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Sturgeon Bay’s Newest Sight-to-See

Sturgeon Bay’s Newest Sight-to-See: The Door County Maritime Museum’s Jim Kress Maritime Lighthouse 

  • The Door County Maritime Museum opens daily at 10 A.M. with Lighthouse Tower tours beginning at 10:20 A.M. and concluding at 4:20 P.M.
  • Lighthouse Tower visits run every 20 minutes and can accommodate up to 10 guests. The visit includes an introductory video and visit to the observation deck, though tickets allow access to all the current Maritime Museum exhibits 
  • Tickets are $12 for adults, $5 for children (ages 5-17) and retired military personnel, and free for those under 5-years-old or active duty military
  • The observation deck features panoramic views of the working waterfront and is the perfect family adventure for your day in Sturgeon Bay!

Having grown up in Sturgeon Bay, I had always figured I knew just about everything there was to know about our beautiful, growing city. Today, however, it seems as though there is some new restaurant/attraction/addition going up just about every time I drive into town. This past week, I visited one of Sturgeon Bay’s newest attractions, the Door County Maritime Museum’s Jim Kress Maritime Lighthouse Tower.

The Lighthouse Tower opened to the public in May 2021 and, in my opinion, should be at the top of everyone’s “must-do” list for Summer and Fall 2021. The Lighthouse Tower exhibit begins with an introductory video that covers everything from the original settlement of the Door Peninsula to shipwrecks, lighthouses, and construction of the canal. Did you know that during the height of World War II Door County shipbuilders were producing a new ship every 4 days? For a local who “knows everything about Sturgeon Bay,” I certainly did not know that.

After the video, guests are invited to take a short elevator ride up to the 10th floor to explore Sturgeon Bay’s working waterfront through interactive panels and a panoramic view of the city. The Lighthouse Tower observation deck provides impeccable views of the Bay of Green Bay and Sturgeon Bay’s working waterfront. On a clear day, views span 17 miles. My tip? Try to hit one of Sturgeon Bay’s bridges going up while visiting the observation deck!

The Oregon Street bridge goes up on the quarter-hour while the Michigan Street bridge goes up on the hour and half hour (this is also my biggest “local tip” when it comes to driving around the East and West Waterfront!). The observation deck also provides a birds eye view of the next new thing in Sturgeon Bay, the Promenade - a public walkway and gathering space. As I mentioned before, there is literally something new being developed every time I go downtown and I could not be more excited for our city!

The tour finishes on the 2nd floor which currently previews what the other nine floors of the Lighthouse Tower will feature. These exhibits will provide guests even more opportunities to learn about the historic and unique features of Sturgeon Bay and the Door Peninsula, more generally.

After checking out some of the other Maritime Museums exhibits, of course, I had to stop in the gift shop to find the perfect souvenir from my visit! I wrapped up the trip with a bridge walk to see the museum from the waterside and lunch downtown - a perfect day in Sturgeon Bay, though every day is! For more information on the Jim Kress Maritime Lighthouse Tower visit www.dcmm.org. To plan your perfect day in Sturgeon Bay visit www.sturgeonbay.net or visit Destination Sturgeon Bay on Facebook for a chance to win a Sturgeon Bay getaway - Door County Maritime Museum passes included!