There is something about those little cars hanging precariously from a single solitary cable that always makes my heart beat a little faster. Looking up at the Mt. Roberts Tramway I asked my kids if they were game. When the answer was a resounding yes, I gathered my courage, bought our tickets walked up to the loading area. I knew that the views would be totally worth it, in addition to all the cool cultural stuff we would learn about the native Alaskan T'lingit people. So up we went.
We piled into our bright red tram car and all said a collective little prayer as the door closed and we started our steady climb to the top. As we rose, we could see all the large cruise ships in the harbor and the gorgeous inlet so green and pristine covered in Sitka Spruce. We soared up alongside the steep mountainside watching the cruise ships get smaller and smaller till we hit the top and hopped out (all together breathing a sigh of relief).
Up at the top of Mt. Roberts there are a multitude of things to see and do and it is one of Juneau's premier activities. For starters, there's a nice restaurant (The Timberline Bar and Grill-which I hear is pretty good btw), a snack bar, and a gift shop. There is also a movie about the Tlingit people that plays every hour on the hour and as luck would have it, it was starting just as we arrived. We were given a brief introduction and taught a few Tlingit phrases before the lights went down and we watched a fascinating movie about the Tlingit people and their relationship with their environment. It was a great introduction to the people and their culture. The Tlingit are terrific artisans and are known for their carvings especially on totem poles. Up on the mountain you can watch a master Tlingit carver at work as well (sadly, we missed that-maybe he was on a break).
In addition you should take the time to explore the views, check out the bald eagle (who had been shot and is therefore in permanent captivity) and even go for a hike. It was a bit pricey at $32 per person but then again due to the short season, everything in Alaska is expensive. Keep your eyes peeled for coupons, sometimes there is a 2 for 1 deal to be had.