Interpretive Center

By: News Release
Oct 12th, 2017

The Mississippi River Parkway Commission is excited to announce the addition of a new interpretive center to serve visitors along the Great River Road National Scenic Byway.

The commission, which met last month, voted to allow the Driftless Area Education & Visitor Center, operated by the Allamakee County Conservation Board, to become a designated Great River Road interpretive center. There are currently more than 75 interpretive centers along the Mighty Mississippi, made up of museums and historic sites that showcase and preserve the stories of the Great River Road.

The Driftless Area Education & Visitor Center, located in Lansing, Iowa estimates it will host 8,000-10,000 visitors a year. Museum goers can experience interpretive and dimensional displays which explain the geology, limnologyand archeology of the area, along with information on local wildlife, Native American history and river town economies and industries.

The Driftless Area Education & Visitors Center joins the ranks of other nearby interpretive centers in Iowa such as the Effigy Mounts National Monument in Harpers Ferry, the Motor Mill Historic Site in Elkader, the Iowa DNR Fish Hatchery in Guttenberg and a dozen more historical and educational stops created to share the storied history of the Great River Road.

The Great River Road was formed in 1938. Choosing to conserve precious resources, among them land, time and dollars, the governors of the 10 river states decided rather than building a new continuous road, the existing network of rural roads and then-fledgling highways that meandered and crisscrossed the river would become the Great River Road. The green Pilot’s Wheel road sign that marked the route of the new byway more than seven decades ago still heralds the road today.

As one of the oldest, longest and most unique scenic byways in North America, the Great River Road offers respite to millions of travelers seeking a getaway – from a leisurely day’s drive to an extended vacation. Nearly 3,000 miles long and running through 10 states along the Mississippi River, the Great River Road has offered a gateway to the river valley’s great history, the blending of cultures and a host of recreational options to all who journey it for three-quarters of a century and counting.

Plan a day’s drive or a month-long excursion along the Great River Road National Scenic Byway with the help of Here you’ll find information on all the states’ interpretive centers, upcoming events and must-see attractions, along with suggested itineraries and maps to help plan a trip that’s just right for you. There’s even a free, turn-by-turn navigational app available for download on iPhone and Android. Find the Great River Road on Facebook and Pinterest too!