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“Educational but the kids won't know that.”

National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium
Ranked #1 of 70 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!
Reviewed July 29, 2009

I am a grandmother traveling with 10 year old granddaughter. We spent several hours at this museum and aquarium and had a very good time. Lots of things to see, indoors and out. According to my granddaughter, the biggest downside was that there were very few opportunities to touch. Our favorite activity was spotting frogs and turtles in the outdoor area.
The tour of the riverboat was fascinating and gave us a feel for how the crew members lived.

Thank red53angel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,288 - 1,292 of 1,315 reviews

Reviewed April 20, 2009

What a great find! Indoor and outdoor exhibits, educational, interactive and fun! The building is roomy allowing plenty of space for visitors to enjoy the exhibits without feeling crowded. We visited with out 13 year old twin boys and they loved it. We planned on spending an hour or so. We were there at least 3 and plan on going back. The movies were great! The boys enjoyed watching the otters as well. We also had lunch in the cafeteria. Food was great and very reasonably priced. The cafe is in a renovated train station. Pretty cute.

Thank Pamela9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 30, 2008

We took our 3 children here last summer. They had a great time. I learned a lot about the Mississippi River. One of the parts I enjoyed the most was a video "tour" of the Mississippi from one end to the other. As someone who grew up near only one part of the river, it was interesting to get a bird's eye view of the whole thing. If you are in the Dubuque area, it is well worth your time and money to stop at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium.

1  Thank mom2threeMichigan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 11, 2008

After hiking in the Mines of Spain, we decided to drop down into Dubuque and visit the museum and we were not disappointed. Being Decvember it was quiet but theat worked for me. Its $10.50 to get in for adults and I believe worth it. We were greated by a very pleasant volunteer who explained the layout and what to see.
The information films were well presented and the theatres had some interactive elements to them. The steamboat whistles certainly made me jump when you are not expecting them! The tanks in the aquaria were interesting - I hasd never seen the different types of catfish before as it is not indiginous to the UK - plus an albino gator and the otters pen was a good one for the kids, young and old like us. The boat was closed but that wasn't a problem you could see quite a lot from the rear of the Museum.
We were in for an hour and half, and learned quite a lot about the river and surrounding areas.
Well worth a visit if in the area, watch out for the roadworks approaching due to the new casino being built. I think these will be completed shortly.

1  Thank Spiderpig41
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 17, 2008

We recently visited this aquarium based on a recommendation from someone. This place far exceeded our expectations.

The best displays of live Mississippi river fish I have ever seen. One tank (est 50,000 gallons) had very large catfish (30-80 lbs), alligator gar (45 lbs), longnose gar (20 lbs), carp, buffalo (40 lbs), and paddlefish. There was also a sturgeon petting tank which the kids thought was fun. One natural display tank had numerous sunfish, crappie, walleye, and bass. There was even a tank of stingrays.
Everything was clean and entertaining to watch.

Venomous creatures:
A newer display is the venomous creature exhibit. There was a clear plexiglass exhibit where the kids could climb under and walk out to face a rattlesnake through a pop up dome. The snakes were only inches away. They also had a good collection of snakes (cobras,copperheads, cottonmouths, fer de lance and other vipers, scorpions, insects, etc.) Dad's and kid's will love it...Mom's-not so much...LOL

The 4D theatres were pretty cool. Smoke and water would shoot out at times during the some of the films. The sound effects were pretty good. Other shows (non 4D) were OK.

Indoor/Outdoor exhibits:
Numerous historical displays including boats and river artifacts. A family favorite was the barge driver simulation machine. We all crashed but soon got the hang of it. Live river otters were great for the kids.

Summary: Affiliated with the Smithsonian Institute, this is a first class venue in brand new condition. The price of admission was well worth it. I felt it was cheap for what you get. A truly great value. Try to go in good weather so you can enjoy the outdoor exhibits.

1  Thank ALITD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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