Photo Credit: Rural Life Museum & Gardens (Baton Rouge, LA)
Interpretive Centers on the Great River Road
There are over 70 Great River Road Interpretive Centers housed in museums and historic sites up and down the Road. These are great places to discover area culture, pick up some travel information, and learn about the Mississippi River itself.
National Eagle Center (Wabasha, MN)
Learn about eagles and the Mississippi River through live eagles, daily programs, two floors of interactive exhibits, and exciting wild eagle viewing. Get up close and personal with our national symbol as the National Eagle Center brings you within feet of bald and golden eagles.
Located in the Science Museum of Minnesota, the visitor center has interactive exhibits, a reading nook, and a Junior Ranger program. Exhibits explain Mississippi River culture, biology, and history. Talk to a Ranger about exploring the 72 miles of the river set aside as a National River.
Genoa National Fish Hatchery (Genoa, WI)
The Interpretive Center has exhibits on the Battle of Bad Axe that marked the end of the war between settlers and the Sauk and Fox tribes. The hatchery provides 35 aquatic species for stocking nationwide.
Great River Road Visitor and Learning Center (Prescott, WI)
Freedom Park has a beautiful overlook where the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers meet. Check out the butterfly garden along with the educational displays and art exhibits.
Putnam Museum (Davenport, IA)
An aquarium of Mississippi River fish along with exhibits on science, history, and the natural world. This Smithsonian affiliate museum has interactive and hands on displays as well as traditional exhibits.
The Sawmill Museum (Clinton, IA)
Explore the history of America’s lumber industry. The kids are going to love the lumberjack camp that is just their size and the water display where they can pilot a boat down river.
Fort de Chartres State Historic Site (Prairie du Rocher, IL)
Built in the 1700’s and was the French seat of government before they gave the land over to the British. It is the heart of French-Colonial Illinois (did you even know there was such a thing?)
Interactive displays and a fantastic view out the window. The museum is at Lock and Dam 26. What sounds the most fun is the tugboat simulator.
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial(St. Louis, MO)
You might know this by it’s more common name, The Gateway Arch. If you’re going through St. Louis, you don’t want to miss the view from on top. The museum tells the story of St. Louis’ role in the Western Expansion of the U.S.
New Madrid Historical Museum (New Madrid, MO)
Learn the story of the great earthquakes that rocked the region and a civil war battle. The museum says, if something happened in or around that area in the last 1,000 years, they probably have something about it!
Columbus-Belmont State Park (Columbus, KY)
The park is a National Trail of Tears Site as well as on the Civil War Heritage Trail. You can learn about the area in their museum or enjoy the river cliff campground.
Wickliffe Mounds State Historic Site (Wickliffe, KY)
The park has a museum of an excavated mound with features on display and exhibits of pottery, stone tools and other artifacts from the site, highlighting the Native People who built the mounds, and the archeological history.
Mississippi River Museum (Memphis, TN)
The park features a scale model of the Lower Mississippi River, an 18-gallery river museum, and a 4,000 gallon aquarium of native fish.
C.H. Nash Museum at Chucalissa (Memphis, TN)
Run by the University of Memphis, you will find a prehistoric American Indian mound complex, a hands-on archaeology laboratory, exhibits, a nature trail, and so much more.
Museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie (Stuttgart, AR)
A memorial to prairie pioneers with over 10,000 artifacts. Learn about the history of agriculture and the pioneers who farmed the Grand Prairie of eastern Arkansas.
The Lakeport Plantation (Lake Village, AR)
This Greek Revival home is one of Arkansas’s premiere historic structures, where you can hear the plantation’s stories of slavery and sharecropping through guided tours.
The Delta Blues Museum (Clarksdale, MS)
Located where the blues began, many legendary blues artist were born and raised in Clarksdale or found their way here. Enjoy the place where historic blues culture is preserved.
Lower Mississippi River Museum (Vicksburg, MS)
Choose your own Mississippi River adventure with the Mississippi Trail interactive, then head outside and let the kids take off their shoes to wade through the Mississippi River Flood Model.
Rural Life Museum & Gardens (Baton Rouge, LA)
Travel back in time to see how people once lived in this open air museum. Plus more than 30 unique historic buildings.
Louisiana State Museum (New Orleans, LA)
Five historic buildings in the French Quarter to tour. The Cabildo, The Presbytère, The New Orleans Jazz Museum at the Old U.S. Mint, 1850 House, and Madame John’s Legacy.