International Wolf Center – Ely, MN
The International Wolf Center advances the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wild lands and the human role in their future. The International Wolf Center is the world’s premier wolf interpretive facility. Located in the heart of the Superior National Forest in Ely, Minnesota, visitors can take a tour of the Center, view the resident wolf pack and learn from the Center’s award-winning current exhibits. Visit www.wolf.org for more information, hours and directions.
Itasca State Park – Headwaters of the Mississippi
Established in 1891, Itasca is Minnesota’s oldest state park. Today, the park totals more than 32,000 acres and includes more than 100 lakes. Here visitors can walk across the Mississippi as it begins its winding journey to the Gulf of Mexico, stand under towering pines at Preacher’s Grove, visit landmarks of centuries gone by such as the Itasca Indian Cemetery or Wegmann’s Cabin or explore Wilderness Drive past the 2,000-acre Wilderness Sanctuary, one of Minnesota’s seven National Natural Landmarks.
Ironworld Discovery Center – Chisholm, MN
The explosive growth of iron mining attracted thousands to northeastern Minnesota. Their courage and tenacity transformed a sparsely populated wilderness into a culturally diverse industrial landscape. Ironworld Discovery Center, the largest museum complex on the Iron Range, is dedicated to collecting, preserving and interpreting the history of Minnesota’s Iron Ranges. Visitors to the site discover an interactive visitor experience, spectacular mine views and one of the finest library and archival facilities in the upper midwest. Whether you are visiting the Iron Range for recreation or education, Ironworld Discovery Center provides a unique look at the Iron Range that you are sure to find both interesting and enjoyable. Ride a trolley with spectacular mine views, explore the outdoor exhibits, take part in cultural heritage activities and uncover links to the past at the Iron Range Research Center. There’s much to see and do! Ironworld is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursdays 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $6 for students and free to children 6 and under. On Thursdays from 5 p.m. to close, admission is free. The Iron Range Research Center is open throughout the year. Call 1-800-372-6437 or visit www.ironworld.com for more information.
A century slips by when you visit this park. Under ground visitors wear hard hats and journey down 2,341 feet to listen to the stories of the mining days. Above ground visitors can explore the dry house, drill shop, crusher house and engine house. Visitors also can walk the boardwalk past one of the deepest open mine pits or hike the trails in the park through a northern hardwood conifer forest, past the famous Soudan Iron Formation.
The mine tour leads visitors through the world of underground mining. Visitors don hard hats and enter a “cage” for the descent into the mine. The 1 1/2-hour mine tour will take you half a mile down into the earth. Once underground you will be treated to a 3/4 mile train ride to the last and deepest area mined. The mine is 50°F year-around, so remember to bring a warm jacket or sweater and sturdy shoes. Public tours run from Memorial Day through the end of September. There is a charge for the underground mine tour.
The Soudan Underground Laboratory is the leading deep underground science and engineering laboratory in the United States today. Scientists from around the world have been working at Soudan for 25 years trying to answer basic questions about the Universe in which we live: Is matter completely stable? What is the nature of the fundamental forces? Can we identify the Dark Matter that seems to permeate our Universe? Learn about our first neutrino events using the neutrino beam from Fermilab and see the massive MINOS detector (Main Injector Neutrino Oscillation Search). Learn about CDMS (Cryogenic Dark Matter Search) and its continued search for a WIMP (Weakly Interacting Massive Particles). Soudan Underground Laboratory.
Directions: Located in Soudan. Take US Highway 169 North through Tower to Soudan. Once in Soudan follow the directional signs.
Mine Tour: From Memorial Weekend thru September tours run every hour from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Sunday. After Labor Day to October 2nd, tours run at 10:00 am, 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm, and 4:00 pm (on the hour from 10 to 4 on weekends).
Physics Tour: From Memorial Weekend to Labor Day tours run at 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. After Labor Day to October 2nd, tours run at 12:00 pm only.
Admission: (per person): Adults (13 and older): $9; children 5-12: $6; children 5 and under: no charge. Rates are subject to change without notice.
Call 218-753-2245 for more information or visit their website.
Active Mine Company Tours
Experience the life of a miner as you take an exciting tour of a modern day mining company. Visitors will slip into steel toe boots and put on hard hats adding to the experience. These 1 ½ hour tours will walk you through the mining process of turning iron ore into taconite pellets. Visitors have the opportunity to watch miners and their massive equipment at work up close. Watch 30-yard capacity shovels, so big that a 4X4 truck could fit inside their buckets, load overburden into 3-story 240-ton mining trucks. See 80-car trains pulled by three locomotives filled with taconite pellets cruise near 500-foot deep iron laden canyons. Discover 100-ton maintenance trucks, large drilling rigs and huge bulldozers. A knowledgeable guide will narrate your adventure. Children who love Tonka Toys® will remember the experience all their lives. Group tours and school groups welcome. Tour guide recommended. Available by reservation.
Hibbing Taconite Tours (Hibbing)
Tours depart from Ironworld Discovery Center and take approximately 2 hours. Reservations are required and can be made through Ironworld at 800-372-6437. Children must be 10 years of age or older and accompanied by an adult.
Greyhound Bus Museum
Hibbing is recognized as the birthplace of the bus industry in the United States. Here visitors can see and hear the story at Hibbing’s newest attraction. To start the tour, visitors pass through a tunnel that comes alive with auto sounds of 1914 and continues on from the Hupmobile that could not be sold. The story continues with the men and machines that created Greyhound Bus Lines told using pictorial displays, hundreds of artifacts and memorabilia, audio-visual presentation plus a VCR show of “The Greyhound Story” from Hibbing to everywhere. A diorama of WW II illustrates how Greyhound contributed to the war effort. Other exhibits help the visitor understand how, with a Hupmobile car, they could not sell, and a two mile route, Greyhound grew to be the largest bus company in the world. The museum also houses eleven historical buses.
Open Mid-May Thru September; Monday – Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Open on request for special groups in the off season. Adults $5.00, Seniors $4.00, Family $10.00, Students $2.00, Children (6-12) $1.00, Tours $3.00 each. (rates subject to change)
Directions: Exit off Highway 169 in Hibbing onto Howard Street. Follow Howard Street nine blocks to 3rd Avenue East. Take a right and follow .7 mile to the Greyhound Bus Museum. For more information call 218-263-5814 or visit www.greyhoundbusmuseum.org.
United States Hockey Hall of Fame – Eveleth, MN
The museum, located off US Highway 53 in Eveleth, is a national shrine of historical significance dedicated to honoring hockey by showcasing all levels of the sport. Entertaining displays and memorabilia give visitors an opportunity to experience the thrilling game action and inspiring achievement of all those involved in the game of hockey. At the Theatre of Hockey Highlights visitors can re-live the 1980 “Miracle on Ice,” the US historic and exhilarating Olympic victory over Russia, or watch as the US Women’s Gold Medal Winning Hockey Team takes center stage at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Japan. From the Great Wall of Fame of Inductees, the Olympic Display, Gallery of Hockey Art, Mighty Duck Scoreboard, and historic exhibits of famed hockey memorabilia, this is a must visit for anyone interested in hockey.
Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day; Mon – Sat: 9:00 – 5:00, Sun: 10:00 – 3:00. After Labor Day; Fri: 12:00 – 5:00, Sat: 9:00 – 5:00, Sun: 10:00 – 3:00. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and juniors 13-17, $6 for children 6-12, and under six free but please note that rates are subject to change. To learn more, visit www.ushockeyhall.com or call 1-800-443-7825.
Vince Shute Wildlife Center – Bear Viewing in Orr, MN
Founded in 1995, the Vince Shute Wildlife Center is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the well-being of the black bear and other wildlife through a better understanding. Thousands of people visit the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary every year, to view and learn about black bears, their behavior, habitat needs and life cycles. Visitors also get the opportunity to view a special group of wild bears – that come to this location every summer – from an elevated platform.
Nestled in the North Woods of Minnesota, the Sanctuary is located approximately two hours northwest of Duluth. The nearest town is Orr, which is about thirty minutes away. Encompassing some 360 acres, the Sanctuary consists of a combination of habitats: aspen forests, cedar swamps, marshes, beaver ponds, a primary stream, open areas and numerous other resources. In addition to being a seasonal home to a special group of bears, this habitat is also used by such wildlife as whitetail deer, bald eagles, beavers, minks, pine martens, fishers, timber wolves, red squirrels, bobcats, lynx, blue jays, owls, ducks, songbirds, ravens, and a variety of other species. While black bears are the primary focus, the various habitats of the Sanctuary are managed in a manner beneficial to the entire ecosystem. The permanent establishment of the refuge has preserved a unique opportunity to view and to photograph the intimate world of the normally reclusive black bear. The Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary also provides a most extraordinary setting for a variety of non-obtrusive scientific studies and educational programs relating to the diverse natural resources found within its boundaries.
For more information visit the Vince Shute Wildlife Center website at www.americanbear.org or call 1-800-357-9255.