Have you ever dreamed of being a train conductor? Well on our latest trip we got to be more than just that. We saw lots of trains in Duluth. Fall is starting so we figured let’s go north to Duluth and see if the trees are changing yet. We tried to get an early start, not as early as I had hoped but we still had time.
We got about 30 minutes south of Duluth and hit a massive fog bank. This was bigger and denser than anything I have ever seen. It started out slowly and got so thick we couldn’t even see the huge casino located right off the highway. We were a little disappointed that we were not able to see much when we got into Duluth because of how heavy it was. Once we got down into Duluth visibility got a lot better.
The Duluth Depot
We had a few destinations in mind when we got there, the zoo, the depot, a train ride, and check out Superiors shoreline. We decided on taking a train ride. My daughter had wanted to go on one for some time now. We got there the recommended 1hr before purchasing tickets. We had some time to kill before the train took off. With the fog, we didn’t think it was worth it to go to the shoreline so we decided to check out the Depot.
Trains in Duluth
The Depot is just what you think it is, an old train depot that holds multiple museums in one place. If you go on the ground floor, the same place you buy the tickets, you will enter one of the coolest exhibits. When I first asked my husband if he wanted to check out the museum, he was kinda like, a museum?
The second we went through the doors, I think he turned into his 10 yr old self. I mean who doesn’t like trains? They had 4 tracks inside with trains that you could climb into. These were full-length trains too, not just a couple of cars. I think we all got a kick out of getting in them and seeing how people and freight traveled or still travel.
In addition, they had a mini theater setup and a bunch of storefronts. They all took you back in time. It was a really cool museum. They had some model trains set up to run on a track with some interactive buttons so the kids could control it all.
After checking out all the stuff on the main floor, we started to move upward in the museum. It didn’t take us long before we started to get lost. It’s not a normal building shape. After stumbling onto an event hall that looked to be set up for someone’s upcoming nuptials, we decided to go back to the ground floor.
They told us to line up for the train about 5 minutes before boarding. Umm.. You need to be there closer to 15 minutes early. The line got crazy long. By this time my daughter was jumping up in down with excitement. They had three different cars. Each car is very different. The first one had two levels and it was the most modern feeling.
The second one was more 70ish, and the last one was by far the coolest. It felt like you were in back in the 1900’s. Because it was the last car you could also hang out looking through the back of the car. For a little bit, I could imagine Laura Ingalls Wilder taking this style of train when they traveled.
We took a 90-minute trip. The train didn’t go as fast as I expected. For some reason, I thought they were fast-moving modes of transportation. I guess whenever you are waiting for them in your car to cross the tracks, they take forever, so I’m not sure why it surprised me. They really never had enough time to get outside of the city.
The coolest part was when they turned around. Instead of turning or going in reverse the whole way, they moved the engine on a parallel track and backed it into the last car. We went front the last car to the front.
By the end of the trip, we were definitely overdue for a nap. Unfortunately, that had to cut the trip short. The nice thing was, most of the fog had lifted for the drive out of Duluth.
1. Bring a coat. It may be 80s I the cities, but it’s probably only 60 degrees by the lake.
2. Bring responsible snacks on the train. It’s an Antique to treat it with respect. They have a snack cart, but it never made it back to the third car.
For more great Train adventures, check out the other Scenic Train Rides in Minnesota.