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“Flagship of the US Steel Fleet”

S.S. William A. Irvin Ore Boat Museum
Ranked #9 of 94 things to do in Duluth
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Located at Canal Park, this museum was once an ore boat.
Winnipeg, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
175 reviews
98 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 145 helpful votes
“Flagship of the US Steel Fleet”
Reviewed 10 July 2014

The William A Irvin was the flagship of the US Steel fleet for decades. Operating as both workhorse and cruise ship for well to do friends of upper management, the ship offers an interesting glimpse into the world of a Great Lakes ship. The guided tour is about an hour in length and provides a lot of information on the ship. If you're down in Canal Park it's definitely a tour worth considering unless you have any physical limitations since there are a lot of stairs on the tour.

Visited June 2014
Thank Wadie1979
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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364 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Chicago, Illinois
Level 6 Contributor
164 reviews
74 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Great for ship enthusiasts”
Reviewed 9 July 2014

If you've ever wanted to climb aboard one the big ore ships that pass through the harbor, here's your chance. The retired ship is convenient to the Canal Park activities. I'd recommend parking in the DECC lot (5 bucks), and leave the car all day. Choose a spot right across from the entrance to the ship. After the tour, you are right by the aquarium, the movie theatres, the harbor, and so on. Tours are led by enthusiastic guides (ours was a young ex-Navy), and you walk up top, as well as through various engine rooms and living spaces. The whole tour lasts about an hour or so, and much of the time you are inside, so it's not a bad idea if there's rain (though not too much).

Visited July 2014
Thank mosthecat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Minneapolis, MN
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Lots of steps!”
Reviewed 9 July 2014

I took the tour with my grandson (7). We really enjoyed it and the guide was very knowledgeable. There are a lot of steep steps but the tour does not rush (about an hour). I understand that in October there is a haunted house set up in the cargo hold and it is a big hit.

Visited July 2014
Thank Minnesotan59
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Shawnee, Kansas
Level 6 Contributor
117 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“A really interesting and fun tour.”
Reviewed 7 July 2014

We have been to Duluth several times, but never took the tour. Very happy we did. Hey, plus kids are FREE. You got to go all over the ship. Checked out a variety of things. Nothing was off limits. Based on how many cargo ships we have seen before, it was great to finally experience the inside. It was really cool!!

Visited June 2014
Thank MarqReeves
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 5 Contributor
55 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
“Informative and a valuable experience!”
Reviewed 4 July 2014

We really enjoyed our tour of the Irvin boat. The entrance fee was $12 for adults, $8 for students and seniors, and children under 10 years are free with a paid adult. The fee is high, but the experience was informative and educational for all of us. Our children (5 and 8) thought it was interesting. We saw a big ship come into the harbor before visiting the Irvin. I recommend this, as children will probably be more interested in the tour. Sierra was our tour guide and she did a really nice job. She told us just the right information. She was easy to follow, and we could hear her well. Tours run every half hour and they run one hour long.

If you are a family considering touring the boat, I don't recommend bringing children much younger than 4 or 5 years. I also recommend one small child per adult. The stairs are steep, and I would think carrying a little one would be quite challenging.

If you are a person with physical disabilities, I also think this tour would be challenging. Again, the stairs are steep and sometimes you have to walk down sideways or backwards.

If you are terrified of heights, this tour will make you weak in the knees.

The only trouble we had was parking. We couldn't figure out where to park. Signage could be better. Does a person park in the convention center parking lot? We ended up driving back to our hotel (Hampton) and walking the couple blocks. I believe you pay for all parking in the area.

The gift shop is quite nice. Don't forget to grab the 20% off coupon from Duluth's coupon book (we got ours from Thompson Hill Information Center). You can also get it online.

The tour will be outside, so you may want to go when the weather is better. It is very close to Canal Park/lift bridge, shopping, restaurants, etc. A person could spend a couple days seeing the sights.

Visited June 2014
2 Thank 2much4us2see
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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