5 Must See Exhibit at the Mississippi River Museum

According to Trip Advisor, and in my opinion, The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium is the top attraction to see if you are visiting Dubuque, Iowa. If you are staying in Galena, Illinois, for the weekend, I highly suggest you make the drive over to Iowa to visit the River Museum.  You can easily spend several hours at the Mississippi River Museum and still not see everything it has to offer.  Here is a list of five exhibits to make sure you check out when you visit the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium!

The Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, located in Dubuque, Iowa, is a gem.  We visit this museum several times a year, and we still find new things to see every time we visit.  I find it amazing that the town the size of Dubuque offers such a magnificent museum!  The river museum was founded in 2003, and each year new exhibits are added.  The Mississippi museum offers exhibits for people of all ages.

Mississippi River Museum is on my list of Best Zoos in the Midwest!

Where is the Mississippi River Museum Located?

If you are visiting Dubuque for a weekend, your ticket will be valid for two days, so you will have more of an opportunity to see everything.   If you live within a few hours of the Mississippi River Museum, I highly encourage you to become a member.  If you plan to visit more than once a year, getting the membership is worth it.

350 E 3rd St, Dubuque, IA 52001

At the river museum, you will find


Animals native to the Mississippi river

Stem activities

4d educational movies

history exhibits

Because the Mississippi River Museum has so much to see, I have put together a list of must-see exhibits for you to make sure you see while you’re there!

Also, check out these hidden gems in Dubuque, Iowa, during your visit!

Five exhibits not to miss at the National Mississippi River Museum.

River Otters 

In 2019, a male orphaned baby otter found a home at the Mississippi River Museum, and early in 2020, an orphaned female otter joined him.  These two otters are playful and so much fun to watch!  When you visit the river museum, you will find that the area around the otters is pretty crowded.  It is worth waiting in line to check these guys out!  The River Otters are located near the main entrance of the museum.

Stingray touch tank

Your entire family will enjoy petting the stingrays at the river museum.  The stingray touch tank is located in the Diamond Jo River center building. You may have to wait in line for a few minutes to be able to touch the stingrays, but it is worth it!

Lookout tower 

I wanted to add this to my list because I came to the River Museum for years and didn’t know about its lookout tower.  When you are in the Diamond Jo River center building, take the elevator to the T ( tower) for an opportunity to check out the town and get a cool view of the Mississippi River.

River of innovation

In 2021, the National River Museum opened a new exhibit featuring the history of innovation on the Mississippi River. You can easily spend 30 -60 minutes just in this area.  It includes a few play spaces for kids and many exhibits showcasing the history of technology.  Even if you have visited the River Museum before, I suggest you come back to check out the new wing!

Mama the Alligator 

Mama the Alligator has been at the National River Museum since its opening in 2003.  Whenever we visit the National River Museum, my kids almost always head over to her tank to see what she’s doing.   She says still much of the time, but she’ll surprise you some time and swim around the tank and even interact with the turtle who shares a tank with her.

I hope you have a great time at the National River Museum!  Please comment below and tell me your favorite part of the National River Museum!


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