A new permanent exhibit is opening soon at the Minnesota Children’s Museum!
It’s called Shipwreck Adventures and I got a behind-the-scenes sneak peek!
Plus I got to chat with Senior Exhibit Developer Mary Weiland about how this exhibit came to be.
Read about my experience AND get the CHEAPEST possible tickets with my special code at the end of this post!
It’s hard not to be fascinated with shipwrecks and underwater life, no matter what our age is. There’s such a story there, and so much to be discovered. And it’s even more fascinating that shipwrecks are so close to home for us here in Minnesota – as there are many in Lake Superior!
I grew up in Duluth, Minnesota, in a house right on Lake Superior, so I got to see ships coming in and out of the harbor all the time. But there is also such history here – and one shipwreck in Lake Superior is used as the inspiration for this new exhibit!
Mary Weiland explored a lot of ideas for what the exhibit could be, but once the idea of a shipwreck was chosen, Mary researched shipwrecks in Lake Superior and discovered the J.S. Seaverns. It was a steam barge that regularly carried food, building supplies and passengers across the lake, but one day in 1884 it hit a rock and sank. Thankfully all of the crew and passengers survived, but the ship sank. After that it was forgotten and actually lost until 2016 when a group of divers searched for it. Mary interviewed and worked with an expert named Ken Merryman, a founder of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Preservation Society. Ken helped Mary and her team understand things like how the ship landed on the lake’s floor and how ships were built then, to make the exhibit as accurate and interesting as possible.
What’s the exhibit like?
Right where you walk in on the first floor, where Super Awesome Adventures was, you’ll find the Shipwreck Adventures exhibit being finished. Everything is designed and made here in the museum, starting downstairs in their workshop.
Kids and adults will be able to explore a big “sunken ship hull,” learn about plants and animals, and even get to do diving “training.”
There is a big map on the wall that will be full of interesting points in the great lakes, a pilot house with a life-sized ship wheel, and photos and videos which will teach about ship life.
The sunken ship hull is huge!
There’s a cliffs and coves area dedicated to the natural landscape of Lake Superior’s north shore including a herring gull, a blue-spotted salamander and a woodland jumping mouse (eek!).
There is even a wheel to crank to change the time of day from midnight to morning! It’s similar to the way you could crank a wheel to turn the weather from sunny to stormy in the old “Our World” exhibit! Remember that?
I even got to see the work being done in the workshop downstairs! They’re building a “dinghy” that kids can send materials to on conveyer belts and ramps, which is one of many things in the exhibit that helps kids learn teamwork.
I got to see the machines being built for this, and some more of the animals like the northern long-eared bats.
In the workshop they also had a variety of props that kids will be able to use in the exhibit – diving vests, diving gear, “packages” that kids can put on the conveyer belts and ramps, as well as animals like fish.
Fun for Kids and Adults
One thing I learned about Shipwreck Adventures is that it is created to engage both kids and adults. There will be many opportunities for adults to play with their kids, so be prepared to have some fun too!
There is a ton of interesting information about Shipwreck Adventures on the Minnesota Children’s Museum website.
When does it open?
A date hasn’t been set as of this writing, but it will be very soon this winter! Watch their website and social media pages for updates!
Get DISCOUNTED Tickets (Lowest-Priced!)
- Get $3 off admission with my EXCLUSIVE code TCFM when you buy in person! (Mention code at the desk) Or save $20 on a membership either in person or online. This is the BEST deal you can find! No limit. https://mcm.org/wp/visit/
- Get free and reduced-priced admission through the “Play for All” Program. Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul provides free and reduced-priced family memberships to low-income and foster care families and is available to any family living at or below 200% of the poverty level. More info on their website.