The Great Lakes Aquarium, an alpine roller coaster, the region's only zoo and a children's museum are just some of the family-friendly attractions in Duluth, the North Shore's largest city.
1) Great Lakes Aquarium Ever wondered what’s below the surface of Lake Superior? Explore the species living in the Great Lakes basin through a variety of interactive exhibits. Watch two young otters weave through Otter Cove, or help feed trout in the Baptism River area. For a touch of the exotic, explore the colorful animals in the Amazing Amazon exhibit. (218) 740-3474; glaquarium.org
2) Brighton Beach Rock skipping is a must while in Duluth. A smorgasbord of stones awaits at this picture-perfect beach on the edge of town. Dip your toes in the lake, watch ships make their way towards the Aerial Lift Bridge, and enjoy a family picnic. mnbeaches.org
3) Wheel Fun Rentals Everyone in the family will find the right vehicle, whether it’s a surrey, tandem bike, kid’s bike or low-to-the-ground quad sport. Jump on and off as you explore the lakeshore, cruise down the pier, tour the Lake Superior Marine Museum, wander Duluth’s Rose Garden or grab a snack at Crabby Bill’s. (877) 273-2453; wheelfunrentals.com/Locations/Duluth
4) Spirit Mountain All kinds of kid-friendly fun awaits here: the Timber Twister alpine roller coaster, zipline, mountain bike rentals, mini golf and chairlift rides (with snow tubing, skiing and snowboarding in winter). (218) 628-2891; spiritmt.com
5) Duluth Children’s Museum A variety of hands-on experiences engage kids at this children's museum, one of the oldest in the nation (opened in 1930). Exhibits change frequently; this summer, kids can play with magnets and balance blocks at the Nano exhibit or see animatronic dinosaurs in Dinosaurs Unearthed. (218) 733-7543; duluthchildrensmuseum.org
6) Lake Superior Zoo The region’s only zoo, this 16-acre West Duluth attraction houses favorites like kangaroos, deer, lions, tigers and nocturnal creatures. In the Barnyard, kids can get up close to goats, sheep and a llama. (218) 730-4500; lszooduluth.org
7) Duluth Grill Enjoy fabulous food at this locavore paradise. The kids’ menu includes grass-fed burgers on wheat buns, gluten-free mac and cheese, organic fruit and organic salads. (218) 726-1150; duluthgrill.com
8) Clyde Iron Works Dine on wood-fired pizza and fire-grilled burgers in this former industrial manufacturing plant. Plenty of seating and space to spread out make this a family favorite—as do the life-size chessboard and full-size indoor bocce ball court. (218) 727-1150; clydeironworks.com
9) Edgewater Hotel and Waterpark At 35,000 square feet, this indoor waterpark offers everything from leisurely river rafting to a four-and-a-half story drop via the Tiki Tumbler. Poolside meals, a large arcade and mini golf round out things to do at this hotel minutes from the heart of Canal Park. (218)728-3601; duluthwaterpark.com
10) The Inn on Lake Superior Complimentary s’mores next to Lake Superior and an impressive breakfast buffet are just a couple of the perks of this family-friendly hotel in Canal Park. Parents will love the romantic rooftop hot tub; poolside rooms provide easy access to the water. Lake Superior is out your back door, and some of the best shops and restaurants in Duluth are out the front. (888) 668-4352; theinnonlakesuperior.com
Top photo courtesy of Great Lakes Aquarium.
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