Dubuque, Iowa Is Home To The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

Feature Image National River Museum

Dubuque, Iowa, is home to the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium. Here is where families of all ages will experience the history and beauty that the Mississippi River has to offer. On a recent visit, I was pleasantly surprised by the large number of hands on experiences and the abundance of displays to experience life on the Mighty Mississippi.

riverboat replica in museum

This museum does offer 2 4-D films throughout and are available as add on purchases to your museum tickets. In all honesty, you can experience a lot without taking in either of these films. On my recent visit, I did not. I have no doubt that they are top notch and if your schedule allows, invest in some time and a few bucks to take in the experience. There were several shorter video clips playing throughout the museum and I found them all quite informative. I was especially intrigued on how men work and live on the barges that currently float down the Mississippi River.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the size of this museum. It’s spread out nicely, in two separate buildings, featuring some fantastic outdoor displays. I will admit it, I have driven by this museum a time or two and have never taken the time to stop. I’m glad I had some time to take it all in, on this visit to Dubuque. Tip: Dress for the weather and wear closed toe shoes. There is some climbing on the outdoor displays, and you don’t want to stumble wearing open toe shoes.

The newest display within the museum is the three new aquariums that celebrate the life of the Mississippi River’s Delta. The 2000+ gallon stingray pool is quickly becoming a popular attraction.

stingray pool

With several large aquariums, you will more than likely find a fish or two that you fall in love with. I stood in this spot for more than 15 minutes watching this particular tank. The fish were beautiful and the “walking shells” were very interesting to watch.

fish in aquarium

In my opinion, a museum would not be complete without a dedicated kids play area. The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium offered one of the best hands on areas for kids that I have stumbled on, in quite some time.

Rivers Are Energy

There were even kids rain coats hanging nearby. Kids can put them on and parents don’t need to worry about their clothes getting soaked.

Plan a minimum of three hours to visit. This museum is hands on, yet eye opening to the challenges that the Mississippi River offers, every single day. On a warm, summer day, I would advise bringing a picnic lunch and dining on the riverfront, which is located nearby.

Dubuque, Iowa is a river town that you will fall in love with. Not only will this museum change how you view the Mississippi River, it will also change how you think about living along a river. The views from the hill tops are literally over the top and the farm to table restaurants will greet you with a plate full of color. If you need lodging while visiting Dubuque? I’d recommend Hotel Julien, as it’s a luxurious experience in itself.

*Thank you to Travel Dubuque and the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium for hosting me.

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15 Comments to Dubuque, Iowa Is Home To The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

  1. SaraB says:

    You and several others did not know that the Mississippi River borders Iowa~ I’m happy to introduce you to Dubuque and the Mississippi River.

  2. I am glad to know how kid-friendly this is. I believe we should let the kids discover more of the world why they are young.

  3. Carola says:

    Sounds like alovely museum for the whole family. I didn’t even realize that the Mississippi ran through Iowa…

    Happy continued travels!

  4. I’ve never been to Iowa but will definitely check this place out if I do! The Aquarium brings up so many happy memories from childhood doesn’t it? Plus, plenty to keep little ones occupied (and adults alike) occupied with 😉

  5. SaraB says:

    A young octopus really surprised me. I had no idea they could be so small, colorful and interesting to watch.

  6. Brianna says:

    The Mississippi River has a long history with lots of stories to tell. I’ve never stopped to think about the aquatic life of the river though, are there any animals that surprised you?

  7. I actually didn’t realize that the Mississippi River runs through Iowa. I always like aquariums and am fascinated by fish and underwater environments. It looks like a fun aquarium to visit.

  8. Indrani says:

    Such an ideal destination for family with kids. Underwater world always excites me. And getting to see such colorful creatures eye to eye thrills me beyond words.

  9. Claudia says:

    This seems like such a fun activity for kids and parents as well! 2000lbs + is huge! Now that is something to see!

  10. SaraB says:

    Iowa enjoys a large portion of the Mississippi River. I’m glad I could share a slice of Iowa with you!

  11. Well, I had no idea that Iowa even enjoyed a portion of the Mississippi River. I love a good aquarium, and how nice that this one focuses on riparian life in this critical river system. Looks great for kids!

  12. That looks like great fun. And, I’m with you on kids play areas – it’s so important that kids learn to love the experience when they are young

  13. danik says:

    I love going to Aquariums as i hate deep sea diving. so its a great way for me to get up close with the fishes

  14. SaraB says:

    Aquariums are really amazing these days. I enjoy the colors of the fish and insight into what things looks like beneath all of the waves.

  15. I love the aquarium thing Sara. So much fun. Not as big a fan of zoos these days but I do enjoy seeing fish do their thing. All time fave is the NY Aquarium in Coney Island. Started going there when I was 5 although it has been a few years.

    Thanks for sharing.


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