National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, Dubuque: Hours, Address, National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium Reviews: 4.5/5

National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium
4.5
Speciality Museums • Aquariums
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9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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About
Part aquarium, part museum, part science center, the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium inspires stewardship by creating educational experiences where history and rivers come alive! Our 14-acre campus on the banks of the Mississippi River features two separate two-story buildings and an expansive outdoor plaza. The Museum & Aquarium is home to over 100 species of animals and thousands of historic artifacts. With so much to see and do, there's always a chance to #ExploreSomethingNew
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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Tripadvisor gives a Travelers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
1,597 reviews
Excellent
1,051
Very good
406
Average
111
Poor
19
Terrible
10

Bork98
Muskego, WI31 contributions
Aug 2020
It was a bit confusing to get there. We had to drive through an industrial area. We were pleasantly surprised to find that our local museum membership gave us half off the admission. The 2 museum buildings looked pretty new and had a lot of interesting things for all our kids (1, 7, 16). We spent the better part of a day there. It was cute to see the otter sleeping right next to the window. We also got a sneak preview of the upcoming exhibit that had all the old belt-driven tools for building ships. It wasn't working yet, but it looked cool. Everyone also enjoyed walking through the William M Black dredging ship, docked in the harbor.

A few things kept it from being 5 stars. The food location in the West building was closed and said to go to the East building for food. We walked through the really big and really run-down outdoor plaza between the 2 buildings only to find that the East food location was also closed. It said there were snacks in the gift shop, but that consisted of soda and candy bars, so we had to walk all the way back to the other end and drive to find food. There were lots of covid signs about high touch areas, but very little hand sanitizer. The water play area was also closed.
Written August 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

S. Sparks
Waseca, MN8 contributions
Apr 2021
We really enjoyed the dredging ship, and the owl and kestrel in the aviary, as well as the stingray experience and watching the otters play. The barge film was also cool and I loved the little exhibit about trying to figure out what Julien Dubuque looked like. The one problem? I hate this trend with museums to get you to pay extra for certain experiences, like the 4D theater and feeding the stingrays. It just kind of puts a sour taste in your mouth. For one thing, the regular admission price is already quite a bit at over $14.
Written April 8, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

MSWANS66
Aurelia, IA69 contributions
Aug 2020
My husband and I spent a few hours at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium and really enjoyed everything there was to see there. It wasn't difficult to maintain social distancing from others, and it was nice that we could take as much time as we wanted to look at the exhibits and animals. I would highly recommend the museum to others, and the young kids that were there with their parents also appeared to be enjoying the museum, too.
Written September 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

nmhoosier
Bloomington, IN203 contributions
Mar 2022
This museum has something for people of all ages, and I can't say enough about it. Our visit with our grandson (7) was so good that we ended up spending two days there and stayed until closing both days (a ticket is good for two days). We spent the morning in the western area, enjoying the otters play nonstop in their habitat, finding all of the turtles, and my wife and I loved the photography upstairs. If you have two days, we recommend visiting one of the interesting nearby restaurants for lunch. Our grandson loved the rooms with water projects, next door to the craft room, and feeding and touching the rays was a winner in the eastern wing. There are several places to explore outside, including a log cabin and a riverboat. The walk to the top of the tower in the East facility is nice (there is also an elevator) and the view is great. Overall, this was the highlight of our week-long spring break trip.
Written April 9, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
We are very glad you enjoyed your trip, and even happier you stayed for two days! We hope to see you again!
Written April 11, 2022
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

veryuniquetraveler
NEBRASKA505 contributions
Sep 2021
There are several different museum exhibits, a little bit of everything having to do with the Mississippi, so you get a good overview of info about the Mississippi. A lot of the museum was taken up with kids activities. I think it would be nice instead, if they showcased more of the history of the river and had some info about the cities along the river and historical events that happened along the river, highlighting places like Hannibal, St. Louis, Natchez, New Orleans, etc. Our favorite part was touring the dredge, found it very interesting. The dredge is in desperate need of a paint job though. We were disappointed that the theater equipment was out of order, so we didn't get to see either of the movies. Overall, I expected much more aquarium exhibits. We didn't see any otters, not sure if they had any at the time. Only had one alligator. Really expected to see a lot more aquatic exhibits. A lot of wasted space for such huge buildings.
Food in the cafe was good. Plan to spend 1/2 a day. There is a 4-D theater, but didn't find the movie choices of interest, again a lot of the museum is geared more toward kids than adults.
Written September 17, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi there, thank you for your review and feedback! We do have several kids' exhibits, but also many exhibits aimed at general audiences, such as our exhibits on Native American History, early exploration of the United States, the boating industry on the river, and our entire River of Innovation exhibit. As far as the William M. Black dredge boat goes, we do have to adhere to certain historical restoration standards, as it is an object in our collection. We have to be very careful and choosy about any changes we make to this wonderful part of our campus! We have two otters on our campus, who are very friendly and love to play! We're glad you enjoyed the food in our cafe. Thanks for visiting! If you would like to discuss anything specific, please give us a call! Thank you!
Written September 21, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Mark E
Burlington, WI476 contributions
Aug 2021
We were recently at the Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in Dubuque on a Saturday when in the area on our mini road trip to end the summer. I had been in Dubuque in passing on other trips but never had the chance to really stop in Dubuque to spend time there. We decided to spend 2 nights in Dubuque on this trip, so it was great to finally be able to check some things out here, including the Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium! We spent a good 6 hours here, so this is definitely a full-day activity and adequate time should be allowed! We arrived by shortly before 10:00, and it was not super busy yet, so this was a good time to arrive for good parking, etc. This was not as extensive of an aquarium as we were expecting, but they did still have some enjoyable exhibits, including turtles, alligator, various fish, and the chance to touch/watch sting rays! There is a lot for kids to do and stay occupied with throughout the facility. There is really a lot to see and do here, including 2 separate main buildings and some outdoor exhibits. We also learned a lot about the Mississippi River and other rivers in the USA. We did decide to check out the 4D movie about penguins, and it was a really neat movie! The 3D glasses that you wear just make everything pop out like it is right in front of you! It was fun being sprayed with water a few times and feeling a cool wind to make it feel even more real! We did find the theatre to be filthy, however. There was lots of popcorn and candy on the floor, and it really needs a good vacuuming. There were some nice gift shops here, and lunch in the cafeteria was very good for a museum eatery! I enjoyed my three-cheese grilled cheese. We were here until after 4:00 in the afternoon. By later on, it started to get just slightly boring, and we were getting ready to be "done". Also, not sure if the sun angle makes an impact or what, but a fishy smell really starts to become apparent by later in the afternoon in the aquarium building that we did not notice earlier in the day. All in all, though, we had a great day at the Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, and we would highly recommend!
Written August 31, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you so much for all of your valuable feedback, Mark. We will definitely share this with our teams. We hope you can come back to visit us again soon!
Written September 7, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Eldereaglewatcher
Chippewa Falls, WI1,089 contributions
Sep 2021
This is a wonderful museum/aquarium that takes up quite a bit of space on the Dubuque riverfront. We spent about 4 hours there, including touring the dredge, and we could have spent longer. The staff or volunteers are very knowledgeable and helpful. You can see river traffic through the open concrete gates in the levee. The lunch counter has reasonably priced food, and the view while eating was great. We're so glad we decided to spend our day at the Museum and Aquarium.
Written October 3, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you very much! We're very glad you came, and hope to see you again.
Written October 4, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

JackofPBFL
Palm Bay, FL1,164 contributions
Jul 2021
This is a museum and multiple aquariums combined. It consists of two buildings, one for national rivers and one for the Mississippi river. There are very interesting artifacts and descriptions of river history. It is a bit pricey, but discount coupons are available at the pavilion at the steamboat dock.
Written July 22, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thanks for your review! If there are any more specifics you'd like to share, please give us a call.
Written July 26, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Amanda W
Linn, MO1,607 contributions
Aug 2021
Visited this museum late in the day and didn’t get a ton of time to wander around and look at everything. Very large museum with 2 buildings and quite a few things outside to explore as well. Not a ton of things to see as far as an aquarium but there were stingrays available to pet. The museum was a bit dark which made things seem older or not as new to look at. Great little area for young kids to play with water tables and such.
Written August 17, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for your review!
Written August 23, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

slhokie
Sugar Land, TX518 contributions
Jul 2021
I have been to aquariums that have more fish but I have never seen one that had a greater variety of marine equipment. The dredging boat was fun to walk through and admire how sturdy its construction was. The machine shop display is a big hit for those who are interested in this craft.

The museum part of the facility gave an excellent historical perspective of the Mississippi river region. They had a good film on canals and some interesting audio in a cave exhibit.

Adjacent to the museum is an interesting river walk which has very good signage and some sights.

This is a must visit if you are in this city.
Written August 5, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you so much for your kind and thorough feedback! We are so glad you enjoyed your visit.
Written August 17, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Frequently Asked Questions about National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium is open:
  • Sun - Sat 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM


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