Musk Ox Farm
While in Palmer, take the opportunity to visit the world’s only domestic musk-ox farm (907/745-4151, www.muskoxfarm.org) and see 50 or so of these fascinating prehistoric Arctic creatures up close. During the half-hour tour you learn, among other things, that these exotic animals were hunted nearly to extinction in the early 1900s but have been reestablished in northwestern and arctic Alaska.
The musk ox wool is collected here, shipped back east to be spun, then distributed to Native Alaskan villages to be woven into qiviut wool products. Qiviut is eight times warmer than sheep’s wool and much softer and finer even than cashmere. Scarves, stoles, caps, and tunics are sold in the showroom; don’t miss the display of little squares of qiviut, cashmere, alpaca, and wool from sheep, camels, and llamas to compare the softness.
The farm opens on Mother’s Day in May (a great time to see the calves) and remains open daily 10 a.m.–6 p.m. through September; in winter admission is only for groups. Admission and a half-hour tour of this nonprofit facility is $8 adults, $7 seniors, $6 ages 5–12, and free for younger children.
Getting to the Musk Ox Farm
Get there by taking the Glenn Highway north of Palmer to Mile 50 and following the signs.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition