When we left the Soudan Mine tour we headed for the Vince Shute Wildlife Sanctuary which is about 30-40 miles from Orr, MN ad two hours north of Duluth, MN. They are open every Tuesday from 5 pm to 8 pm. Thousands of visitors come thee every year to see the black bears that inhabit the area and learn about and view their behavior, habitat and life cycles. Around 80+ black bears visit the sanctuary each season, including large boars, sows with cubs, yearlings and sub-adults. From their bear viewing deck visitors can observe bears feeding, playing and interacting in the surrounding meadow and woods.
We pulled up in the parking lot, bought our tickets ($8 each) and were loaded onto a school bus for the ride to the Sanctuary. During the short trip we received a short talk on the history of the sanctuary and the bears. When we arrived we were immediately escorted to the raised decking where everyone viewed the bears and volunteers were available to answer questions. The bears roam free wherever they want to go (yes including highways and towns) during the day and night and make their way to the Sanctuary’s feeding place (where we viewed them) in the late afternoon each day where food awaits. We saw several small cubs climbing up the trees to the very tops and just hanging out there. We also saw around 20 adult bears all around below us eating and roaming. A little girl that was there visiting told her daddy she counted over 30 bears. It was a very fascinating experience being so close to the bears in their natural habitat and not feeling threatened. I highly recommend this as a must see stop if you’re ever in northern Minnesota. Children and adults will enjoy this unusual experience.
On our way back to the resort we stopped to eat at The Dam Restaurant. The wait for our food was quite long but when we got it everything was delicious. Roy got Cajun Walleye and I got a Chicken Caesar Salad. We both ordered homemade blueberry pie for dessert and it was perfect! All in all a great day full of adventures!
Ya’ll come back now ya’ hear!