We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“River History 101”

National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium
Ranked #1 of 67 things to do in Dubuque
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
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!
Racine, Wisconsin
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“River History 101”
Reviewed July 13, 2013

spent a fantastic day with the family learning more about the Mississippi river, the steamboat, explorers and TURTLES! Great exhibit... had to drag the daughter away.

Visited July 2013
Thank KB9NPT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,228 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Level 6 Contributor
143 reviews
54 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
“Anticipating More - Happy with what we got”
Reviewed July 10, 2013

This aquarium is a fantastic idea, but the execution was a bit lacking. It was a lot smaller than I expected for the "National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium." The Aquarium parts (it is actually two buildings connected by a small museum and open gardens) was only about six or seven large tanks with a few small enclosures for snakes, amphibians, etc.

While the aquarium focuses on the different parts fo the river to create their habitats it failed to take advantage of the natural progression of the river by starting with habitats focused on small streams and ending with the bayou. Instead the habitats and aquariums seemed to be squeezed in wherever they would fit in the building's footprint.

Lots and lots of short movies to see. If you like them they are informative and well produced, but even for us they became too numerous.

IMAX was fun, especially 4D concept with shaking seats and sprays of water. The "feature" only lasted about 20 minutes though and I felt the price was steep for such a short show.

The gift shops, yes shops, were nice but having two for such a small space was overkill.

Finally, the museum connecting the aquariums was well done though smaller than I would have preferred. It did what it did well, but wasn't all that unique.

Overall, a fun place to go, but I won't be anxiously waiting to go back again, even though we found Dubuque to be worth another visit.

Visited June 2013
Thank BadgerTripper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madison, Wisconsin
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Terrific museum”
Reviewed July 9, 2013

Very interesting and well designed exhibits. Could have spent the WHOLE DAY in there. Great place. Lots of history along the Mississippi River and the museum really covers a lot.

Visited July 2013
Thank Andy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Winston Salem, North Carolina
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“wonderful place”
Reviewed July 8, 2013

very well maintained and wonderful place. The turtle exhibit was really fantastic...the simulation of origin and ending of missisippi river is good... you can spend 2 to 3 hours here..

Visited July 2013
Thank swamisanto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rockford, Illinois
Level 6 Contributor
212 reviews
127 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 140 helpful votes
“Nice place, lots of different things to do!”
Reviewed July 7, 2013

We enjoyed this even more than we thought we would. There was much more to look at than I imagined there would be. We took our 7 year old son and met some friends and their kids there. They have many fish and other animals that live in and near the Mississippi River. They also have an area about the river's history, Mark Twain, riverboats, etc. There are so many different displays to look at and interact with. The kids hands-on area was a hit with the kids.....they could watch how a river flows and float boats along in the water. Outside was an old boat that you could tour and a raft-type ride the kids could pull a rope on to make it move across the water. A great day! We'd definitely recommend it!

Visited June 2013
Thank RoadTripfromIL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium also viewed


Been to National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing