rhubarb King" Henry Clark. In 1898 Clark established the successful farm that is now the site of your tour, Jewell Gardens. It just so happens that this is the same year an angry mob brought an end to Soapy Smith's reign of crime, and his life.
Within the years following the Gold Rush, Skagway was home to the Alaskan Garden Competition, its White Pass railroad traded prospectors for tourists, and the fame of Alaska's "Garden City" drew ever growing numbers of visitors, even a U.S. President. (In 1923, Warren G. Harding was the first president to visit and tour Alaska while in office.) In the end, the town made by a decade of gold would thrive for a century by coaxing far more valuable riches from the earth.
Streets (accidentally) paved with gold
Many of Skagway's colorful criminals weren't exactly masterminds. Take the notorious robber of the Canadian Bank of Commerce in 1902, who entered the bank brandishing a revolver and a dynamite bomb. It almost worked, except that the bomb went off early, obliterating the robber and $20,000 worth of cash and gold nuggets. They never identified the would-be outlaw, but traces of his hard-won loot would still be recovered from nearby streets for years to come.
Once your cruise ship is docked at the Port of Skagway, please make your way to the SMART City Shuttle stop at the end of the pier.
SMART City Shuttle runs from Broadway and 3rd & 5th; and 7th & Spring St. SMART bus stops (northbound) from 10:00AM until 5:00PM daily, every half hour. Sign in bus front window will say "Klondike Gold Fields/Jewell Gardens." $5.00 All-Day pass required and is purchased directly from your bus driver.
Wear closed-toe shoes.
Walking is at your pace and discretion. It's minimal. Jewell Gardens is wheelchair accessible. The SMART Shuttle has accessible vehicles that can be ordered with advance notice.
Family Friendly, Cultural, Shopping
24-seat SMART Shuttle; wheelchair lifts available with advanced notice.
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 travelers 5 years of age and older.
Special Medical Restriction
We can accommodate you if your mobility is limited and you use a folding wheelchair with at least 7 days advanced notice, providing you are not travelling solo and have someone along to assist you. Not all venues may be accessible.
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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