Travel the Mighty Mississippi in Iowa
Summer is time for the family road trip! Follow Kids Activities Blog and Julie Blair and her family as they travel 8 states in 30 days for the ultimate road trip story ¦
If I had my way, every American would visit the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa, as it offers information critical for kids and the adults raising them on the tragic state of our nation’s most important water sources.
I’ll admit, I was skeptical at first.
Unless you live in Wisconsin, the museum is hard to get to. And frankly, my 10-year-old twins found the subject of rivers yawn-inducing. But because we all love Mark Twain and find paddle boats quaint, we drove eight hours through corn fields to get there.
What we discovered was a sophisticated, compelling conversation on the Mississippi River’s past and the current state of it and other American rivers.
It’s a frightening tale.
Our rivers produce irreplaceable fresh water for our entire nation–and 40 percent of them are now so polluted they are unfit for swimming and fishing.
Elizabeth, who hopes to be a marine biologist, found the photos of deformed frogs most disturbing. This is the result of our dumping medicines like anti-depressants into rivers.
William spent a long time reading about oil pollution, examining the long beams made of human hair used to contain spills as well as the oil globs themselves.
And our manny Joel was shocked by the numbers: He learned that American trash tossed into rivers forms a refuse “raft” the size of Texas–annually. It bobs along the waterways until it collects somewhere near the Hawaiian islands.
Charlotte was the only one who came away happy: She loved the water play offered on the museum’s second story. Furthermore, she is still asking to return to the museum’s gift shop, which offered three shelves of stuffed mermaids for sale.
The rest of us sorrowfully retired to the museum cafÃ© for fare that aimed to be ambitious but was merely amiable.
That said, the cafÃ© view of the Mighty Mississippi was breathtaking.
But as we sat there in silence eating, we wondered how long it would continue to be so.