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The Wonder of Wolves: Intergenerational Wolf Discovery

Program Number: 4967RJ
Start and End Dates:
8/10/2014 - 8/15/2014; 6/26/2016 - 7/1/2016; 7/10/2016 - 7/15/2016;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Ely, Minnesota
Price starting at: $799.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Intergenerational; Science & Nature
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Fat; Low Salt; Gluten Free    

Program intended for grandchildren from 9 - 12 years of age.

Explore the life of the wolf with your grandchild at the state-of-the-art International Wolf Center in Ely. Observe the eating, sleeping, and playing habits of the center’s resident pack as you explore the intricacies of lupine behavior. Howl with excitement as you learn their adaptations to survival, the dynamic interaction with prey and the complexities of wolf-human relations with expert lecturers.


• Follow wolf tracks, search for wolf scat to prove their elusive presence, and learn the habits of their favorite prey.
• Go on a field trip to track wolves with radio telemetry equipment just like wolf biologists.
• Observe the fauna of Minnesota wildlife in the Superior National Forest and share a picnic with your grandchild by a waterfall.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles per day on forest trails that can be uneven and rocky.

Program is for grandchildren ages 9-12.

Date Specific Information

8-10-2014, 6-26-2016, 7-10-2016

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Coordinated by Vermilion Community College.


The Superior National Forest, stretching 150 miles along the U.S.-Canada border, encompasses a variety of wildlife and terrain, including the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Ely is the area’s quaint but bustling gateway.

Lakeshore cabins with living room, kitchenette, bath, two to four people (adults and children) per cabin.
Meals and Lodgings
   Outdoor Learning Center
  Ely, MN 5 nights
 Outdoor Learning Center
Type: Cabin
  Description: This facility was formerly a family-run resort. Located on US Forest Service land, it now accommodates participants enrolled in educational programs.
  Contact info: 13884 Rocky Ridge Road
Ely, MN 55731 USA
phone: 218-365-4613
  Room amenities: The small cabins and apartment are furnished simply. Each has a living room, a kitchenette (stove/oven, sink, refrigerator, but no dishes), a bathroom (sink, toilet, shower) and one to three single or double occupancy bedrooms. The apartment has a bathtub/shower combination.
  Facility amenities: Quaint cabins are within 100 feet of the lake. Site features short walking trail, canoes, and a beach.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: In six cabins the bathroom is shared by up to two participants while in the other two cabins and the apartment, it may be shared by up to three participants (or four in Intergenerational programs). One bathroom has a bathtub while the others have showers.
  Additional nights prior: Approximately $45 per person. Please call 218-235-2164 to make arrangements and find out current price.
  Check in time: 3:30 PM
  Additional nights after: Approximately $45 per person. Please call 218-235-2164 to make arrangements and find out current price.
  Check out time: 9:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Plan to arrive at the Outdoor Learning Center between 3:30 PM and 5:00 PM. You will be staying at Outdoor Learning Center that night.
  End of Program:
The program ends after lunch, with check-out by 1:00 PM. You will be staying at Outdoor Learning Center the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Participants must also sign an informed consent form to participate. An informed consent form must be signed by the parents or guardians of each grandchild attending. There is a Supplemental Questions Form to indicate additional food and lodging requests, experience level, and to sign up for the Duluth-Ely Road Scholar shuttle.
  Parking availability:
Parking is free at the site.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Ely, MN
  Nearest city or town:  Ely, MN.
  Nearest highway: Highway 169.
  Nearest airport:  Duluth International Airport (DLH), Duluth, MN.
  From End of Program
  Location: Ely, MN
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details



From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Vermilion Road Scholar Shuttle
phone: 218-235-2164


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


2 1/4 hours 


The pick-up shuttle runs only once, leaving the Duluth International Airport at 1:30 PM on Sunday, and arriving to the program site at approximately 4:00 PM.




To Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Vermilion Road Scholar Shuttle
phone: 218-235-2164


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


2 1/4 hours 


The return shuttle runs only once, leaving the program site at 12:30 PM on Friday, and arriving to the Duluth International Airport by 3:00 PM.

Driving Directions
  An Overview There are several ways to reach Ely. Choose a route that meets your time constraints and desire for sightseeing. The driving times indicated are all approximate, depending upon traffic conditions, your driving speed, and the number of times you stop.
  Duluth (option 1) Quickest Route from Duluth (2 hours) Take Highway 53 North to Virginia. Just after passing Virginia exits, take Highway 169 to Ely.
  Duluth (option 2) Scenic Route from Duluth (2 1/2 hours) Head northeast on the Highway 61 "Expressway" along the shore of Lake Superior. Once you reach the northeast end of Two Harbors, take County Road 2 north to its intersection with Highway 1. Follow Highway 1 northwest into Ely (turn left onto Highway 1).
  Duluth (option 3) Most Scenic Route from Duluth (3 1/2 hours) Start out of Duluth on Highway 61 but take the immediate right-hand turn onto the "Scenic Northshore Drive". This road closely follows along the shore of the lake and ends at Two Harbors where it intersects Highway 61. Follow Highway 61 north until you reach its intersection (marked "Illgen City") with Highway 1. Follow Highway 1 northwest until you reach Ely.
  Minneapolis/St. Paul Quickest Route from Minneapolis/St. Paul (5 hours) Take I-35 north to the Cloquet exit where you will join up with Highway 33 North. Highway 33 will merge into Highway 53 North. Just after passing Virginia exits, take Highway 169 to Ely. You avoid Duluth with this route.
  Minneapolis/St. Paul (variation) The trip from Minneapolis/St. Paul can include any of the scenic routes from Duluth described above if I-35 is taken all the way to Duluth. This adds to the total trip time, which will then be over 5 hours. (Duluth is approximately 2 1/2 hours from Minneapolis/St. Paul.)
  Once in Ely Once in Ely, follow these instructions to get to the Outdoor Learning Center. Starting from the Ely Chamber of Commerce (a log building on the east end of town) travel northeast 3.5 miles on Hwy 169. You will pass the small town of Winton on your left. (From the green highway sign marking Winton, the Outdoor Learning Center driveway is 1.5 miles.) Due to sign set-back rules, the Outdoor Learning Center is not well marked, so watch your odometer. Across from the lefthand driveway is a small, green official roadsign. As you turn into the driveway, you will see a white sign announcing "Vermilion Outdoor Learning Center." If you reach a road sign that indicates "End 169" you have gone too far by about three-tenths of a mile.
  Supplemental Road Information A) I-35 is a standard Interstate. B) Highways 33 and 53 are divided 4-lane highways. C) Highway 169 is a 2-lane highway. D) Highway 61 is a divided 4-lane highway from Duluth to Two Harbors on the "Expressway"; beyond Two Harbors it is a 2-lane road. E) County Road 2 is a well-maintained 2-lane road. F) Highway 1 is a 2-lane road with many twists and turns, but it is very scenic; people sometimes occasionally see moose and other wildlife on this road.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival / Orientation
(Sunday, August 10)
 Afternoon: Plan to arrive at the Outdoor Learning Center between 3:30 PM and 5:00 PM. (A shuttle from Duluth is available.) Receive a finalized schedule, welcome packet and nametag during registration. Settle into your lakeside living quarters and explore our site on picturesque Fall Lake.
 Dinner: Informally meet the other participants over dinner, catered on-site and eaten on the lakeside deck, weather permitting.
 Evening: Your official welcome and program orientation is when you will meet your instructors and the other grandparents and grandchildren through an introductory activity.
Accommodations: Outdoor Learning Center
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: International Wolf Center Field Trip / North Woods Ecology Program & Activities / Wolf Communication with Howling Field Trip
(Monday, August 11)

Note: Full exploration of the International Wolf Center requires walking relatively short distances; participants of the howling field trip should plan to walk up to a quarter-mile, but likely much less.

 Breakfast: Breakfasts (and all but one of the remaining dinners) are prepared by Vermilion Community College. By bus (or van), travel to the campus to enjoy a hearty breakfast.
 Morning: Visit the International Wolf Center and meet one of the Center's resident packs of wolves to learn more about how wolves communicate, play, hunt and eat. Explore the spectacular Wolves and Humans Exhibit, which won awards for the Science Museum of Minnesota. Hands-on displays show the fascinating, age-old dance between wolves and humans. Learn how a wolf howls or take a turn at a wolf survival video game.
 Lunch: After your morning's introduction to wolves, meet up with the rest of the group to eat a sack lunch on site at the International Wolf Center.
 Afternoon: Grandparents and grandchildren learn to identify prominent trees, flowers, and geologic formations of northern Minnesota. Gain a new perspective on the interconnections of this unique ecosystem through games, demonstrations, and discussion. This session includes moderate walking.
 Dinner: Over dinner at the college campus, discuss things learned in the program so far.
 Evening: Howling is just one way that wolves communicate. After an introduction to several wolf communication patterns, head into the woods with a naturalist to howl to a local pack. This naturalist-led program includes an indoor introduction followed by an outdoor field trip.
Accommodations: Outdoor Learning Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Beavers & Wolves Field Trip / Wildlife Navigation with Orienteering / Predator & Prey Program
(Tuesday, August 12)

Note: All three sessions today contain a mix of indoor lecture, and outdoor walking over somewhat rugged terrain.

 Breakfast: Enjoy a hearty breakfast.
 Morning: Visit the home of one wolf prey animal, the beaver. Learn how this animal, uniquely adapted to its watery environment, can successfully evade wolves and other predators much of the time. This beaver ecology and habitat field trip includes a moderate walk over some rugged terrain.
 Lunch: Enjoy a noon sack lunch picnic.
 Afternoon: Learn about wildlife navigation and the art and skill of orienteering as you navigate your way through the woods with the use of a compass on this afternoon program. Step-by-step instructions prepare you to keep on track as you follow the orienteering course. About an hour of free time is scheduled to follow.
 Dinner: Compare notes from the day over dinner with your fellow classmates.
 Evening: What do wolves around the world eat? What adaptations do wolves have to help them in capturing and eating what they do? Wolves lead a feast-and-famine existence. Learn how they can hunt enough prey to feed the pack. Session includes predator/prey games such as "Muskox Maneuvers" for grandchildren and interested grandparents.
Accommodations: Outdoor Learning Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Wolf Management or Play Preparation / Wolf Research / Wolf Folklore & Craft Time
(Wednesday, August 13)

Note: Today's activities include limited to moderate walking.

 Breakfast: Enjoy a hearty breakfast.
 Morning: Grandparents will explore wolf management issues, while grandchildren will pursue a number of wolf related activities and preparation for a final play performance. Wolf management has been a hot debate in Minnesota. Discuss a landmark decision-making process and learn how wolves have been managed, past and present. Uncover the complex issues of future wolf management during a group decision-making activity.
 Lunch: Enjoy a noon sack lunch picnic.
 Afternoon: The use of radio tracking has been a monumental improvement in the quality and quantity of wolf research. A brief discussion of research history and methods is followed by demonstration with radio collars, antennae and receivers. Try your hand at using the same equipment used by wildlife researchers. Mapping is an important part of tracking wolves. Attempt to pinpoint the location of radio-collared wild wolves after learning the fundamentals of mapping.
 Dinner: Enjoy dinner.
 Evening: Historically, how have people viewed the wolf? Learn of the extreme views held by different cultures. Some myths are based on truth and some on fiction. Create your own wolf myth and present it to the group. Session is followed by craft time devoted to creating wolf related projects, such as a plaster casting of a wolf track.
Accommodations: Outdoor Learning Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Kawishiwi Falls Interpretive Hike / Free Time / Evening at the International Wolf Center
(Thursday, August 14)

Note: Today is the most active of all the days as it includes about a mile hike over somewhat rocky and hilly terrain.

 Breakfast: Enjoy a hearty breakfast.
 Morning: Visualize Minnesota geology and identify common trees and wildflowers. Unfold mysteries in the signs animals leave behind. This interpretive hike to a view of the Kawishiwi Falls is about a mile in length over semi-rugged terrain.
 Lunch: Enjoy a trail-side sack lunch in a beautiful spot next to a waterfall.
 Afternoon: After an early afternoon return, enjoy the remainder of your afternoon pursuing activities on your own.
 Dinner: Over dinner, enjoy the camaraderie of the other grandparents and grandchildren.
 Evening: Return to the International Wolf Center for another observation of the resident pack. During the summer, wolves tend to be more active in the evening when the temperatures are cooler. Also have the opportunity to view the film, "Ambassador Wolf Pack".
Accommodations: Outdoor Learning Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Children's Wolf Performance / Wolf Jeopardy / Wrap up / Departure
(Friday, August 15)
 Breakfast: Enjoy a hearty breakfast.
 Morning: While grandchildren put finishing touches on their "Wolf Performance" grandparents have about an hour of free time. Final program activities include the Children's Wolf Performance and a lively game of Wolf Jeopardy. This game is sure to be the real test of the wolf knowledge you gained over the course of the week. The wrap-up includes the opportunity for a group photo.
 Lunch: The final meal included in this program is an 11:30 AM sack lunch at the Outdoor Learning Center.
 Afternoon: Be checked out of your cabin by 1:00 PM.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
  Ely, MN International Wolf Center
The International Wolf Center advances the survival of wolf populations by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wild lands and the human role in their future. In addition to the award-winning exhibit, there are interpretive programs, two packs of live wolves, and an interactive children's exhibit. For additional information, visit
  North American Bear Center
The focus of the North American Bear center is to improve the appreciation and understanding of North American bears, their role in the ecosystem, and their relationship to humans through education, research and rehabilitation. For additional information, visit
  Dorothy Molter Museum
The Dorothy Molter Museum is a memorial to the legendary last resident of the BWCAW. Known as "the Root Beer Lady", Dorothy died in 1986 after living most of her 79 years on Knife Lake. Canoeists often stopped at Molter's home to enjoy her famous homemade root beer. For additional information, visit
  Ely Winton History Museum
Located on Ely's Vermilion Community College campus, this center shows the local history of the area's logging and mining through artifacts, photographs and displays. For more information, call 218-365-3226.
  More about Ely
As a gateway to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Ely is an ideal location for canoeing, hiking, mountain biking, and fishing. The town of Ely offers many activities to visitors and has several annual festivals. For additional information, visit
  Northeastern Minnesota Bois Forte Heritage Center and Cultural Museum
Dedicated to telling the Bois Forte Ojibwe story, this award-winning museum depicts the history of these people through interpretive displays and artifacts. Learn about Ojibwe spirituality, ricing, bead work, and basketry. This museum is about 30 miles from Ely. For additional information, visit
  More about Northeastern Minnesota
The Iron Range is a region that is as scenic as it is historically significant. Visitors can enjoy colorful stories about the immigrants who mined and shaped the land. Explore a museum or discovery center, take a tour or participate in a festival. This region has a rich history, and numerous opportunities exist to learn more about it. For additional information, visit
  Sisu Heritage Homestead Tours
A 15-mile, three-hour guided circle tour in rural Embarrass will give you a glimpse of the how Finnish pioneers lived in northeastern Minnesota in the early 20th century. You'll view handcrafted log farm structures that are examples of the distinctive construction techniques practiced for centuries in Finland and brought to this country by Finnish immigrants. Located about 30 miles from Ely, call for more information (218-984-2084).
  Soudan Underground Mine
This Minnesota State Park features Minnesota's first and deepest underground iron mine. Guided tours take you 2,400 feet down and more than 100 years into the past to experience the working conditions of early iron ore miners. This park is about 30 miles from Ely. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Canoe Country Flora: Plants and Trees of the North Woods and Boundary Waters

Author: Mark Stensaas

Description: Introduces you to 96 of the most common trees, shrubs, wildflowers, fungi, ferns, lichens, and other plants you're likely to encounter during your travels north.

Canoe Country Wildlife: A Field Guide to the Boundary Waters and Quetico

Author: Mark Stensaas

The Return of the Wolf

Author: Steve Grooms

Description: This is a very good and easy to read overview of wolf ecology and the wolf-human relationship.

The Wolf Almanac

Author: Robert H. Busch

Description: This is a well written book about the wolf.

The Wolves of Minnesota: Howl in the Heartland

Author: David L. Mech

Description: Take a look at the history of wolves with a focus on the Minnesota wolf population.

Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation

Author: David L. Mech

Description: There are few up-to-date books about wolves that combine authoritative text and great color photography. Covering everything from from the wolf's physical characteristics, habits and habitats, communication, breeding, birth and young, enemies, its relationships with humans, and its future, this comprehensive volume offers to a popular audience scientific insights and information in a readable manner. This book is available at the International Wolf Center.

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