The Making of Shipwreck Adventures Home

Creating a New Museum Experience

Inspiring Play: The Story of the J.S. Seaverns Shipwreck

An Overview of Shipwreck Adventures

Scuba diving at Minnesota Children’s Museum? Yes! In this all-new permanent exhibit, visitors don scuba diving vests and gloves, strap on a backpack with an oxygen tank and slowly and carefully make their way through a sunken ship hull. They step out of the water to practice their scuba diving skills and explore the oversized and out-of-scale natural landscape of Lake Superior’s North Shore. Adventure seekers take on physical challenges in an action-packed and imaginative space, creating their own stories along the way.

Here’s a brief overview of what visitors can expect to see in the exhibit.

Pilot House

As visitors take their first steps into the exhibit, they encounter a 10-foot pilot house, separated from the hull and lying almost fully intact at the bottom of the lake. The mangled and tattered pilot house, complete with a life-sized ship wheel, sets the adventurous tone for the exhibit

Ship Hull

The large, decaying ship hull is at the heart of this exhibit. The 20-foot-long hull is packed with interactive surprises that will keep visitors on their toes.

As they enter the hull, visitors explore a partially recreated Galley cabinet filled with 3D objects, photographs and video footage to discover how people traveled and lived on the ship. Keep an eye out for the dishes on the shelf which are a nod to the real-life J.S. Seaverns shipwreck.

Further into the hull visitors discover a room where everything is askew and a bit mixed-up. Step inside to activate strange sounds and lights, explore larger-than-life mechanical equipment, encounter walls that seem to grow and stretch, discover animals that have made the sunken ship their home and more.

No dive site is complete without the right equipment, and this shipwreck site includes conveyors and ramps for moving equipment on and off the ship. Teammates at the dive site and teammates on the inflatable boat work together to maneuver important supplies and equipment.

Diver Training

Scuba diving takes knowledge and agility. Visitors don kid-sized scuba diving gear like vests, gloves and oxygen tanks, then use their minds and bodies to navigate over, under and around laser beams in the dimly lit laser maze. While waiting in line for the maze, visitors in the practice area work on mental agility training by memorizing scuba diving hand signals, completing knot-tying challenges and learning interesting facts about Lake Superior.

Green Screen

Bring the underwater narrative to life with action play in the green screen area. With several background photos and videos to choose from, visitors appear to scuba dive, swim with the fishes and encounter fantastical underwater creatures on screen.


As divers exit the water, they can explore the shoreline and walk through a canopy of oversized plants inspired by the unique flora found along the northern shores of Lake Superior. There’s also a distinct play area for infants and toddlers to build physical skills and cognitive abilities through activities like shape recognition and color sorting.

Cliffs and Coves

Towering 14-foot cliffs with large openings beckon visitors to come and explore. Inside, the cove comes to life as visitors find surprise reveals: crank a wheel to move from midnight to morning with lights and animal sounds and touch surprising objects on the wall to light up animals that make their home in the coves.

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