Specialized Spaces for Research and Learning

Our facilities provide a gathering place, educational opportunities and support economic development through research and tourism. The Lake Superior Reserve occupies two waterfront buildings on Barker’s Island near Route 53 in Superior. Our buildings, which we purchased in 2011 through funds obtained through a grant from NOAA, are part of the UW-Superior campus. The buildings house our administrative offices and offices for the Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute, as well as a dock-side laboratory, a public science and interpretive learning center and classrooms.

Research with us

Our dockside laboratory is available to visiting and partnering researchers.
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Research Facilities

Tools for your research

The Reserve’s research facilities include a meeting room, student work stations and a 1,300 sq. ft. dockside laboratory. The lab is available to visiting and partnering researchers and houses equipment for water quality analysis and other scientific research.

Additionally, the Lake Superior Research Institute (LSRI), housed at UW-Superior, maintains several aquatic biology and chemistry labs. Visiting researchers should contact LSRI directly for more information.


Hannah Ramage

water quality monitoring in St. Louis River

Research Vessels

Navigate the estuary and coastal Lake Superior

R2512 docked at Lake Superior Reserve headquarters


The Reserve is home to a 25-foot vessel that enhances its scientific research, monitoring and educational missions. The vessel is intended for operation in protected waters and near-shore environments, making it an ideal boat to navigate the St. Louis River Estuary and coastal Lake Superior. It comes outfitted with a high-resolution sidescan sonar that produces detailed images of lakebeds and river bottoms. Additionally, an onboard side crane allows loading and unloading of bulky scientific equipment needed for other research endeavors. The vessel, named R2512, is assigned under an agreement with NOAA. Download request for use form


Hannah Ramage

R.D. Browne docked at Lake Superior Reserve headquarters

R.D. Browne

The Reserve owns and operates a 19 ft. shallow draft, high-capacity boat, which is available—along with an operator—to visiting researchers and educators. Download request for use form


Hannah Ramage

aerial view of University of Wisconsin-Superior campus and Lake Superior

© UW-Superior

Dormitory Space

Dormitory space is available to visiting researchers for a nominal fee through UW-Superior. Availability is limited, and we encourage prospective visiting researchers to contact UW-Superior Residence Life as early as possible. The UW-Superior campus is 1.5 miles from our Barker’s Island facilities.


UW-Superior Residence Life

Lake Superior Estuarium

A Gathering Place for Exploration

The Lake Superior Estuarium creates a better future through community, collaboration and place-based education in the Lake Superior Watershed. The Estuarium exhibit hall houses fun, family-centered exhibits that tell the story of the St. Louis River Estuary, Lake Superior and the communities on their shores.

Visiting the Estuarium is free, though donations are welcome. It is open to the public Thursday-Sunday in the summer (Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend) and Friday-Saturday in the winter season.

Occupancy: 233

Visit the Lake Superior Estuarium
Interior view of Lake Superior Estuarium

Classroom & Meeting Space

Confluence Room

The Lake Superior Estuarium includes a well-equipped classroom and meeting space and offices for the Friends of the Lake Superior Reserve and visiting researchers or students. To reserve the Confluence Room for your non-profit, government or business group, please contact the Reserve. The facility is not currently available for private events.

Occupancy: 60 with tables and chairs
Occupancy: 128 without tables and chairs


Lake Superior Reserve

Confluence Room with tables, chairs and kitchenette