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New exhibit leads to lazy river days

The Family Museum adds Mississippi River exhibit

BETTENDORF, Iowa – It has new sparkle, and new life.

The Family Museum is on its way toward a $1.2 million renovation.

A new exhibit, Lil 'Ssippi River Valley, is ready for visitors to explore. This permanent display combines learning with fun. Explorers can check out the indoor waterplay table that looks like part of the Mississippi River. Here they can keep an eye on their own boat as it goes floating along. They even can lower and raise water levels for their vessel. Think things are going too smoothly? Add an obstacle.

Bridges play an important role on the Mississippi, and they continue to have that position in the museum. Three bridges are ready for play: the Interstate 74 Bridge, Centennial Bridge, and Arsenal Bridge. Visitors of any age will learn through games, hands-on building, and sound. Murals add to the sense of being on the river, sporting flying geese and sailing clouds.

After time on the Mississippi, museum visitors can take a look at the five other permanent exhibits.

• Amazing Acres is the place to find out more about agriculture and the weather. That can include touching a 10-foot tornado, heading up into a tree house, pumping gas at the station, and going out into the fields with a John Deere.

• Busy Bodies: Healthy Choices concentrates on exercise and eating properly. There's a rock climbing wall and a large heart to check out.

• Kingdom for Kids Playground is outdoors. It has everything a kid dreams about for outside play. They can swing, slide, and climb their way through the play area. This kingdom is open based on current weather.

• Long to play house? The museum's PlayHouse display makes that easy. Available in both English and Spanish, the exhibit has the following rooms: Alphabet Kitchen, Clean Clothes Corner, Lullaby Bedroom, Play Porch, My Body Bathroom, and Number Yard. This area is designed for children 4 and younger.

• The last exhibit requires a walk around the Learning Campus to search for art that is hidden. A number of sculptures make up this exhibit, called simply Sculpture on the Learning Campus. All ages can join in this activity and a walk around art.

If you go

What: Family Museum

When: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday

Where: 2900 Learning Campus Drive, Bettendorf, Iowa

Cost: Visitors ages 2 to 59, $7; and 59 and older, military personnel and families, as well as children 12 to 23 months, $4

Information: Visit or call 563-344-4106

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