A big thank you to Visit Duluth for providing us with passes to fun family friendly attractions in Duluth, MN. All opinions are my own.
Almost fifteen years ago, my husband and I had our honeymoon in Duluth, MN. And ever since we’ve had kids, we’ve said that we need to visit again. Duluth has so much to offer and we want to take time to explore with our family. So we decided that this is the year! And with that, I want to share a variety of family friendly attractions in Duluth, MN with you!
Fun Family Friendly Attractions In Duluth, MN
There are so many great things to do in Duluth, MN. And you can find plenty of attractions and activities for a variety of price ranges. So I wanted to take time to share a few of the things we experienced last week in Duluth. (Make sure you read all the way to the end as I also share some free attractions!)
Vista Fleet Daily Cruises (Family Fun Cruise)
Back on our honeymoon, my husband and I actually did a Vista Fleet Pizza Cruise. But when planning for this upcoming vacation, we learned that they now also offer Family Fun Pizza Cruises! Not only do they still serve handmade pizza and ice cream sundaes. They also offer a variety of fun activities. So it adds an extra element of fun to the excursion!
After jumping aboard your Vista Fleet Cruise, guests enjoy their meal, activities, and dessert all-the-while exploring the harbor. We started out by getting our pizza and drinks and then finding a table. Once the ship left the dock, we actually got to head out under the lift bridge. This was so neat because as we passed the pier, the kids loved waving to all the people on it.
The spectacular scenery and view of the waterfront allows for an up close and personal experience of the Great Lakes. After we toured the waters for a bit outside of the canal, we passed back under the lift bridge. As we tugged along, I especially enjoyed the “fun facts” that the crew shared with us. We learned things such as:
- The average temperature of Lake Superior is about 39 degrees! She joked that you can always tell the locals between the visitors as the visitors are the only ones brave enough to jump in the water.
- At the deepest part of Lake Superior, the Empire State Building would still sit 8 stories below water.
- Lake Superior is bigger than the state of Indiana.
- And a variety of other fun facts as well as jokes.
Extra Fun For The Family
As I mentioned, the family fun cruise also offered some extra activities. This included: Giant Jenga, coloring pages, face painting, bean bag toss, and even hula hooping.
What was really cool is the crew was great about interacting with all the guests. The girls went around and made sure to check if anyone needed anything. They were quick to answer questions. And you could always find at least one interacting and playing with kids on the cruise at all times.
Overall, the Vista Fleet Family Fun Cruise was more than I ever imagined. We has so much fun. Enjoyed a great meal. Learned some fun facts. Heard some cute jokes. And just had a great family night out on Lake Superior. I really liked that we were allowed the freedom to travel from deck to deck and even enjoy the view from the top of the ship. Great experience that we’d totally recommend!
Spirit Mountain Adventure Park
When I hear the name Spirit Mountain, I immediately think of their winter activity offerings, mainly skiing. So I was really excited to learn that they actually have a great deal of fun to add to your summer too! Not only do they offer mountain biking, hiking trails, and camping, their Adventure Park has a variety of attractions too.
While you can purchase separate tickets for each attraction, Spirit Mountain Adventure Park also offers wristband specials for an unlimited day of fun. We were able to enjoy the freedom of the wristband special and spent over 5 hours here! And totally could have stayed longer.
Adventure Park Attractions Include:
Timber Twister Alpine Coaster
While I’ve ridden an alpine slide before, this was my first go at an alpine coaster. This 3200-foot track is elevated off the ground and lets you zip at speeds (up to 26mph) through nature. What’s really neat is that riders have complete control over how fast they go!
Check out what a ride on the Timber Twister Alpine Coaster looks like:
Everyone in the family LOVED this coaster! Even our youngest, Lucy, who is just three years old had a blast. She kept yelling “faster faster” the whole way down. The trip down was really neat as you zip through the woods on the track. Even though temps were in the high 70’s and low 80’s, each coaster ride brought us relief in the depths of the forest cover. We heard birds, saw flowers, and just enjoyed nature.
I really like how safe the Timber Twister is too. The carts are actually attached to the tracks so there is no way to tip. Our (almost 8 year old) son Alex was a little leery his first trip down but quickly became comfortable and enjoyed the trek.
In all, I think we each rode this Alpine Coaster a minimum of 10 times. And if we wouldn’t have been getting so hot and tired, we would have stayed even longer for more rides!
Timber Flyer Zip Line
This is no traditional Zip Line. The Timber Flyer Zip Line allows riders to go single OR DOUBLE! on a secured bench seat. Riders get to zip through tree tops on this 700 foot line for a thrilling ride.
It’s a quick but thrilling trip. While kids as young as 3 can ride, our Lucy didn’t round up enough courage. However, all four of the other kids did. We rode double with the two younger boys while Hannah and Jack rode together.
This zip line allows riders to enjoy the cool breeze on their faces. And the ride over the trees, a stream, and towards a great view of the lake make it an unforgettable trip. While I’ve done a traditional zip line, I preferred how simple this one was. No suiting up with a harness and a ton of equipment. Riders are safely strapped into the seat with two belts. (One which requires a special key to unlock even.) And off you go. Upon returning, the staff unlocks the riders and you just climb back off the chair. Fun, simple, and easy.
Spirit Express II Scenic Chair Lift Rides
While this particular attraction is only open half the week, it looked like a fun ride. Unfortunately, it was not running on the day we visited so we didn’t get to personally experience it.
But I know we would have loved it! Sitting up high and being able to enjoy all the beauty would have been really neat.
Original Jumping Pillow
The newest attraction that has been added to Spirit Mountain Adventure Park is their big Jumping Pillow. I was surprised at how much bounce this humongous jumping pillow gave. Much like a high quality trampoline, jumpers can really get a great bounce height.
Kids and adults alike are able to jump, bounce, run, and jump across this pillow. While I’d like to say that I beat Alex in our race, it’s only because I yelled go and took off before he was ready! When we played fair, that kiddo beat me by a long shot.
The Jumping Pillow is actually on a huge bed of super soft sand. So jumpers hop off and land on the sand safety border. Lucy loved sitting there sifting the sugar sand through her fingers while her siblings jumped. The pillow did get slightly warm on the feet when the sun was beating down but if you kept moving, you hardly noticed.
Spirit Mountain Mini Golf
This mini golf course was a bit different than any I’d ever seen before. The black and white color design along with the fluorescent colored balls really makes it pop though.
As you can see, the course isn’t the typical mini golf course. Different shaped boards are scattered throughout to make obstacles for players to golf around and over.
The course was fairly simple but still a lot of fun. The kids especially liked it. It was nice to wind our way through and we knew that each overhang meant we were coming to the next hole. All seven of us golfed and had a blast. However, we did skip scoring as none of us are too competitive when it comes to golfing.
And while you can purchase tickets to experience each of these attractions separately, Spirit Mountain Adventure Park also offers an all-day wristband option too. So if you’re looking to get a full days worth of fun, that’s a great option.
Another neat thing about Spirit Mountain is that they host weddings! They have two different reception halls that are popular hot spots for happy couples to celebrate their special day.
Great Lakes Aquarium
Mike and I actually visited the Great Lakes Aquarium fifteen years ago on our honeymoon. But things have changed! So if you’ve gone in the past, I suggest you definitely make another visit.
You’ll see a variety of animals on your stop at this aquarium including a variety of:
Fish Feeding & Diving
Shortly after arriving, we caught their daily fish feeding and diving show. It was really neat to have the staff share facts about the fish inside that particular tank. And then we got to see two divers swim down and feed the bottom feeding fish. Since the top feeders eat so quick, very little food would ever make it down to the floor. So workers take special care to make sure that all the fish get food.
After the feeding, they also did a question and answer session with the divers. We learned about the training divers take to be able to make dives. And since questions were open to anything, we even learned the diver’s favorite color was blue! It was super interesting and really added a special element of education and fun.
And the newest addition the whole family will love are the “Feel Connected Touch-Pools”. Guests are encouraged to stop by and reach out to touch the inhabitants of these pools. Perfect for a hands on learning experience that you won’t forget!
The largest touch pool held sturgeons and another fish. The kids loved standing on the edges and reaching into the water to graze the tops of the fish as they swam by. But these guys scared easily as any splashing sent them down to the bottom of the pool and out of reach. The walls were completely clear though. So it was really neat to still be able to see them up close.
Another touch pool held starfish other aquatic animals. The kids were surprised at how they felt as it wasn’t what they were expecting. Then, they also got to touch real live jelly fish! THAT was an experience! It was Hannah’s favorite touch pool. And they looked really neat up close.
Great Lakes Hands On Water Exhibit
As we made our way through the aquarium, we were all impressed with how much there was to see and do. The first exhibit we came to as we walked around the big wall of water on the first floor was a hands on learning water area. Kids (and adults) are able to float plastic boats all around the great lakes. They get the chance to float the boats through a variety of lock dams and see how big boats are able to get through.
We probably spent the most time at this water exhibit in the hours that we spent at the aquarium. Seeing how big the great lakes are through this display really allows visitors to picture how big and deep these lakes really are. Very cool exhibit.
Kids Play Area
One place that drew the kids was the large play area. We found a tree house with a big twirly slide jutting out. The kids climbed up and slid down time after time. It was great for getting out some energy.
And there was a fun little wooden boat where kids could fish! Safety first as there was even a life jacket. The wooden fishing rod was attached to a string with a magnetic frog on the end. Kids could toss out their line and try to catch one of the fish on the ground.
Variety Of Aquariums & Exhibits
Throughout the rest of the Great Lakes Aquarium, we enjoyed birds, turtles, sea lamprey, fish, fun facts, and more. The entire experience was unique and really cool. So many things that we hadn’t seen before. And I liked how educational it was.
Duluth Children’s Museum
Okay, honestly, this was probably our favorite thing to do! We have a children’s museum fairly local to us that is triple the size but our kids prefer the Duluth Children’s Museum over it!
Upon walking in the door, the kids were immediately drawn to a musical exhibit. You could make music utilizing the tubes and FLIP FLOPS! And there was also a bell type instrument too. The kids found it really cool to make music from items that didn’t look like your typical instruments.
The 1st Floor:
As we continued our way through the museum, I was super impressed with everything. Their exhibits are extremely hands on. The first floor room offers experiments and activities along with instructions.
The staff was also really great about jumping in and engaging with the kids along the way too.
And there was also a set of funhouse mirrors. Because who doesn’t like watching themselves proportion into a funny person!?
The 2nd Floor:
After spending quite a bit of time downstairs, we ventured to the Duluth Children’s Museum 2nd Floor. Upon walking out of that elevator, my kids were in awe. This is THE best children’s museum they have ever been to!
The hands on activities were everywhere. From big muscle crawling to small muscle dexterity. Every exhibit serves a purpose. And most importantly, every exhibit was interesting and fun!
Everything was so interactive and fun that even our older kids, ages 11 and 13, had a blast. Nobody wanted to leave! If this museum was close to our home, we would most definitely get a yearly membership and visit often!
Free Family Friendly Attractions In Duluth, MN
And if you’re looking to add in some free family friendly attractions in Duluth, MN, we found some of those too! Be sure to check out Park Point, which is a gorgeous stretch of beach. The sand is so soft and it’s the perfect place for a picnic.
We also ventured up the Scenic North Shore and stopped along the way at different shorelines. We found picnic tables (where we stopped to eat lunch on), rocks to walk on, and birds to watch.
And Gooseberry Falls is a must see and do! Climb up by the falls or go downstream to rock hunt. The beauty of nature is absolutely breathtaking there.
One of the biggest draws in Duluth is the magnificent lift bridge. So a stroll down to Canal Park to watch this wonder work and see the ships is really fun.
Plus, down by the pier is a lighthouse that you can walk right up to!
The last thing I want to make note of is walking along the boardwalk. Walking the shores of Lake Superior is really awesome. There’s birds, ships, and sites along the way.
There are so many Family Friendly Attractions In Duluth, MN that it would be nearly impossible to cover them all in one post. But, by sharing a few of the fun attractions we discovered, I hope you found some great information to help you plan a trip! If you’d like even more information about all the great things that Duluth has to offer, head over to the Visit Duluth Website to learn more.
If you’re looking for a fun family friendly place to stay, check out my Edgewater Hotel & Waterpark in Duluth, MN Review. And when you get hungry, don’t forget to drop on by the The Duluth Grill: Local Food & Tons Of Flavor!
So tell me, did I miss any of your favorite Family Friendly Attractions In Duluth, MN?