Saturday, May 4, 2019

Exploring the Wildlife Wonders and Ecology of Lake Superior at the Great Lakes Aquarium

Exploring the Wildlife Wonders and Ecology of Lake Superior at the Great Lakes Aquarium

Exploring the Wildlife Wonders and Ecology of Lake Superior at the Great Lakes Aquarium

**Disclosure: I did receive complimentary admission to Glensheen and the Great Lakes Aquarium in partnership with Visit Duluth in order to bring you detailed reviews. No other compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own.

Lake Superior figures prominently in Duluth's ecology, history, economy and everyday life. So, understanding the lake provides a nice foundation for a visit to the city. A morning at the Great Lakes Aquarium gave us a fantastic and informative look at the marine life calling Lake Superior home as well as a taste of different aquatic environments throughout the world. Spend a little time exploring this incredible lake with us and see why the Great Lakes Aquarium is great to add to your Duluth visit especially when traveling with littles:
Step Back in Time:

The Great Lakes Aquarium focuses on the wildlife that call Lake Superior home. We began our journey at the aquarium learning a little bit about how the Great Lakes formed and the ancient fish that once lived there.

Learning about the geological history of the Great Lakes at the Great Lakes Aquarium
Learning about the geological history of the Great Lakes.
Of course, I was delighted to see a cast of a placoderm which is an armoured prehistoric fish!

ENORMOUS Placoderm cast at the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth, Minnesota
ENORMOUS Placoderm cast!

Fact: Lake Superior is the World's Largest Lake by surface area. 

Then, we learned about the fish that live in Lake Superior. First, we learned about the sculpin and their special adaptations to live in cold water.

Learning about sculpin adaptations at Great Lakes Aquarium
Learning about sculpin adaptations.
We also learned about trout, salmon, black crappie, whitefish, sturgeon and more. You can watch the feedings of some of the fish which is not doubt a blast for the kids!


Visiting with trout at Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth, MN
Visiting with trout.
Up Close Habitats and Experiences:

Easily one of the favorite parts of an aquarium is the ability to get up close with wildlife and a taste of different habitats. We enjoyed visiting with turtles and a rehabilitated night heron.

Visiting with wildlife at Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth, Minnesota
Visiting with wildlife.
Baptism River is also a stunning exhibit! Just beautiful! In other exhibits, you can experience the antics of River Otter and learn about the fish that live in various Great Lakes and benefit from different temperatures.

Baptism River is a stunning exhibit and focal point at Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth, MN
Baptism River is a stunning exhibit!
Taking Care of the Great Lakes:

We learned about invasive species, how quickly they can alter the ecology of the region and the importance of balance and management.

Zebra mussels are one of the invasive species affecting the Great Lakes.
Zebra mussels are one of the invasive species affecting the Great Lakes.
In addition to the zebra mussels, we learned about the lamprey eel who are particularly harmful to native fish species.

The lamprey eel harm native fish in the Great Lakes.
The lamprey eel harm native fish in the Great Lakes.
We also read about water usage challenges to the Great Lakes and how we can better manage these treasures and vital resources. The aquarium gives great ideas on how we can all help protect the Great Lakes.


Ideas for taking care of the Great Lakes.
Taking care of the Great Lakes.

Plenty of Fun for Kids:

There is a children's play area and plenty of hands-on experience including touchpools. I LOVED the ode to our National Forests and Smokey the Bear! How cool! There is also a water table area.

Plenty of play and learning experiences for kids at the Great Lakes Aquarium
Plenty of play experiences for kids.
What a View!

*ProTip* Don't miss the great photo spot on the deck upstairs. You get a spectacular view of the Aerial Lift Bridge.

Magnificent view of the Aerial Lift Bridge from the deck at Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth, Minnesota
Magnificent view of the Aerial Lift Bridge from the deck!
Shipwrecks:

We would learn more about shipwrecks at the Lake Superior Marine Maritime Visitor Center, but we did enjoy learning about how organisms adapt and live with items left behind from shipwrecks. One of my favorite pieces is the spiral staircase from the SS America. In the past, it was ok to scavenge from the wrecks but now you cannot without special permits and permissions.

Spiral staircase from the wreckage of the SS America
Spiral staircase from the wreckage of the SS America

Exhibits for All Ages:

Great Lakes Aquarium does a great job of incorporating exhibits about many elements of water quality and usage. The exhibits are at a level that young children can understand yet also have interest for adults and older children. There are some exhibits that are a little more detailed geared towards older kids and adults. So, there is definitely something for all ages!

Learning about water quality at Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth, Minnesota
Learning about water quality.

*ProTip* Feeding times are pretty popular especially for the littles. So, plan your adventure by incorporating those times in.

Fish From All Over the World

Additionally, there were tropical tanks and tanks with fish from other habitats. I wasn't expecting to learn about tropical fish, it was an extra delight to see corals, seahorses and more!

Learning about coral reefs at Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth, Minnesota
Learning about coral reefs.
Overall

We enjoyed a morning learning about the fish and other wildlife that call the Lake Superior region home. We also enjoyed learning more about the Great Lakes and how we can protect these incredible resources. Additionally, the aquarium introduced us to marine wildlife from all over the world and gave an international perspective to our water system. The Great Lakes Aquarium establishes great up close and experiential learning opportunities for all ages.

To Know about Great Lakes Aquarium:
  • Great Lakes Aquarium has a FABULOUS gift shop with plenty of locally made items.
  • There is water table fun for the littles, so bring extra clothes!
  • One experience allows you to see divers in the Isle Royale exhibit.
  • Wonderful spacing out of exhibits -- I often find aquariums cramped but not so at Great Lakes Aquarium!
Follow more of our trip at Weekend Getaway to Duluth, Minnesota.
Exploring the Wildlife Wonders and Ecology of Lake Superior and More at the Great Lakes Aquarium



2 comments:

  1. This was very interesting. What a great place to visit!

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's been years since I've been to Duluth! What a great spot!

    ReplyDelete