Ely, Minnesota Attractions

Bois Forte Heritage Center and Cultural Museum

A two-story building celebrating the history, life and ways of the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe. 3,000 square feet of exhibits, including a mural on the migration of the band into the Great Lakes area; maps; artifacts; a Waaginogam — or wigwam — fur trading post and school re-creations; a wall on spirituality and beliefs; a lifeways exhibit that includes education on topics such as ricing, bead work and basketing; a constellation ceiling; and a veteran’s wall that pays tribute to Bois Forte band members who served in the U.S. armed forces.

Please call the museum or check out our website for current hours.

Bois Forte Heritage Center and Cultural Museum
Fortune Bay Casino
1500 Bois Forte Road
Tower,MN 55790
(218) 753-6017

Dorothy Molter Museum

The Dorothy Molter Museum is a memorial to the legendary last resident of the BWCAW, who died in 1986 after living most of her 79 years on Knife Lake near the U.S.-Canada border. Canoeists often stopped at Molter’s home to enjoy her hospitality and famous homemade root beer (she was often referred to as “the Root Beer Lady”) The museum’s log cabins were transported out of the BWCAW piece-by-piece and reassembled in Ely. Please visit the museum's website for tour and programming schedules.

Located east of Ely on Hwy. 169
Phone: (218)365-4451

Ely Arts and Heritage Center

Visit Ely's historic Pioneer Mine at 401 North Pioneer Road across from the Grand Ely Lodge and alongside Miners Lake - Ely's stocked designated TROUT LAKE! The site is managed by Ely Arts & Heritage Center (www.elygreenstone.org). The mine is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Shaft House, 401 North Pioneer Road, is open Memorial Day through Labor Day on Tuesdays from 2-5 p.m. and Fridays from 3-6 p.m. and by appointment (218-365-2841). Photos and artifacts from the underground mine which closed in 1967 are displayed. Visitors are welcomed - free. The Miners Dry House, 105 Miners Lake Landing Road, features events, art shows and classes throughout the year and is located alongside the Trezona Trail.


Ely Area Veterans Memorial


Stop at the west edge of the Trezona Trail, at the intersection of the Pioneer Road and the Miners Drive for information, reflection and a break at the beautiful Ely Area Veterans Memorial. 


  - View Old Glory and the POW flag.

  - View each flag of the wartime services.

 - In the center is the Bataan pedestal granite memorial naming the seven Ely Area  Servicemen that went through the horror of the Bataan Death March in WW2.

 - Ten pedestals with granite memorials (Spanish American War through Iraqi   Operation Freedom)  outline the wars and conflicts that the Ely Area men and women served in, including maps and information.   


 Additional Facts  

  - Ely had the highest per capita of Service men and women in WW2   (over 30%) and the highest per capita KIA (52) in WW2.

 - Ely was recognized by Kate Smith during her war bond drives.

  - Two Ely servicemen were killed at Pearl Harbor Dec.7, 1941.  One is entombed on the Battleship Arizona. 

 - Trezona Trail surrounds Miners Lake and is approx.  4 miles long.

 - Five underground hematite mines (iron ore) are located under Miners Lake.

 - When the last mine was closed (Pioneer Mine) and the pumps from the mine were removed, the area became Miners Lake.

 - Ore from the mines became so valuable during WW2 that the miners were draft exempt in 1943.

 - A sheltered viewing area with picnic tables, overlooking Miners Lake,   is located at the northwest end of the Trezona Trail.

 - The granite for the Memorial is quarried near Babbitt, Minn. and is named Mesabi Black.  




 The Ely Area Veterans Memorial is dedicated to all Ely Area Veterans, past, present, and future and was built through the donations of citizens, businesses, and government entities. Please enjoy the Veterans Memorial but respect what we consider hallowed ground. Only strollers and wheelchairs are allowed please.  Flags are usually flown from Memorial Day to Veterans Day, weather permitting.  


 Additional information can be obtained through the Ely-Winton Historical Society located at Vermilion Community College.


Ely Folk School

Ely Folk School is a do-it-yourself place for learning traditional crafts and skills associated with Ely's cultural heritage and wilderness legacy.  Our school is on the vanguard of a growing movement that launched in Scandinavia over a century ago.  The earliest schools were started by grassroots groups of local farmers and later labor unions, and then the movements was carried forward by rural townspeople.  Their thrust was to return educations to the community at a time when it was largely restricted to the upper classes.

The movement continues today with over 600 folk schools in Scendinavia and Europe, though the thrust is now low-tech, high touch learning rather than educaitonal reform.  More than 200 folk schools exist in the United States, where each has an identity linked to its geography.  Ely's rich Balkan and Finnish cultural heritage and its internationally renowned wilderness offer a rich trove around which EFS is creating its identity.

For more details on our upcoming classes, visit www.elyfolkschool.org.  Ely Folk School is located at 209 E. Sheridan Street, Ely, MN 55731 PH: 218-235-0138


Ely-Winton History Museum

Located on Ely’s Vermilion Community College campus, this center shows the local history of logging and mining through artifacts, photographs and displays.

Please call the museum or check out our website for current hours.

1900 East Camp St., Ely, MN 55731
Phone: (218)365-3226

International Wolf Center

Five Unforgettable Experiences Await You...

1. Look a gray wolf in the eye from only inches away

2. Thrill to the mezmorizing howl of our ambassador wolves

3. Learn new and fascinating facts about wolves from our experts

4. Explore wild wolf habitat and track them through radio telemetry

5. Take amazing photographs of our Exhibit Pack in their natural habitat

Families, individuals, kids, groups, scouts, educators—there's an hour-long, day-long or weekend-long adventure awaiting you at this multi-million dollar interpretive museum and exhibit.

Located east of Ely on Hwy. 169
Phone: (800) ELY-WOLF


Listening Point

Sigurd Olson created Listening Point, a rugged northern Minnesota  property on Burntside Lake near Ely, Minnesota, in 1956 as a private retreat. It became widely known and celebrated after Alfred Knopf published Sig’s book, Listening Point, in 1958.

The Listening Point Foundation, Inc., owns and cares for the property at Listening Point and conducts visits for the interested public.

The Foundation is dedicated to furthering Sig’s legacy of wilderness education by publishing wilderness education materials and sponsoring wilderness educational programs.

Tours of Listening Point require advanced reservation.  Call 218-365-8889 for more details.  P.O. Box 180, Ely MN  55731.  Website: http://listeningpointfoundation.org/

Sisu Heritage Homestead Tours

About 30 miles southwest of Ely – near Embarrass – you can see actual pioneer homesteads, saunas, a rare housebarn and more representing the Finnish heritage of the entire community. Several of these buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. Please call the museum or check out our website for current hours.

Soudan Underground Mine

This Minnesota State Park features the first, deepest, and richest underground iron ore mine in Minnesota. Tours of the mine lead visitors through the world of underground mining. The 1.5 hour guided tour will take you 2,341 feet down and more than 100 years into our past.

Visitors can also tour the underground physics lab and learn about experiments involving neutrinos and WIMPs.

Please call the museum or check out our website for current hours.

Educational and group tours are available by special arrangement. Located west of Ely off of Highway 169 in Soudan, MN.

Phone: (218) 753-2245 http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_parks/soudan_underground_mine/index.html


The Historic Pillow Rock

The Historic Pillow Rock is an excellent example of an ellipsoidal lava flow said to be 2.7 billion years old with peculiar masses formed when dark lavas flowed under water. One of the few specimens of its kind in the world; the rock is an outcrop of Ely Greenstone, volcanic origin. Turn north on 13th Avenue and go 4 blocks. Signs will take you to Main Street where the rock is located.

The North American Bear Center 

The North American Bear Center is the only education facility of its kind. Dedicated to replacing old myths with facts, it lets people learn from the bears themselves about bear behavior, ecology, and their relations with humans. 


Great things await you inside!


The most common expression we hear from first-time visitors as they step inside the door of the Bear Center is "Wow!"  They are fascinated by our realistic northwoods feel, new camping exhibit, state-of-the-art theater, interpretive nature trail, and our new Northwoods Ecology Hall that features a four season exhibit.  It is filled with the sights and sounds of the northwoods. Visitors have ranked us as #1 on Trip Advisor for two years in a row!


Meet our Ambassador Bears Ted, Lucky, Holly, and Tasha.


The North American Bear Center is also home to four resident black bears living in a 2.5 acre naturally forested enclosure with a pond and waterfalls. The bears can be viewed from the indoor viewing windows or the outdoor viewing balcony—both offering an excellent view of the pond and waterfall area that the bears frequent. 


Daily Programs And Events

Starting Memorial Day weekend - Bear Enrichment programs at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.  In addition you can take a Behind-the-Scenes tour, which is included with the cost of admission.  Be sure to sure to visit our Bear Necessities Gift Shop.


Located one mile west of Ely


1926 Highway 169, Ely, MN. 55731
Telephone: 218-365-7879 / Toll free: 877-365-7879
Email: info@bear.org.  For current hours and admission prices, call us at 877-365-7879 or visit our website: www.bear.org.   Military and Group rates available. 

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