The Depot is home to the Duluth Art Institute, Duluth Children’s Museum, St. Louis County Historical Society Museum, and Lake Superior Railroad Museum & Veteran’s Memorial Hall. Built in 1892, the old Duluth Union Depot once served as a gateway to immigrants. As many as 55 trains from Chicago, Canada, and both coasts connected there daily. The Depot closed its doors to rail traffic in 1969 and was renovated in the early 70′s. It remains one of the country’s finest examples of Chateausque-style architecture and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. If all of these museums don’t fill your day, catch a train ride on The North Shore Scenic Railroad.
Stroll the cobblestone streets of Depot Square for a historically accurate glimpse of 1910 Duluth featuring specialty shops, storefronts, and related exhibits. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, you can also take a free trolley ride and savor an old-fashioned ice cream cone. For the railroad buff in all of us, this is a great museum. Climb aboard giant locomotives and century-old cars as you explore one of the Midwest’s largest and most varied selections of historic railroad equipment. There are a half-dozen fully restored trains and cars. The museum has one of the last wooden rail cars made by the American Car Company of St. Charles, Missouri. The train museum also has model trains you can watch behind a glass. There are also several short films to watch about the history of train travel in Duluth. It has a great history of the railroad and for an extra charge, you can go on a scenic railroad ride.
Train excursions: The 2½-hour Pizza Train of the North Shore Scenic Railroad goes to the Sucker River, halfway to Two Harbors, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday until Labor Day, then 5:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through the third weekend of October; reservations required. For many other excursions, check 800-423-1273.
The Duluth Children’s Museum is a family favorite. Its hands-on exhibits and programs help young children explore their world. Dress up in animal costumes and slide down the tree slide.
The Children’s Campsite
Along with a rotating multidisciplinary, hands-on exhibit.
Veterans’ Memorial Hall, a program of the St. Louis County Historical Society, invites the public to its newest long-term exhibit, Generations of Service. This new exhibit presents the history of our local veterans from the Civil War to the Global War on Terror. This exhibit includes artifacts such as a cannonball from the Civil War, to a leather bomber jacket worn by Harold Rutka in WWII, to a SCUD missile component from Desert Shield/Storm. Also, there is a three-dimensional underground mine scene, which focuses on the home front story. At another point, visitors can walk through a scene from Iraq, based on photos from a local veteran, Mark Hilleren.
Veterans’ Memorial Hall was established in 1909 and is a program of the St. Louis County Historical Society. It is the mission of Veterans’ Memorial Hall to preserve and collect veterans’ artifacts and to educate the public about the history of veterans from northeastern Minnesota.
Experience the Art Institute’s wide variety of contemporary art exhibitions, workshops, and classes. In Theater Hall and the Balcony Galleries, you will find a lively ensemble of artworks created by regional, national and international artists. The Duluth Art Institute in the Depot does not own a permanent collection, but is more about the interaction between artist and viewer. They often hold coordinating projects welcoming all to participate, overflowing into the community.
The Depot/ St. Louis County Heritage & Art Center
506 West Michigan Street
Duluth, MN 55802
If you are looking to stay inside with the kids, the Great Lakes Aquarium is just on the other side of 35W, by the harbor.
Saving money: The Northland coupon book offers small discounts on attractions. You can download the coupons with this link to the pdf for the coupon booklet. Discounts include $2 off admission to Glensheen, $1 off admission to the Great Lakes Aquarium and Lake Superior & Mississippi Railroad.
At the North Shore Scenic Railroad, you get a free child’s ticket on the Lester River trip with paid adult ticket.
The Twin Ports Entertainment book offers the best deal, with 2-for-1 coupons for admission to the Great Lakes Aquarium, Glensheen and the Depot. List price is $35 when it comes out in fall, but the price drops as the year goes on. Walgreens usually sells it at the checkout counters.