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“Great cultural experience”

Saxman Native Village
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Private Tour on 14 Passenger Shuttle Bus in Ketchikan Alaska
Ranked #19 of 58 things to do in Ketchikan
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Owner description: This unique park's 24 totem poles each tell a different story.
Turnersville, New Jersey
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Great cultural experience”
Reviewed August 30, 2013

I went to Saxman Village with my husband, my parents, my sister and her boyfriend and we all had a great time. We booked the excursion with the Disney Cruise Line which allowed us to get the full experience.
Everyone we encountered was very knowledgeable and friendly. The dances that we got to see were impressive. They asked for volunteers also--for people who wanted to participate in a dance with them, wearing the cultural dress of their clans (something that other tribes do not allow). When we left the dance hall our tour guide/bus driver explained the importance of some of the totem poles. While I would have liked one of the Saxman members to do this, he knew what he was talking about and was a good speaker, and the history he told us about was interesting. He also explained a bit about the meaning of the totems which was fun to hear about. After this we visited a gift shop that was expensive, but no more so than any other place we visitied in the shopping area of Ketchikan or in Juneau or Skagway. We finished by going into the totem carving building where we could see a work in progress, learned about the tools that are used, and asked the carver questions about the totems. I could see how people could consider him to be stand-offish, but I think he just has a different personality, and after listening to him for a few minutes I found that he is actually a really nice man with a great sense of humor!
The buildings themselves are also works of art since they are made entirely out of wood from trees and other materials that can "return to earth". The buildings are skillfully crafted and gorgeous.
I'm really glad that I was able to visit this location and have some great pictures and memories. I would definitely recommend that others visit, just make sure you get the full package since it looks like the negative reviews on here did not!

Visited August 2013
1 Thank Allison G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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440 reviews from our community

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English first
Carlisle, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Nice totem polls, no history”
Reviewed August 29, 2013

We took the city bus here after an hour spent at Rotary Beach. There are no descriptions anywhere as to the significance of the totem polls nor is any tour or narration provided unless you are on a booked tour. There was a clan house on property into which I saw people walk. I asked about going inside as I could hear drums beating inside and it was clear there was something going on. I was told that you could only enter the Clan House if you were "part of a tour group." We then walked by the carving station where an older gentleman seemed downright angry that people could look into the space through window and glared at us until we moved on.

All in all we spent about 15-20 minutes here and elected to walk back to town rather than wait the remaining 45 minutes for the town bus to return. I can't recommend spending time here.

Visited August 2013
Thank MLC7799
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
448 reviews
184 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 149 helpful votes
“Great Totems”
Reviewed August 27, 2013

Get your cameras ready. This village is both historically important and a feast to the eyes. You will take great shots. Don't miss it

Visited August 2013
1 Thank bigvicSydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
83 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“What a wonderful experience! Thank you Shorty!”
Reviewed August 26, 2013

We took the city shuttle to Saxman Village and paid our $1. Arrived just a cruise tour was leaving. We had the village to ourselves, we could explore the totems and the grounds. It didn't take very long, maybe 30 minutes, so we went to the gift shop and waited out side for the shuttle to return. Shorty who was the cashier in the gift shop came out and started talking with us. Shorty has a generous spirit, since we were not on a tour she shared her knowledge of the totem poles, and her native customs. We got to meet some of the children and really were made to feel welcomed and cared about. About 3 hours later, Shorty told us she didn't think the shuttle was coming back. She must have seen the panic in my eyes, because we were quite a way from town, no cell service, and she told us to relax, Her brother would take us back to town. And with that her brother pulled up in a pick up and drove us back to town.
One of my favorite experiences a year after I spent a month in Alaska.
Thank You Shorty!

Visited September 2012
3 Thank 1LGM1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
72 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Not worth the money for a cruise excursion”
Reviewed August 21, 2013

I wish I would've researched this place before my husband booked it on the cruise ship. The place itself was "just OK" but we were ripped off big time by the crusie ship. $120/2 ppl. We could've taken the city bus for $2/each & walked around ourselves. After reading tripadvisor "now", I see that the other Totem Pole parks looked better & scenery was very pretty at the state park. I feel sick about it! Also the "dancers at the clan house" looked like they were dragged out of their houses "to give a show". Like they didn't care about being there. Plus , I bet Holland America paid alot of $ to have a village set up so they could call it an excursion & make $.

Visited August 2013
Thank Laura881
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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