The National Mississippi River Museum Offers More Than You Might Expect

Screen Shot 2017-04-26 at 10.14.27 PM.pngNational Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium here in Dubuque has much to offer the community. There are new rotating exhibits every couple of months while offering the always interesting aquarium with fresh and salt water creatures, outdoor nature environments, historical boats and buildings you can interact with, and so much more.

Running from February 11th to April 23rd, Top Secret: License to Spy was an exciting exhibit at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque. This exhibit featured hidden cameras, sound beams and a secret code room that challenge the mind and kept museum goers on their toes while feeling like spies themselves.

John Sutter, Director of Marketing for the National Mississippi River Museum, described the exhibit as, “Enjoyable for the whole family, but primarily for 12-year-olds up.”

When first walking into the exhibit, patrons were handed pamphlets that provided clues to figure out the mystery of who stole the computer chip.

There are multiple things for family and friends to enjoy and experience that let individuals be hands-on with activities in the new exhibits the museum brings. In the License to Spy exhibit, there is an area where you can break the code on a safe and figure out a password to destroy a chip before it gets into the wrong hands. Sutter stated, “This exhibit is unique by having hands-on activities, and everyone has something to gain from this experience.”

Sutter utilizes resources from all over the country in order to find exhibits like Top Secret: License to Spy which was designed and built by Scitech from Perth Australia.

The next traveling exhibit that will be at the museum is surrounding the mystery of deep river fish. This new exhibit lasts from May 13th through October 9th. So, if patrons can’t make it out after Clarke’s finals week, the exhibit will be at the Museum through the beginning of next school year. For more information on the upcoming exhibit, the River Museum has a video on their website explaining the contents of the Monster Fish exhibit.

Screen Shot 2017-04-26 at 10.14.06 PMRegular admission to the museum is $15 per person and allows entry to many different exhibits in the museum. There are different parts to the museum such as the Riverworks Splash Zone, Mississippi Plaza, and even a delta touch pool in the Rivers to the Sea Aquarium where you can get the chance to touch stingrays and sturgeon.  All of these exhibits can be seen with this base admission, while the rotating exhibits like License to Spy might have individual entrance fees.

The Aquarium feature many different types of aquatic animals. Some of these animals are not found in the Mississippi River but are found in the ocean. The vast aquariums are always enjoyable to watch the animals interact and swim about in their tanks and habitats.

Screen Shot 2017-04-26 at 10.13.57 PM.pngThe National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium has two separate buildings with an outdoor nature environment in between to explore as well as a bald eagle and a red-tailed hawk in their own cages for museum-goers to see. The red-tailed hawk was illegally shot, and the museum now takes care of the one-winged red-tailed hawk in captivity.

In the outdoor nature environments, a wetland display provides a space for the public to feed fish and learn about plants in the wetlands, as well as a log cabin that houses a little stove in a big stone fireplace.

The second building hosts information regarding travel on the Mississippi. There is a huge boat that sits in the courtyard between the two buildings. When patrons walk into the frame, it is like taking a step back in time. While the William M. Black steamer from 1934 sitting in the water is not open until the weather warms up.

With the variety of established activities at the museum and the rotating exhibits, The National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium continues to be a hot spot for education and entertainment even after 14 years of operation

By: Lindsey Templemann

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