Go, See, Explore: The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium

mississippi river museum and aquarium


Aviaries – The Raptor Roost houses our American Kestrel and Barn Owl. The Mississippi River Plaza showcases our Bald Eagle and our Red-Tailed Hawk.

Backwater Marsh – This popular exhibit introduces guests to a few of the hundreds of species that depend on local wetlands for survival. Featuring a diverse collection, expect to see dozens of species of birds, turtles, and fish.

Bayou – A bayou is a slow-moving creek or swampy section of a river or lake that is often found in flat areas where water collects in pools.  Bayous are common in the southeastern United States. They may contain freshwater, saltwater, or a combination of the two called brackish water.

Boat Shop – Boat shop educators and volunteers demonstrate boat building, historic artisan work, and the use of hand tools.

Down in the Delta – Stingray and tidepool touch tanks are free activities, but the River Museum also offers daily ticketed opportunities to feed our stingrays.

Flooded Forest – Fondly regarded as the River Museum’s animal greeters, the North American River Otters are one of the first exhibits visitors encounter when they enter the Mississippi River Center. The River Museum also offers a live webcam from 8 AM – 4 PM daily to watch the otters!

Gulf of Mexico Aquarium – Our largest saltwater aquarium, the Gulf of Mexico open water habitat is nearly 30 feet long, 15 feet deep, and contains more than 40,000 gallons of water! The aquarium features a diverse collection of species such as puffer fish and a Green Moray Eel!

Main Channel – Our largest freshwater habitat, this three-sided aquarium is nine feet deep, holds more than 30,000 gallons, and represents some of the biggest fish species of the Mississippi River, including sturgeon, catfish, and gar.

MakerSpace – The MakerSpace gallery provides a tinker, design, and create
mentality for a personalized experience. Use critical thinking, develop
personal connections, and explore STEM skills with real materials, thereby revealing their unknown and unexpected potential. Enjoy a variety of ever-changing activities as you tinker away the afternoon.

National Rivers Hall of Fame – The story of America includes the river people who left an indelible mark on our collective memories and nation’s history. Learn more about the lives and accomplishments of these pathfinders, artists, writers, musicians, builders, and inventors linked forever to the river.

River of Innovation – River of Innovation tells the story of how these women and men, from different times and places, weren’t content to stand still. With the Mighty Mississippi flowing ever forward nearby, they were compelled to improve their world even as they left the past behind.

Rivers to the Sea – The newly renovated Rivers to the Sea exhibit showcases 100 new species and 12 new aquariums. The exhibit serves to show how connected everyone is to our oceans, and how people have an impact on ocean environments far away.

RiverWorks Discovery Splash Zone – Let your child (or inner child) explore rivers through our interactive RiverWorks Splash Zone. Kids can steer boats downriver and through locks or explore a beaver lodge!

Wetlab – Become a naturalist as you explore various furs, critters, and even learn to identify scat! Touch a crayfish, explore mussels, and get up close to nature with a microscope.

Daily Activities:

Journey Theater Movie – Mississippi Journey: Begins on the hour daily | River of Dreams: Begins on the half-hour daily

MakerSpace – Tinkering daily

Stingray Feeding – 11:00 am & 2:30 pm

Belt-Driven Machine Shop Demonstration – 11:30 am & 2:00 pm

Boat Shop Chat – 1:00 pm

Creature Feature – 1:30 pm


Early Explorers – Open to children ages 2-5 along with a parent or caregiver. Sessions are held monthly year-round. Programs include a variety of hands-on and active activities, including a craft and a game. Advanced registration is encouraged as space is limited.

Pioneer Days – Experience life as a pioneer at the Mathias Ham Historic Site! Step back in time while exploring an authentic one-room schoolhouse, an 1833 settler’s log cabin, a lead miner’s Badger Hut, and the historic Mathias Ham House.

Homeschool Days – On the second Thursday of November, December, January, February, and March! Each Day will offer a variety of drop-in activities focused on a different theme. No advance registration needed. ($9.95 per person)

School’s Out Day Camps – Explore something new at one or more of our popular day and overnight camps, focused on history, culture, biology, and STEM-topics! Camps are available year-round for school-aged children!

Hours of Operation

/ Spring
Nov, 1, 2023 – May 24, 2024
10:00 A.M. – 4:00 p.m. Weekdays
10:00 A.M. – 5:00 p.m. Weekends

Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day
Open on Christmas Eve 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.


All tickets are 2-day passes

  • Adult – $23.95
  • Youth (Ages 3-17) – $17.95
  • Senior (Ages 65+) – $21.95

*Museums for All Discount – $2.00/visitor

350 E. 3rd Street
Dubuque, IA 52001

(563) 557-9545

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