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“Provides an interesting perspective on the river.”

National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium
Ranked #4 of 70 things to do in Dubuque
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium features the culture, creatures and history of our the Mississippi and all our nation's rivers through dynamic exhibits and twelve large aquariums housed in two main centers. The impressive 14-acre riverfront campus includes a connecting plaza, a 3D/4D theater, boatyard, on-site dining options, and more! DIVE IN for a visit to the Museum & Aquarium, where fun & learning flow together!
Reviewed July 15, 2011

We went to the museum with our newborn as we were looking for something to do in Dubuque. We thought the musuem was interesting but actually our favorite part were the aquarium exhibits. The only complaint was the $15 admission price was a bit steep for the museum.

1  Thank hugapug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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in 38 reviews
"dredge boat"
in 34 reviews
"hands on activities"
in 34 reviews
"all ages"
in 107 reviews
"mississippi river"
in 241 reviews
"octopus"
in 30 reviews
"salt water"
in 23 reviews
"special exhibit"
in 18 reviews
"few hours"
in 40 reviews
"great place for kids"
in 18 reviews
"several hours"
in 20 reviews
"on display"
in 18 reviews
"kids and adults"
in 18 reviews
"great place to visit"
in 18 reviews
"catfish"
in 40 reviews
"dubuque area"
in 14 reviews
"turtles"
in 116 reviews
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1,309 - 1,313 of 1,354 reviews

Reviewed June 25, 2011

Our family, including our 3 year old grandson, loved the attractions and some of the hand-on exhibits. One of his favorites was the live otters! When he is a little older we would like to go back to watch some of the theater movies which detail life along the Mississippi from the mountains down to the gulf.

2  Thank sheilaharris
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 18, 2011

This museum is completely overpriced in comparison to what they have to offer. This was the 3rd and last time I will be wasting my money! My children whom ages range from grade school through high school were completely bored..as was myself and my husband. Seems like a lot of money was wasted on such a disappointing place. For the prices that are charged I would pack up and head to the Chicago museums..which really are interesting.

4  Thank meca11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 2, 2011

The facility (which is split up into two or three different buildings with separate parking lots), felt a little disjointed. The second floor was closed for exhibit changing which is understandable, but the whole place was far more museum than it was aquarium. The fresh water aquariums offered fairly common fish you can find in almost any stream or river, which may have been the point: they are fish that live in the MIssissippi.
There was one large saltwater tank containing a large school of fish, three stingrays, and a small tiger shark. There were three separate, smaller, circular tanks which held other marine life: sea horses, octopus, crab, coral, anemones, etc.
The problem I had aside from being more museum than aquarium was that they didn't seem to put as much effort into the aquarium part as they did into the river museum part. I feel that if they were to expand on the saltwater exhibits they could be a really great place for a visit.
I also felt the place was geared more towards younger folks, and less towards adults. There were some educational exhibits which younger folks might find fun and interesting, but there isn't much "new" for adults there. I would recommend this attraction to a friend with children.

1  Thank Viktorja_42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 4, 2011

This was a good diversion for an impromptu trip to Dubuque for spring break for my 7 yr old and I. We arrived right about 12:30. $15 for me, $10 for the child. I paid $6/per person for a 4D animated “movie” about a turtle and the environment. It was just 15 minutes long and just as it started to get interesting- it was over. Not sure I would really recommend that one again. They have a 20 minute one about sharks so I think we’ll do that one next time, as I do want to return with my husband and our son.

The exhibits were well thought out and informative. The aquarium tanks were very good. Clean and full of interesting things to look at. Sting rays, a shark, a huge scary eel, catfish as big as my daughter, sturgeon, sea-horses, great anemones…. The children’s lab on the 2nd floor was fun for my daughter. There were sea otters that were ADORABLE to watch swim and play. Turtles, different kinds of ducks….all very fun to observe. The gift shops were adequately stocked and reasonably priced, good markdowns on sweatshirts, some cute kid selections that were stylish and good quality.

The food court area was clean, fast, and tasty. My daughter had a burger and fries. There was a good fixin’s bar for her to grab tomatoes and pickles. I had a HUGE chicken taco salad for $6.50. It was delish. The kids menu burger was around $3 I think. We shared a small coke, they had free refills.

The “aquarium” is on one end of the Port and the “museum” is on the other, so you do have to leave the building and take a short walk to get from one to another. I was a little irritated because when I bought the admission, I didn’t realize this, and I wasn’t told. Therefore, we spent about the last ½ hour looking for a special staircase or doorway to get to the museum before I gave in and asked and was pointed out the door. DOH!

Both facilities had large, free coatrooms, which was very nice, I hate carrying our sweatshirts/coats around with us. And the bathrooms were clean and oddly, very nicely decorated!

We left around 4 and headed to Galena for a couple hours of shopping on Main Street. This was a good day trip, we are going to repeat it in the late spring/summer with the rest of our family.

2  Thank SpotlightOnTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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