In May, my mom and I spent Mother’s Day weekend in Duluth, MN. A friend of mine got married and my mom and I had talked about a Mother’s Day/birthday weekend in Duluth anyway. We drove up on Friday and came back bright and early on Sunday morning. With the wedding on Saturday afternoon, we only had Friday afternoon and evening and Sunday morning to explore. So, as with my Girl’s Weekend in Duluth post last week, this is another guide to help you explore Duluth if you have a 24 hour period.
NORTH SHORE SCENIC RAILROAD
Our first stop was the North Shore Scenic Railroad. We had VIP tickets for the glass-domed car. I actually debated which train ride/tickets to get as I purchased them and this was definitely the right choice. You get a great view from the glass-domed car and each ticket comes with two drinks (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) and snacks.
We were skeptical whether or not we’d get a lot out of this ride, but it was so much fun! We learned more than we expected about Duluth and it was a nice, relaxing ride.
If you want the best lake view, sit on the lake side of the car. We didn’t and we still enjoyed the view of the lake, but we also had people and water bottles in the way.
GREAT LAKES AQUARIUM
After the train ride we had to bolt to the Great Lakes Aquarium to tour before it closed. I had an interest in visiting because I heard it has a quite a few touch pools. This aquarium isn’t AZA-certified, but when I reached out to them to ask about it the director said they follow AZA guidelines because certification is in their five-year plan, so I felt comfortable going.
I really enjoyed the aquarium. Everyone I talked to was really knowledgeable. The touch pools were really cool. You’re only allowed to reach so far into them, so if the animals don’t want to be touched they can stay away. I wasn’t able to touch one of the sturgeons, but that was totally fine with me. It was fun to watch them and I respect their need for space.
I did get to touch the jellyfish, which was the biggest reason I wanted to go. These are moon jellies, so they can sting you, but humans don’t feel their sting. I talked to the staff member who was at this touch pool for a while and learned so much about jellyfish. She told me when you’ll feel the sting (it has to do the with the length of the tentacles in relation to the size of the bell), when you should go to the doctor if stung in the wild (which she has been), and that urine on a jellyfish sting can actually cause more pain… so don’t do what Monica on Friends did and have someone pee on you.
The aquarium also has a beautiful view of the Aerial Lift Bridge.
BRUNCH AT JJ ASTOR
JJ Astor is the restaurant on that spins so that you can get a full 360-degree view while you eat your meal. We stayed at the Raddison Hotel and JJ Astor is on the 13th floor of that building, so of course, we had to get brunch on Saturday morning so that my mom could see the view.
LAKE SUPERIOR RAILROAD MUSEUM
After brunch, we walked back to the Railroad Museum–which is where the train takes off. And it’s an easy walk from the Raddison Hotel. If you ride the train you get a discount to the railroad museum and this was a fun place to go to. The highlight for me was the train exhibit, where you get to walk through a train platform and learn more about the history of the trains, and the Ojibwe Gallery.
The jingle dress is what I remember most, because just a few weeks earlier I went to a talk led by someone affiliated with the Attorney General about missing and murdered Indigenous women. I’ve heard some of the statistics, so I wanted to learn more and also find out how we can raise awareness and provide support.
WEDDING AT GLENSHEEN
After we toured that museum, we returned to the hotel for some downtime and to get ready for the wedding. I talked about Glensheen in my last post; it’s a historic mansion with a tragic history on the shores of Lake Superior and now you can tour it. We opted not to tour since it is a pricier place to visit and we knew we might have a chance at the wedding.
It was a cold day, but we spent some time touring the grounds. This is such a beautiful spot for a wedding. After the ceremony we were able to tour the mansion on our own (with staff in the hallways, of course).
Knowing it’s history (a Clue-like murder took place there), it was a little eerie to have a group of nicely dressed people touring the mansion after hours. It brought to mind scenes from the movie! But it was also nice to have a relaxed tour and to be able to see the mansion without big tour groups inside.
At the end of the reception we went back to the hotel for the night and that was the end of our trip.
After we left my mom and I kept talking about how nice it was get away and how much we enjoyed everything we did and saw. We’d definitely like to return and explore more of Duluth sometime.
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU WENT ON A WEEKEND GETAWAY WITH YOUR MOM OR ANOTHER WOMAN IN YOUR LIFE? WHERE DID YOU GO? I’D LOVE TO HEAR ALL ABOUT IT!