The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium makes every effort to remove barriers to accessibility in line with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations. The Museum & Aquarium provides Accessible Parking, Entrances, Access to Goods and Services, Accessible Restrooms, Baby Changing Facilities, Family Restrooms, Assisted Listening Devices in the 4D Theater, Limited Quantity of “Free to Borrow” Wheel Chairs, and Elevators.

The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium has been certified by Proudly Accessible Dubuque, an independent, not-for-profit organization that serves businesses by taking the fear out of regulations in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Service Animals Policy

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a “service animal” as dogs* that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. If they meet this definition, dogs are considered service animals under the ADA regardless of whether they have been licensed or certified by a state or local government. ADA requires service animals to be harnessed, leashed or tethered unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work, or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls. The care and supervision of a service animal is solely the responsibility of his or her owner. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability.

Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support, therapy dogs or dogs that provide a service to others not present (dogs in-training) do not qualify as “service animals” under the ADA.

A service animal may be excluded from the Museum & Aquarium when that animal’s behavior poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. Examples are vicious behavior towards other guests, a dog that is out of control and the handler cannot or does not regain control, or if the dog is not housebroken. If a service animal is excluded, the individual with the disability who uses the service animal must have the option of continuing to enjoy the Museum & Aquarium.

The National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium is responsible for the health and wellbeing of collections of birds, reptiles, and marine animals. In the event that a service animal’s presence within certain areas of the aquarium is demonstrated to cause the animals in that area undue stress or anxiety, or present the potential for injury or illness, we reserve the right to designate such sensitive areas as off-limits. Sensitive areas may be designated as a result of new births or hatchings, nesting or breeding behavior in progress, or new animals in exhibits. Further, service animals may not be present at behind-the-scenes animal encounters.

*As of March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals under titles II and III of the ADA.