Although whales can often be seen year-round by boat, they practically park themselves in front of Sitka's harbor during the spring herring spawn and the autumn migration. View these gentle giants of the Pacific from Whale Park: a high overlook located just 6 miles from downtown. In early November the Sitka Whalefest celebrates Sitka's marine life with special activities and information seminars from renowned marine biologists. Visitors can also view aquatic wildlife and a salmon hatchery at the Sitka Sound Science Center where special displays and touch-tanks offer a remarkable hands-on experience.
The Alaska Raptor Center offers close-up encounters with bald eagles and other birds of prey. The center provides medical rehabilitation to injured or sick birds of prey, including bald eagles. Every effort is made to return these majestic creatures back into the wild; however, some never recover fully and remain housed at the center as part of its educational program.
The Fortress of the Bear is a non-profit education and rescue center with two separate naturalized habitats for orphaned Brown Bear cubs, complete with covered viewing areas. Guests have the opportunity to view resident cubs and learn more about Southeast Alaska Brown Bears and the heart warming mission of the organization. Located across from the Sawmill Cove Industrial Park.
Located at the mouth of Sitka Sound, Saint Lazaria Island is home to hundreds of thousands of seabirds in summer. It is part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, and is definitely another gem to see, particularly for birders. The birds include the ornate tufted puffin and its cousin, the rhinoceros auklet. Charters and tours are available to visit this southeast Alaska birder's paradise.
Sitka Wildlife Viewing
Developed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, this viewing guide will help you plan your Sitka vacation around the best times and places to view our local wildlife.
View the Sitka Wildlife Calendar (pdf)
The pristine waters and forested mountains surrounding Sitka are rich in wildlife, so remember to bring your camera - photo opportunities are endless!