Located off Sawmill Creek Road, the impressive Alaska Raptor Center (907/747-8662 or 800/643-9425, www.alaskaraptor.org , $12 adults, $6 children under 12) has two dozen or so bald eagles and other birds of prey—including owls, hawks, falcons, and ravens—at any given time. Most are recovering from gunshots, car accidents, or encounters with power lines.
Of the birds brought in, one-third recover sufficiently to be released back into the wild. Most of the others end up in captive breeding or educational programs in the Lower 48.
A focal point is the 20,000-square-foot flight-training center that replicates the rain forest environment outside; visitors watch the eagles through one-way glass. Staff use the enclosure to teach eagles survival skills prior to their release.
Out back is a deck overlooking a large enclosure, called a mews, where eagles unable to survive in the wild are kept. Additional mews with hawks, owls, and other birds are along a rain forest path. The gift shop sells all sorts of eagle paraphernalia.
Visitors get the chance to meet one of the birds up close, and are given a half-hour tour and video. The center is open daily 8 a.m.–4 p.m. year-round, and there’s always someone on hand whenever a cruise ship is in town. No winter tours.
Get to the center by walking out of town along Sawmill Creek Road a couple hundred feet beyond the Indian River bridge. The access road takes off to your left a short distance beyond this. A more scenic route is to follow the trails through Sitka National Historical Park  or along the Indian River behind Sheldon Jackson College .
It’s an easy 10-minute walk from Sitka National Historical Park, or 20 minutes from the center of town. The Community Ride Bus ($2) takes you within two blocks of the center.