Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary
4.5
10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Monday
10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
About
Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary is a 4,300 square-mile marine protected area dedicated to protecting the Great Lakes and their rich history. The cold, fresh water of Lake Huron has preserved a nationally significant collection of nearly 200 historic shipwrecks in and around the sanctuary. Dive in and begin your sanctuary exploration at the visitor center - the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center in Alpena, Michigan - or visit the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Trail, a network of unique outdoor experiences along the sanctuary’s coastline. Experience the individual shipwrecks of Thunder Bay through recreational diving, snorkeling, and paddling at many of the shipwreck sites. Thunder Bay also provides an opportunity for anglers to target many fish species. Commonly caught fish in this area include walleye, bass, northern pike, yellow perch, trout, salmon, and whitefish. Come learn about the rich history of the Great Lakes region at Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary!
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles312 reviews
Excellent
253
Very good
43
Average
12
Poor
1
Terrible
3

pasherry
United States1,156 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2022 • Couples
Free small museum. Watch the film first that tells you about all the shipwrecks in Thunder Bay. Some displays are interactive, others focus on wreck discovery and preservation. National Fish and Wildlife are involved with fish culture of the Great Lakes. A glass bottom boat ride can be booked online to see some of the wrecks.
Written June 27, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Luvtotrvl96
Seven Mile, OH165 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2024 • Couples
A great shipwreck tour! We had a total of 5 other passengers with both of us on a chilly morning with smooth sailing during the 2 hour tour. We saw multiple shipwrecks including a nearly intact barge! The viewing from the main deck was impressive but being able to see wreckage from the upper deck was fantastic!! The crew showed us where to search and the boat hovered to insure we all saw everything possible at each site.
We definitely recommend the tour!
Written June 21, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Doughlady
Alpena, MI41 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
We live in Alpena so we can go anytime. The grand kids really enjoy the Marine Sanctuary, especially the the ship inside the building that you can explore. It simulates a rough storm at sea and you can get a feel for what Great Lakes Sailors experienced.
Written May 13, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kathy N
Marine City, MI101 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2022
A onetime must see while in Alpena! Ideally on a warm summer day when wind and weather is cooperative. A first timer on this Marine Sanctuary site, although many times in the city of Alpena itself and surrounding area.. Well worth the time spent here. Most interesting.
Written August 30, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

OpenRoader
Royal Oak, MI224 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2012 • Couples
This is probably a museum that people don't know about. I wish they did, because they are missing out. This museum is run by donations only, so there is no fee, but they do have a donation box. There are a couple of very cool things in this museum. The first one is a ship replica that you can walk through that makes it seem like it's going through a bad storm. It's pretty cool...you can walk inside and the upper deck. Another section that I thought was awazing is toward the end of the museum where they have a darker room with a lot of items that are from local shipwrecks. They have recovered a lot of these items and put them in this museum. The cool thing is that they have cases of these items and then below there are drawers you can open with more items. It's just really cool to see these items that were once at the bottom of Lake Huron. The staff is very friendly too! If you are into shipwrecks this is a must see museum!
Written June 11, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dave C
Illinois1,673 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2018 • Family
This place is free (unless you take the shipwreck tour which is $30) - with a ton of stuff for people of all ages; lots of information on shipwrecks, reading material, stuff salvages from the wrecks, maps, exhibits. Stuff for kids - hands on game; area to climb through with tubes, slides, etc... a boat about to be shipwrecked complete with audio. Takes about an hour or a little more.

We also did the shipwreck tour... 2 hours - well worth it - need to get lucky enough for a sunny day. Saw 4 wrecks via a glass-bottom boat; guides very knowledgeable and easy to approach. The Captain added some commentary; but we couldn't hear him through the audio. Tour is in Thunder Bay - just outside Alpena - you leave from the museum. Tours are at 10:00, 1:00 and, 4:00

My recommendation - get there 90 minutes before the shipwreck tour - tour the museum, take the tour - and stop in the gift shop on the way out. We got there at 11:30 and left at 3:15.
Written August 15, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

meshahar
East Tawas, MI39 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2014 • Couples
For two hours, the two guides kept the guests of the Glass Bottom Boat well informed and interested. Everyone we met that worked on this attraction were extremely nice and welcoming. We attended the Lighthouse Festival and this weekend The Glass Bottom Boat offered an extra tour around the waters of the Thunder Bay Lighthouse, which is being preserved. They also included a shipwreck and even took us to an extra wreckage on our return to the Bay. We thoroughly enjoyed the views and would highly recommend seeing this beautiful museum, boat tour and gift shop. It was very informative to have the former lighthouse keeper from the Coast Guard on board to give us exciting information about living on this island during his tour of duty for nine months of the year for four years. This may have been an extra feature for this special Lighthouse weekend, but the information you receive regarding this history of the area, Lake Huron, shipping industry and boat wreckages is well worth the stop.
Written October 11, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Anne Z
Spring, TX21 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2016 • Couples
The museum is free but there is admission for the glass bottom boat tour. Both are excellent. The boat tour is about two hours. You go over numerous boat wrecks, several over one hundred years old, in about seventeen to thirty feet of water. The guide was very informative. There are still over ninety shipwrecks that have yet to be discovered in Thunder Bay and they are working on it. If Lake Huron is relatively smooth, there is a very clear view of the sunken ships. When we returned we spent about an hour in the museum. One interesting item is schooner replica so you can see what life aboard a small shipping boat was like over a hundred years ago. The walking surfaces are purposely built on an angle to simulate a schooner in rough seas. A number of interesting exhibits and short movies that describe life on Lake Huron in the 19th and 20th centuries. A very enjoyable trip.
Written July 29, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Amanda H
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2015 • Family
We visited the glass bottom shipwreck tour and it was totally worth the money! We enjoyed our time on the open water and seeing the wrecks. I was concerned we would be crowded and not able to see, but the crew took the time for everyone to see the sites. We enjoyed our time!! If you are in Alpena this is a must see.
Written August 14, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kat H
Alpena, MI246 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2012 • Friends
I'm retired Navy. I LOVE water. I love the Sanctuary! The NOAA building is fantastic! Kids are all eyes! Big kids (me) LOVED the 'ship' inside this huge room, where, when you are aboard, it rocks & creaks & makes you think you are on Thunder Bay a hundred years ago! Then go out on the Glass Bottom Boat! You see these ships, all sorts of 'em! We got "up close & personal" with one of the HUGE lake freighters who was headed into the Cement Plant for a load of Cement. Our Captain was in communication with the Ships' Captain, & we were privileged to be much nearer than the ordinary rambling sailor. We were still safely back, but it is amazing to look up, up up at the Ore Boat. Thunder Bay - the French called it Anse du Tonnere - the Bay of Storms. That's why there are so many shipwrecks... they would take cover in the bay, it was shallower than the "Big Lake" & they'd end up at the bottom. Because it is fresh water & at those depths below 40 degrees... they are preserved. Nature's gift to us! Family friendly, great destination! Again... Alpena is a secret... don't spill the beans!
Written May 7, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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