It’s funny how sometimes the things we need or want can be right under our noses for the longest time. We seldom notice them until they’re brought to our attention by an outside source. Students of Loras, today I want to be that outside source and advertise a local establishment that provides education, entertainment, and relaxation: the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. Located in the Port of Dubuque, the River Museum is a unique combination: a historical museum that also teaches about nature, with aquarium-style exhibits.
As an employee of the museum, I am very familiar with everything it has to offer, and I highly recommend a visit. First, the River Museum is probably the only place nearby where you can see a live American Alligator, a Giant Pacific Octopus, a Red-Tailed Hawk, as well as Bald Eagles and River Otters, all in the same place. There are also several kinds of smaller reptiles and amphibians on display, along with a large variety of both freshwater and saltwater fish from the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico. Oh, and did I mention there are touch-tanks full of rays and crawfish? It’s all pretty awesome.
In addition to the animals, there are some great historical aspects to the museum. Among the more exciting ones is the opportunity to board and explore an actual dredging boat from the 1930s. The museum campus consists of two buildings, with an outdoor area in between. It takes an entertaining two to five hours just to see everything once. In addition to the permanent exhibits, there are traveling exhibits that rotate through every few months. The current traveling exhibit covers the history of the local brewery and the process of making beer. We also have a 3D-4D movie theater, with films that rotate through every few months. They provide a very immersive experience with both documentaries and pure entertainment. To see the movies, you don’t need to purchase admission to the museum. But buying tickets to the museum can get you a discount on movie tickets.
I highly recommend that every student at Loras visits the museum at least once — and not just because it keeps my place of employment open. In my experience, it has an atmosphere that’s both calming and stimulating, both educational, and entertaining. It’s perfect for taking a load off from your stressful class and homework schedule. I have gotten inspiration for several of my papers from visiting the museum. And I find it’s a good place to calm down before a big exam. Admission is currently $16.00 for adults, but you might be able to get a student discount. Admission is good for two days in a row because of the amount of time it takes to see everything. If you want a new source of local entertainment to ease your overworked mind, I can think of few places as good as the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium.
For more information such as hours, ticket prices and location, check out their website.