The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has announced that a popular Minnesota tourist attraction will now have something new to offer visitors in 2022, while a popular past option will not be available.

According to the DNR, beginning this year, visitors to Lake Vermilion-Soudan Underground Mine State Park can learn about the rich history of Minnesota’s first iron ore mine in a new surface tour that will be offered this summer.

The DNR expects the the new surface tour schedule will begin Memorial Day weekend and then run through Labor Day. "Historical interpreters will be available to lead visitors on a 1.5-hour tour around the mine complex, highlighting the variety of buildings and equipment used and the role the surface facilities played in mining operations."

They add that underground mine tours normally held at the park will not be offered this season, as the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources evaluates options and costs for completing mine shaft repairs.

“The Soudan Underground Mine tours attract an average of 35,000 visitors a year,” park manager Jim Essig said. “While we’ll miss being able to offer the underground tours this year, we’re also thrilled to interpret another perspective with the new surface tours.”

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Surface tours will begin every half hour from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The cost is $5 per person for ages 5 and older; ages 4 and younger are free. Tour groups are limited to 10 people.

The DNR recommends making reservations prior to visiting the Soudan Mine through the online reservation system, which opens for tour booking on April 1, 2022. The Soudan Mine is located just over an hour and half away from the Duluth area.

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