The Great Lakes Aquarium has been welcoming visitors since 2000 with the mission to “connect all people to the water and wildlife of Lake Superior and beyond”. This fun and educational Aquarium is a wonderful family-friendly activity that you can enjoy on your next trip to Duluth. Located in Canal Park, the Aquarium is housed in a unique red and blue building that invites visitors to get up close and personal to marine life.
About the Aquarium
This educational and interactive Aquarium focuses largely on the Great Lakes basin. However, several areas of the Aquarium also feature saltwater and coral fish. In addition to marine life, it is home to an eagle, crow, a pair of otters, and other animals that expand its goals of educating visitors.
The Great Lakes Aquarium is broken up into several exhibits. Visitors can get familiar with the wildlife found in the Baptism and St. Louis Rivers. Explore the ecology around Isle Royale. Or, watch the playful antics of the otters in Otter Cove. The Aquatic Invaders exhibit aims to educate visitors on the invasive aquatic species that have been found in Lake Superior. See the sea lamprey that invaded Lake Superior waters when international shipping came to Duluth. The exhibit also features lionfish which are invasive along the Atlantic coast. The Shipwreck exhibit introduces visitors to a variety of fresh and saltwater fish often found around shipwrecks.
Get Really Up Close!
Ever wondered what a jellyfish feels like? Want to pet a sturgeon? Have a sea anemone grip your finger? The Great Lakes Aquarium offers several hands-on experiences. These allow visitors to actually reach out and touch and feel what various marine fish and animals feel like. Then head on over to visit with the electric Eel for a dance party. Every time the eel sends out his electric signals, the lights around his enclosure light up!
Learn While You Interact
Each exhibit aims to teach visitors about marine life, life cycles, water cycles, invasive species, and more. They also offer a variety of educational programs that include summer camps, early childhood programs, and even overnight stays at the Great Lakes Aquarium! With so much to see and do at the Aquarium, you should plan to spend at least a couple of hours there. If not the entire night!
The Aquarium also provides some great views of the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge for watching ships come in and out of the Twin Ports.
Fun For Adults, Too!
Just visiting the aquarium is fun for adults. When we toured for the Exploring the North Shore podcast, we had a great time meeting the animals and interacting with jellyfish and sturgeon. The Aquarium also offers a great adults-only event every Thursdays in the summer, as well!
Join the Great Lakes Aquarium every Thursday from 5:00-8:00 pm in the summer months for the Earth Rider Beer Garden! Held in the Aquarium courtyard, this weekly event features al fresco food and beverages on the Duluth Harbor. Enjoy $5 Earth Rider Brewery beers, wine, as well as some non-alcoholic options. The event also features a rotating option of food trucks and vendors plus music from the Duluth Superior Orchestra.
Learn More and Visit
The Great Lakes Aquarium is located in Duluth’s Canal Park at 353 Harbor Drive, Duluth. You can buy tickets and learn more about the Aquariums exhibits and offerings on their website.
Jaye and Martha visited the Great Lake’s Aquarium in this episode of the Exploring the North Shore podcast!