Looking to delve even deeper? Expand your group’s experience with an education program! 

Programs are billed at a flat fee of $45 for up to 25 students, plus $1.25 for each additional student after that. To ensure the best possible learning environment, some programs are limited to a maximum number of students. In these cases, larger groups will be subdivided and additional program sessions will be offered.

Historical Programs

Furs & Lead (All age groups)

A voyageur’s life was one of travel and trade, as they encountered both the Native American peoples and wildlife species along the Upper Mississippi River.  Examine the role that furs and lead played in the lives of these historic individuals, including our city’s namesake, Julien Dubuque.

45 minutes - 1 hour

Native Americans (3rd-adult)

Imagine a time before European settlers arrived when Native American villages dotted the riverbanks and ceremonial and burial mounds were built on the river bluffs. During this presentation students will learn about the various time periods of the Native Americans who lived along the Upper Mississippi River.

45 minutes

Boat Building & Rivet Toss (4th-8th)

Have you ever wanted to be a boat builder, woodworker, or a blacksmith? What if you had to build a boat with only one source of power…YOU? Would you do it? Come visit our boat building shop here at the museum and aquarium. Explore the tools and techniques used in this very boat shop during the boat building industry in Dubuque. Use some of the hand tools that made many a watercraft in their day. Test your skills at throwing and catching a “hot” rivet. Watch a real model steam engine operate.

45 minutes - 1 hour

From Frontier to Trade and Commerce (2nd-8th)

The rich heritage of the Upper Mississippi River Valley is full of tales of Native Americans and fur traders, lead miners and steamboat captains. Let’s explore the settlement of communities such as Dubuque and identify how and why they developed and prospered along this great river.

30 - 45 minutes

The Mystery of the Log Cabin (3rd-8th)

Have you ever wondered what the Mississippi River valley was like as the first settlers began to arrive and build their homes? During this presentation students will learn about the pioneers who settled along the river. They will experience the way of life of the pioneers, a restored log cabin, and how they lived through hot summers and cold winters.  Students will learn about why the pioneers came here and some of the tools they used.

45 minutes - 1 hour

Scientific Programs

Life Cycles (K-5th)

Did you ever wonder where butterflies, mosquitoes, dragonflies, or frogs came from? Follow the life of these aquatic insects and amphibians and see how they seem to magically change from tiny eggs in the water to animals living on land or in the sky.

30 minutes - 1 hour

Rockin' Reptiles & Awesome Amphibians (All age groups)

Do you know the difference between a reptile and an amphibian? After this program you will! Be a herpetologist and explore hands-on the world of herps (collective name for reptiles and amphibians)! Learn about some of the different species living here at the aquarium.

30 – 45 minutes 

Turtle Tales (Pre-K-3rd)

What animal comes in all shades of green, has scales and a shell? If you guessed a turtle you’re right! Many different types of turtles call the Mississippi River home. Explore the turtle world with the help of the Franklin book series and some live turtles that live right here at the aquarium.

30 minutes 

Water Logged (4th-adult, seasonal)

Do you know the number one pollution problem in Iowa waterways today? I bet the answer will surprise you! Join us in learning how to monitor the water quality of the aquarium’s wetland. Everyone will be able to get their hands wet learning just how healthy the water is! Students test for dissolved oxygen, pH and other characteristics that will help us determine the health of the water. ALSO available in a longer program offering advanced water testing.

45 minutes 

Water We doing to our Environment (4th-12th)

Do you know how your actions affect the overall health of the Mississippi River?  Use Kool-Aid and cocoa on an Enviroscape model to investigate non-point source pollution and figure out how you can reduce the pollution that enters into the Mississippi River.  (Limited to 50 students)

45 minutes 

Wet & Wild (4th-12th, seasonal)

There’s an entire underwater world in a wetland just waiting to be explored! Use dip nets to seek out these underwater creatures that inhabit this now rare environment. Play the role of scientist as you identify the aquatic life and categorize them as pollution tolerant or intolerant. Your data will determine the health of the wetland. (Limited to 50 Students)

45 minutes 

You CAN Judge and Animal by its Cover (1st-3rd)

Are you a predator or a prey? What animals can you think of that are predators and which ones are prey? Which are both? Who’s a carnivore, omnivore or an herbivore? How can you tell? Different groups of animals have different coverings on their bodies.  Examine the different coverings of the animals living here at the aquarium and determine how each effects where they live, how they move and what they do! After this program you’ll have the answers to these questions and many more.

30 minutes