The North Shore Trip

This past weekend the Hubby and I drove up to the North Shore, and we ended up cramming in a lot of activities. On Friday I had to work a half day, and that afternoon before we left the Cities, we took in the Minnesota History Center’s Prohibition exhibit. I did some museum tweeting, which you can see on Storify by clicking the image below. 

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Then we drove 2.5 hours north on Highway 35 to Superior, Wisconsin, which is right across the river from Duluth, Minnesota. We checked into our hotel and I was ready to crash, but we somehow managed to drag our butts out to see The Monuments Men. It was awesome and totally worth the putting on of pants.

We slept in on Saturday, had breakfast and started driving up the “North Shore” – the area of Minnesota that borders Lake Superior – at about noon. We drove up scenic Highway 61 and stopped at Two Harbors, Gooseberry Falls State Park and Split Rock Lighthouse. I hadn’t been to the North Shore before this, and I have to say that seeing it in the winter on a sunny, warm day was a heck of a way to be introduced.

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Part of the shoreline along Highway 61.

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A panorama of Two Harbors bay. Click on this photo – and any of the photos – for a much larger version of what can be seen here on the main page.

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The Upper Falls of Gooseberry Falls is completely frozen over, but the water is still moving underneath the ice cover and can be seen at the base of the falls and moving downstream.

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Icicles hang from the side of the Gooseberry Falls visitor center.

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The chickadees and red squirrels were running around the feeders at the visitor’s center at Gooseberry Falls.

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Split Rock Lighthouse. The smaller building on the left has the machinery for the large horns that would sound warnings to incoming ships.

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Rocky shore seen from Split Rock Lighthouse. The “waves” frozen by the shore were the Hubby’s favorite part.

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I’ve never seen a large body of water frozen like this. The Hubby dubbed the patches “ice lilypads”.

On Sunday morning we stopped by the Lake Superior Zoo in Duluth. Not a lot of people were out that day, so it felt like we had a private showing! Lake Superior Zoo is a smaller zoo, but the main trail forms a large loop around an open forest area, so it was a pretty walk. They had a bunch of indoor exhibits and the animals that were comfortable outside seemed happy to show off for their small audience.

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Well, this tiger didn’t really care that we were there because LUNCH TIME!!!

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Close-up of a gigantic snapping turtle hanging out underwater.
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A female lion looks at us suspiciously while her mate naps beside her.

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It took willpower to not climb over the fence to pet this cougar. She was chirping at us and rubbing her face against the fence in the same way our cat rubs against her scratching post.

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Baby. Angolan. Colobus. Monkey. That is all.

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Large-spotted genet seen under red lights in the nocturnal animals building.

We came back to Minneapolis after the zoo, a short 2.5 hour drive home. It was a fun-packed mini-vacation, and it was nice to find to the pretty side of winter in Minnesota.

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The North Shore Trip
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389 thoughts on “The North Shore Trip

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    That’s actually the first picture I’ve seen of the Split Rock lighthouse from the land side. It’s in lots of lighthouse books and calendars, but always from the water side showing the cliff. One of these days we need to devote a vacation to Great Lakes lighthouses.

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