The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium is a must-see for visitors to Dubuque. It is located at 350 East Third St. in the Port of Dubuque, an easy distance from the riverwalk and the historic downtown area.
No matter whether the weather is nice or gloomy, the whole family will have fun at the River Museum. Here are a couple of the top reasons to go:
Enjoyable learning experiences for all ages
Yes, there are aquariums, but so much more! You’ll learn all about the area’s colorful history, from the time of the French explorers through the steamboat pilots, up to today. Exhibits tell about river health, commerce, and ecology and how people have changed all of America’s rivers.
Aquariums are sprinkled throughout two buildings and range from massive Mississippi river fish to coral reef inhabitants. Live animal exhibits include salamanders, snakes, ducks, fish, and more.
When they come out to play, the river otters are always a crowd favorite. Or watch a pair of wood ducks cavorting in an indoor wetland. Find out about the lives of crayfish, or even see a real alligator. You may even get to observe feeding time!
Interactive displays and an outdoor courtyard
The River Museum has plenty of interactive displays to keep everyone interested. Kids will enjoy the touching tank where they can get close to stingrays. Or you can walk through a mining tunnel, or experience the sensation of riding a lograft downriver.
Touch a fox or beaver skin, or see what a turtle looks like under his shell. Explore erosion by changing the course of a model river. You can also watch short movies in the museum or buy a ticket to the 4D theater.
After you’ve seen the extensive exhibits inside, there’s even more outside in the courtyard. Explore a native American wickiup or climb on a dredge-boat. Stare into the beady eyes of rescued raptors – a bald eagle and a red-tailed hawk. Admire the huge relics of the Ice Harbor’s history as a working boatyard.
Several hours of entertainment
Plan to spend several hours or the whole afternoon at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. If you go in the winter, you’ll want to take part in IceFest.
The museum’s two gift shops are packed with fun items to browse. One-day admission to the is $15 for adults, $10 for children 3 to 17. To learn more, visit RiverMuseum.com
Photo of stingray touching tank contributed by article author Pamela Brandt.