Discover Northern Minnesota History & Heritage

History & Heritage, Midwestern US Itinerary


A charming mansion, a scenic train ride and special moments from Duluth to Grand Rapids combine to make this northern Minnesota history & heritage tour one to remember.
Catfish at the Great Lakes Aquarium

Catfish at the Great Lakes Aquarium

Enjoy These Great Northern Minnesota Attractions and More:

  • Great Lakes Aquarium
  • North Shore Scenic Railroad
  • Lake Superior Railroad Museum
  • Gooseberry Falls State Park
  • International Wolf Center
  • Greyhound Bus Museum


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Lake Superior Railroad Museum in Duluth

Lake Superior Railroad Museum in Duluth



Begin your Duluth visit with a tour through Minnesota history at the 1908 Glensheen Mansion, a 30-room mansion on the shores of Lake Superior with 12 acres of gardens. Guided tours share stories of the historic Congdon Estate, which housed one of Minnesota’s most influential families. Glensheen Mansion is the most visited house museum in the Midwest.
Visit the Great Lakes Aquarium and discover species primarily found in the Great Lakes Basin, along with exhibits showcasing native animals in their habitat. Educational programs are available to learn more about river otters, regional birds and freshwater fish.
North American Bear Center in Ely

North American Bear Center in Ely


There’s no better way to see Duluth and Lake Superior than on the North Shore Scenic Railroad. The popular 90-minute Duluth Zephyr travels through downtown and along Lake Superior. Or, enjoy a full day adventure beginning with the Two Harbors Turn route featuring a scenic ride and layover in beautiful Two Harbors for lunch, shopping, sightseeing and admission to the Lake Superior Railroad Museum. The museum features 23 locomotives and more than 40 additional displays of train cars, each a significant part of Minnesota history and the iron ore industry.

Another option is to meet your coach in Two Harbors for a short drive to Gooseberry Falls State Park to experience the thunderous roar of the upper, middle and lower falls.


Visit the International Wolf Center in Ely for a close encounter with the resident wolf pack as they play, eat, sleep and tussle. Staff naturalists guide you through educational programs, activities or customized program content to discover the wolf/prey relationship. Wonderful exhibits share the story of this species. Downtown Ely is perfect for lunch on your own with time to visit the city’s one-of-a-kind shops and galleries.
The North American Bear Center contains live black bears in their natural habitat with indoor and outdoor viewing areas. More than 50 video exhibits of wild Minnesota bears and a variety of daily programs shed light on bear behavior. Located in the Superior National Forest, Ely also offers a wide variety of outdoor activities. For those who cannot get enough winter adventure, Chilly Dogs Sled Dog Trips is a must. Along with knowledgeable guides you will drive your own team of sled dogs over wilderness trails using top-notch equipment. Groups are welcome.


Enjoy breakfast and check out before departing on a picturesque ride to Hibbing, the birthplace of the U.S. bus industry.
Housed in the Greyhound Bus Museum are 13 historic buses. The story is told of Carl Wickman and Andrew “Bus Andy” Anderson who started their own bus service in 1914. Pictorial displays, artifacts, memorabilia, audiovisual presentations and a video tell how a two-mile route grew into the largest bus company in the world.
You can then travel to Grand Rapids for lunch at more than a dozen restaurants.
Authentic re-creations of history from 1900 can be found at the Forest History Center. Visit Northwood No. 1, a white pine logging camp where you can meet the cook, clerk, blacksmith and lumberjacks. Continue your visit with a 1934 Forest Service patrolman and get a bird’s eye view from atop the 100-foot fire tower.
For more Minnesota group travel inspiration and planning advice, download a copy of the Minnesota Group Tour Planner.
Northern Minnesota still has plenty more for travel groups to experience, so be sure to Subscribe to Leisure Group Travel for FREE and get even more travel ideas and tips

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