Expand your group’s experience on specific themes. Programs will be billed at a flat fee of $35 per program with a maximum of 25 students plus $1.25 for each additional student.  Some programs are limited to a maximum number of students. Groups larger than the program maximum will be split up and an additional program session will be added to accommodate the number of students. Programs for Pre-Kindergarten through third grade are 30 minutes in length. Programs for fourth through eighth grade are 45 minutes in length. The programs are listed with recommended age levels and may be adjusted to fit your age group. Special programs may be available on request (not available during April – June). The following is a list of set programs available:

History Curriculum

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 to 1 hour

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What is dredging and why is it so important to the nation’s inland river?  What was life like for the Army Corp of Engineers crew aboard the William M. Black?  Climb aboard a historic steam powered dredge that worked on the Missouri River and find out.

45 Minutes

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Imagine a time before European settlers arrived when American Indian 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 American Indians who lived along the Upper Mississippi River American Indians will be demonstrated to the students.

45 Minutes

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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 to 1 hour

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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 to 45 Minutes

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Have you ever wondered why the fawn has spots or why some trees are always green? Native American cultures provide a treasure of stories of plants and animals, and the earth on which they thrive. Let’s gather together to enjoy some of these traditional tales and create new ones along the way.

45 Minutes to 1 hour

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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 to 1 hour

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Science Curriculum

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 to 1 hour

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What has fur (or hair), bares live young, and has the ability to produce milk? If you guessed a mammal, then you’re right! But wait. There’s more! Mammals come in all shapes, colors and sizes and are very interesting creatures. This program will teach you the ins and out of Mississippi river mammal identification and some interesting facts for you to share on these fascinating animals.

45 Minutes 

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After you go to bed at night, the river comes alive with animals that are just waking up. These animals are called nocturnal because they sleep during the day and are active at night. Come prepared to use your “night vision” to learn about these fascinating animals.

30 Minutes 

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Have you ever taken a hike through the woods or along the river and been disappointed because you were unable to see any animals? Did you see tracks and other signs telling you animals were there at one time, but are now gone? Did you know what made those tracks? Learn how to identify animals that live along the Mississippi River by their tracks and signs that they leave behind at this program!

45 Minutes 

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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 

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Everything relies on the sun for sight, growth and power. Discuss the importance of the sun and experience the power of light by creating a light picture or “photo-graph” – a great reminder of the lesson learned during the field trip. Students will take their “photo-graph” home with them.

30 – 45 Minutes 

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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 

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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 

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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 

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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 

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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 

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