:: Anchorage, AK - rachb605
Station/Boat Location~
ESD Anchorage, Sector Anchorage, also a Recruiter's office

Date there~
2010-2014 (possibly extending to 2017)

Alaska! Summers average in the 60s, with a few days in the 70s that feel WONDERFUL. Fall is short and chilly. Winter is long and cold, temps get into the -20 range. Lots of snow..this past winter was a record breaking year for snowfall. Spring is wet and muddy with the snow melt, but as temps start to rise (into the 40s-50s) and the sun is out more, it feels great!

Military facilities~
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. There is a Commissary, Exchange, food court, gym, pool, auto hobby shop, arts & crafts center, outdoor rec centers to rent gear from. The base is large and has a lot of amenities.

If on Tricare Prime, you go to Medical on base. It is decent. I had a baby here and was pleased with the maternity care & the labor/delivery experience. The Pediatric clinic can sometimes be a hassle to get an appointment with, as well as the Family Health clinic, but it isn't too bad and I haven't had any bad experiences. If you need a quicker appt and they aren't able to get you in, they are great about giving you a one-time referral to go to Urgent Care. There is even a Nurse Practitioner for kids that does home visits who we used once when we couldn't get a quick enough appt. The ER on base is pretty good and usually doesn't take too long.

Dental you can see whomever is a Met Life provider. I go to Gentle Care Dental Care.

Optical you can also see who you want. I went on base once and was not impressed, and went to the Optical Center in the Exchange the next time and had a much better experience.

On base housing is privatized through Aurora Military Housing. It seems to be fairly easy to get into.. we waited less than a week for a house when we moved here. Brand new housing just went up on the Fort Richardson side of base this past year. The other housing on the Elmendorf is also newer, a lot of it built in 2006ish. The older units were remodeled around that time and are also pretty nice.
Just this year they started monitoring our utilities usage, so we get a statement each month and if we go over our allotted usage, then you have to pay.

For living off base, a lot of families choose to live in Eagle River, which is 8-10 miles out of Anchorage. It is a close drive to the base. Anchorage is a spread out city, and good neighborhoods can be found all over. Eagle River and the East side out town would be closest to base access, but neighborhoods in the East can be a bit more "sketchy" depending on what area you are looking.

Pretty much everything you need is in Anchorage. Just outside one of the gates to base there is Target, Kohls, Best Buy, Lowe's, PetsMart, Sports Authority, as well as several restaurants, a movie theater, and several new things in the process of going in. There are 2 main malls (Dimond Center & 5th Ave) and a couple of smaller ones. Plenty of locally owned stores and restaurants too.

Groceries are the Commissary, Fred Meyer, Carrs (Safeway), Wal Mart, Costco, Sams. There is also a store called Natural Pantry which has a lot of healthy/natural/organic things such as medicine, food, meat, produce, etc.

Child Care/Schools~
Anchorage & Eagle River are both under the Anchorage School District. The schools seem to be pretty good and have a wide variety of offerings for all levels.
On base there are elementary schools (still part of ASD), but if you live on base your middle school and high school kids will go off base.
There are I think 5 Child Development Centers on base for daycare/preschool. My daughter went to one of the CDCs from 8 weeks - 8 months and we had no issues with the care she received. Most of the employees are Military or Veteran spouses.

Adult Schools~
University of Anchorage Alaska is a good size university. Alaska Pacific University is a small private university, but has a good reputation. There are also a couple of smaller career/technical schools. Alaska Pacific University (I'm pretty sure that's the name)

Fun Activities~
A LOT!Summer: Music in the Park- there are free concerts offered downtown almost every day in the summer. One day is one specifically for kids and is GREAT. Plenty of festivals, fairs, etc. to check out. Hiking, biking, etc. Anchorage has a great park & trail system with trails all throughout the city.

Winter: Cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, skiing/snowboarding, snow machining, ice skating. The golf course on base as well as many of the trails in town are groomed for cross-country skiing in the winter.Anchorage is drivable to a lot of great places in Alaska, there is so much to do/see around here.

There are several museums in town, concerts/plays/shows. Anchorage is a good mix of outdoorsy stuff to do as well as "city" type stuff.
The base also does a pretty good job at having activities & events going on pretty often.
Anchorage has a LOT to do with kids as far as classes; art classes, gym classes, music classes, events at the library, etc.

Additional Comments~
We really like it here in Anchorage.. part of the reason we are hoping to extend our tour here 3 more years!

Helpful links for the area: - Base housing - official base website - Anchorage School District - Anchorage Daily News - Anchorage Downtown Partnership

Homeport AK

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