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

R.D. Browne 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


Erika Washburn

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


Erika Washburn

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

Local lodging

There are many local lodging options that allow visiting faculty, students, researchers, and professionals to stay within a short distance of the Reserve’s Barker’s Island facilities – and experience the beauty of the Twin Ports of Superior and Duluth.

Lodging resource for visitors

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. Reserve the Confluence Room for your non-profit, government or business group. The facility is not currently available for private events.


Classroom style (rows of tables): 25 people
Theater style (chairs only): 60 people
Maximum room occupancy: 128 people

Tables, chairs & Technology Available
  • 12 moveable tables
  • 25 rolling chairs
  • 25 stacking chairs
  • 1 presenter’s desk and podium
  • 1 rolling whiteboard
  • 1 short-throw projector and screen
  • 1 rolling TV screen with camera (good for virtual meeting participation)
  • Sound system with 24 individual microphones for larger virtual meetings

Download Confluence Room setup styles

Room Reservation Process

Simply check the calendar to see if the Confluence Room is available during the date and time you are interested in.

Room Availability Calendar

Confluence Room with tables, chairs and kitchenette