Top Things to Do in Missouri Valley, Iowa

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High on a bluff sitting like a sentinel over the entrance to Loess Hills is the “Aronia Berry Capital of the United States; Missouri Valley, Iowa. This mid-sized city packs a punch in terms of natural and historic maritime attractions.

Desoto National Wildlife Refuge

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Welcome to Desoto National Wildlife Refuge – image by flickr.com

During the 19th and 20th centuries over 400 steamboats and their cargos were claimed by the unpredictable waters of the “Big Muddy.” Thanks in part to submerged logs and other unseen dangers, many of those shipwrecks, including “The Bertrand” ended up in the waters of the “Desoto National Wildlife Refuge.”

Long sought by treasure seekers and salvagers alike, “The Bertrand” was a Civil War era wooden steamship that was believed to have sunk taking with her millions of dollars in gold to the Missouri Rivers depths.

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The Bertrand steamship was believed to have sunk taking with her millions of dollars in gold – image by montana.edu

Having gone down in April 1865 “The Bertrand” was not seen again until she was discovered in the refuge’s waters in 1968. Though as it turns out “The Bertrand” was more “floating grocery store” than “floating gold mine” its’ excavation was rich in archaeological finds. Wreck divers pulled out a large amount of containers filled with olive oil, mustard and champagne from France.

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The Bertrand was discovered in the refuge’s waters in 1968 – image by cardcow.com

In addition to the French commodities, there were copious amounts of medicinal bitters, hardware, tools, canned and bottled fruits as well as lemonade extracted from the ship’s hull. Over 500,000 artifacts taken from the shipwreck are on display at the refuge’s visitor center and museum.

In addition to the visitor’s center and museum there are nature trails that provide visitors with the opportunity to traverse through a variety of native flora and fauna as well as enjoy ample views of the region’s wildlife.

Bertrand Objects
Bertrand’s objects – image by peachridgeglass.com

As of now the visitor center and museum is open daily from 9:00 am until 4:30 pm except during Federal holidays. The refuge portion itself is also open daily beginning ½ hour before sunrise and closing ½ hour after sunset.

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Visit Desoto National Wildlife Refuge – image by omaha.com

Desoto National Wildlife Refuge

1434 316th Lane

Missouri Valley, IA 51555

712-642-4121

Harrison County Historical Village

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Harrison County Historical Village – image by missourivalleychamber.org

Visitors to the “Harrison County Historical Village” are transported back in time to America’s unsettled period of western expansion and exploration. The village is comprised of a series of 9 historic outbuildings that include but are not limited to a 1853 log cabin and school house.

In addition to the out buildings the museum is home to over 10,000 well displayed artifacts that range in subject matter from the Civil War to Native American inhabitants.

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The museum is home to over 10,000 well displayed artifacts that range in subject matter from the Civil War – image by traveliowa.com

As of now the “Harrison County Historical Village” is open during the months of April through November from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm Monday through Saturday and Noon until 5:00 pm on Sundays.

Harrison County Historical Village

2931 Monroe Avenue

Missouri Valley, IA 51555

712-642-2114

Wise Cup Farm Museum

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Wise Cup Farm Museum – image by tripadvisor.com

The “Wise Cup Farm Museum” contains a small but intriguing display of agricultural remnants ranging from Minneapolis Moline tractors, antique sleighs, wood wagons and hand tools that help visitors gain a real appreciation for early farming techniques.

As of now the “Wise Cup Farm Museum” is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day from 1:00 pm until 5:00 pm on Tuesdays, 9:00 am until 5:00 pm on Saturdays and 1:00 pm until 5:00 pm on Sundays.

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Welcome to Wise Cup Farm Museum – image by missourivalleychamber.org

Wise Cup Farm Museum

1200 Canal Street

Missouri Valley, IA 51555

712-642-3925

Additional Information

Those travelers that would like more information on Missouri Valley attractions should log onto the city’s chamber of commerce website.

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