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Historic Dubuque and National Mississippi River Museum Field Trip

  • June 21, 2023
  • Dubuque, Iowa
  • 16


  • NOTE: Member ($58) with guest ($68) will cost a total of $126. TO ADD YOUR GUEST: click on the "ADD GUEST" button at the bottom of the registration form and enter the guest information as indicated. Thank you.

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Historic Dubuque and National Mississippi

River Museum Field Trip

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Registration deadline extended to June 12.

Celebrate the summer solstice by  joining us on a scenic  bus ride through  southwest Wisconsin  to Dubuque,  Iowa’s oldest city,  chartered in 1837.    Settlers to this vibrant river city were known for mining and fur-trading, but later flourished in the industries of button making, boat building, logging, mill working, meat packing, and other heavy industries.

When we arrive in Dubuque, you will have two options about how you want to spend your morning: exploring downtown Dubuque or spending time in a park on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi river.   In the afternoon we will go to the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium where you will have two hours to explore the museum on your own.  Lunch will be on your own in downtown Dubuque.


Morning Option A - Explore downtown Dubuque on your own

There is no shortage of things to do in downtown Dubuque whether it is riding the historic Fenelon funicular, viewing the dozens of Tiffany stained glass windows at St. Luke's United Methodist church, walking the Riverwalk, or shopping the unique stores.  You will have 2 1/2 hours to explore the area and have lunch.


The bus will drop you off at the Travel Dubuque visitor's center in the heart of the Old Main Historic District considered to be the "largest concentration of significant nineteenth-century commercial architecture" in Dubuque.  There are dozens of unique stores and restaurants to explore - see  Downtown Dubuque stores .


Fenelon Place Elevator Company - Also known as the Fourth Street Elevator, this funicular railway, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has been called “the world’s steepest, shortest scenic railway.”  At the top there are magnificent views of the downtown Dubuque business district, the Mississippi River and three states. Rates are $4/round trip -  cash only. 5 minute walk from the Visitor's Center.


St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 1199 Main Street - Over 100 Tiffany windows turn this historic church into a stained glass paradise.  It is the fifth largest collection of Tiffany's stained glassworks in the world.  You will be viewing the collection on your own.  The church is open for walk-ins from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.  You can view the video tour at video tour  or you can watch it on site with the television in the back of the sanctuary.  10 minute walk from the Visitor's Center.


Riverwalk - The Riverwalk is a 1/2 mile walkway atop Dubuque's flood wall, offering spectacular views of the Mississippi River, rail and road bridges, and Dubuque's downtown.  10 minute walk from the Visitor's Center.



Morning Option B - Stay on the bus for a ten minute ride to Eagle Point Park

Eagle Point Park is a 164 acre scenic park on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi river and lock and dam no. 11.   You will have fifty minutes to walk around the park  before the bus returns to downtown Dubuque for lunch.

The park is ADA accessible with a level, paved sidewalk and has accessible restrooms. 

Prairie style  architecture is very recognizable in the buildings and gardens and the use of native construction materials, craftsmanship, and unique designs make the park one of the most beautiful in the Midwest.  The park was listed as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017.


National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium

We will spend our afternoon at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium.  Part aquarium, part museum, part science center, the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium creates educational experiences where history and rivers come alive!   The 14-acre campus on the banks of the Mississippi River features two separate two-story buildings and an expansive outdoor plaza. It is is home to over 100 species of animals and thousands of historic artifacts.

You will have two hours to explore the museum on your own.  There will be docents at all of the aquariums and main exhibits so people can ask all the questions they want.  There are also several videos available for $5 each for people to watch.  If you finish viewing the museum early, feel free to take a walk on the adjacent riverwalk.


Lunch in Dubuque

Lunch will be on your own in downtown Dubuque from 12:20 PM to 1:40 PM.  The cost of lunch is separate and is not included in your registration fee.

The bus will drop us off at the visitor's center, 280 Main street,  and all of the restaurants below are within a three block radius of the drop off point.  The underlined blue links on the restaurants listed below work if you want to find out more about the restaurants.  A printed map of downtown Dubuque will be handed out on the bus the day of the tour.

Caroline's Restaurant at Hotel Julien – 200 Main Street - American cuisine served all day in a stylish, simply appointed dining room inside Hotel Julien.

1st & Main – 101 Main Street - Brick-lined joint with specialty drinks & a pub menu, including weekend breakfast & daily specials.

A&W - 250 W 1st St - Iconic chain serving up namesake root beer, plus burgers, chicken & fries.

Baraboo's on Main  – 345 Main Street – Voted #1 burger in Dubuque

Barrell House – 299 Main Street – Features burgers, pizzas, salads, apps, and more

Jimmy John's - 356 Main Street - Counter-serve chain specializing in sub & club sandwiches, plus signature potato chips.

Adobos Mexican Grill – 756 Main Street - Cheery Mexican counter serve offering build-your-own burritos, tacos & nachos, plus big margaritas.

Lot One – 100 Main Street - Laid-back watering hole offering a pub-grub menu & a sizable array of beers in a casual atmosphere.

Vault Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge – 342 Main Street - From sandwiches to fine dining options.

And a 10 minute walk to the river will take you to the Filament restaurant inside the Diamond Jo Casino or Tony Roma's inside the Grand Harbor Hotel.



Registration Fee:  The registration fee for members is $58 which includes the bus,  driver's tip, admission to Eagle Point park,  and the entrance fee of the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium.   Lunch is not included in the registration fee.   Non-member guests pay an additional $10 registration fee.

Registration Policy:  PLATO will refund an event fee if cancelled prior to the registration deadline of June 6.  Refunds after the registration deadline are only processed if a wait-listed registrant can attend or there are extenuating circumstances.  We encourage you to register early so we know if we have enough people to make the trip financially feasible.

Dress Appropriately:  We will be outside in downtown Dubuque and Eagle Point park.  You should dress appropriately for the weather (i.e., comfortable, closed-toed shoes, umbrellas, raincoats, jackets, hats and gloves).

Accessibility Policy:   On the bus, you must be able to climb steps to board and exit the bus.  If you need assistance, we require that you bring a friend to give you a hand.  Eagle Point Park has paved pathways.  There are benches available along the path for anyone that needs to take a rest or simply wants to take in the scenery or have a great conversation with someone.

Non-Member Policy:   Members must register their guests. Each PLATO member is entitled to bring one non-member guest per bus trip. Members may bring more than one guest near the registration deadline date if seats are available. Check with trip organizer.  Non-member guests pay an additional $10 registration fee.

PLATO Membership:  PLATO membership is $60.00/year and all memberships renew on July 1. 

Mail-In Registration Form:  Print, Fill-In, and Mail this Form for those who wish to register off-line and by check.


Bus and Travel Details

We will have a 56-passenger Van Galder/CoachUSA bus.  Please arrive early at your boarding stop so you don’t miss the bus.  When everyone is aboard and seated, we leave.  Arrive early and we will all arrive at our destination on time to begin our adventure.

– Don’t be late.  We can wait just 5 minutes at any one location.

Our bus is equipped with WiFi and toilet facilities. 

- Social Distancing will not be available on the bus.


Leave Madison

8:15 AM    Bus arrives at East Towne Sears

8:30 AM    Departs East Towne Sears

8:50 AM    Departs Capitol Lakes

9:15 AM    Departs Oakwood Village University Oaks, 6205 Mineral Point Rd

In Dubuque

11:00 AM    Arrives Travel Dubuque, downtown Dubuque

11:15 AM    Arrives Eagle Point Park

12:05 PM    Departs Eagle Point Park

12:20 PM    Arrives Travel Dubuque, downtown Dubuque for lunch

1:40 PM      Departs Travel Dubuque for museum

1:45 PM      Arrives National Mississippi River Museum

3:45 PM      Departs museum for Madison

Arrive Madison (Estimated)

5:15 PM     Arrives Oakwood Village University Oaks

5:40 PM     Arrives Capitol Lakes

6:00 PM     Arrives East Towne Sears

For further information, contact Dubuque trip organizers, Bob Shaw, , 608-255-3486 or Marsha Janota,, 608-442-7676


PLATO's COVID Protocol

By registering for this event you agree to the following:

1. Masks are not required while on this field trip.  

2. However, persons wishing to wear a mask are encouraged to do so.

3. Health  protocols are subject to change as conditions change; PLATO reserves the right to change the protocols for this trip accordingly.

4. You are asked to stay home if you are not feeling well. Please contact the trip organizer to inform them of your decision.

PLATO is proudly supported in part by Oakwood Village.

PLATO is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in association with:

for more information, contact us at:


6209 Mineral Point Road #203
Madison, WI 53705

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