Below are various special events presented by the National Great Rivers Museum and other local organizations that we feel encourage a love for the Mississippi River and the lands that surround it. All event dates and times are subject to change. Like and follow our Facebook Page(@greatrivers) to learn more details related to our 2023 special events or call the museum at (618) 462-6979.
Winter on the River Photography Contest
Registration Open: November 1 – December 18, 2023
Exhibit runs January 6 – March 9, 2024
Meeting of the Rivers Foundation will be hosting their 3rd annual winter photo contest at the National Great Rivers Museum, with entries accepted from November 1 – December 18, 2023 and the exhibit running from January 6 – March 9, 2024. Photo entries must have both the Mississippi River and winter as their theme and will be displayed in the National Great Rivers Museum during the exhibit period. There will be cash prizes awarded to the winners. For more information on this contest, including rules and regulations and where to sign up, click here.
Lock and Dam 24, Clarksville, MO – Quite possibly one of the best locations to witness over one hundred American Bald Eagles is Clarksville, MO in winter. Join the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rivers Project Office, and the community of Clarksville for a day full of eagle related activities. There will be live eagle presentations, spotting scopes, tours of Lock and Dam 24, and food and craft vendors. Bundle up and enjoy watching the eagles soar!
National Great Rivers Museum, East Alton, IL – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rivers Project Office, is hosting the third annual Ice Jam at the Dam – an outdoor, winter-themed festival to promote outdoor recreation and celebrate all things icy along the river. The event will, of course, feature live music from Chris Cahill & Co., tours of the locks and dam, warm food and beverage vendors, campfires, education booths, and more! Click here to learn all the icy details!
National Great Rivers Museum, East Alton, IL – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rivers Project Office, invites you to REC Fest – the largest recreation and safety festival within the Riverbend! Kick off the summer season with your family at the National Great Rivers Museum from 10:00A to 4:00P for this FREE, adventure-themed event (rain-or-shine).
“Our goal with this new, exciting event is to encourage families to explore their outdoor recreational opportunities and learn how to go about them safely.” says Park Ranger and Event Coordinator Travis Smith. “From archery and hiking to weather and first aid there will be plenty for you and your family to test out and learn.” With over 20 partnering organizations planning to provide fun, interactive activities you are sure to be exposed to something new – climb the rock wall with Upper Limits Rock Gym & Pro Shop, throw a spear (atlatl) with the Missouri Atlatl Association, see what it takes to hit a bullseye with the National Park Service, and so much more! Live animal shows presented by Bob Tarter of NHECM: Animalogy starting at 11:00A and again and 1:00P. Visit the Facebook event page for more information.
In addition to all things recreation, 4th grade students can visit the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers station to receive a FREE Every Kid Outdoors Pass – an America the Beautiful pass option granting students and their families FREE admission to all National Parks and public lands! What better way to start the summer? For more information on the pass please visit https://www.nationalparks.org/…/camp…/every-kid-outdoors
Alton Memorial Day Parade
Date: May 29 Time: 10:00 a.m.
Downtown Alton, IL – This annual parade in honor of all those that have served and sacrificed to defend our country is one of the largest around. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rivers Project Office, attends with Bobber the Water Safety Dog and park rangers in promotion of recreating safely on the water.
Date: June 3 Time: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary, West Alton, MO – Paddle with the Mississippi River Water Trail Association (MRWTA) in the calm backwaters of the Mississippi River. Try out your skills and learn how to safely paddle in a kayak or canoe, test your balance on a stand-up paddle board, or take a guided tour at this ACA-sanctioned event. Guests can enjoy complimentary lifejackets, safety boaters, and paddling tips. Pre-registration is required.
Lock and Dam 24, Clarksville, MO – Enjoy a beautiful, scenic drive along Highway 79 and spend the day in Clarksville at the annual Applefest celebration. A variety of fall activities await, including a parade, car and motorcycle show, horse drawn carriage rides, and craft and food vendors. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rivers Project Office, will be in attendance as well, offering free, educational tours of the historic Lock and Dam 24.
Who Works the River
Date: October 18 Time: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
National Great Rivers Museum, East Alton, IL – RiversWorks Discovery brings in representatives of the industry that service and utilize our inland waterways in hopes to encourage today’s youth to consider the vast career opportunities that are associated with the Mississippi River.
Alton Halloween Parade
Date: October 31 Time: 7:00 p.m.
Downtown Alton, IL – Ghouls and goblins will return to Alton in this annual parade. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rivers Project, plans to make a spooky appearance in hopes to scare you into partaking in good water safety practices.
NGRM 20th Anniversary Celebration
Date: November 4 Time: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
National Great Rivers Museum, East Alton, IL – Join National Great Rivers Museum in a Celebration of their 20th anniversary. Enjoy open tours of Melvin Price Locks and Dam, attend a museum commemoration ceremony at 12:00, and attend a public panel discussion on River Recreation and Tourism at 1:30. Throughout the day, enjoy food and beverage trucks, booths from NGRM’s partner organizations, and a special appearance from Bobber the Water Safety Dog!
MDC Eagle Days
Date: February 10 Time: 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary, West Alton, MO – The Missouri Department of Conservation invites you to view eagles through spotting scopes staffed by trained volunteers, as well as attend a live Bald Eagle program presented by the World Bird Sanctuary.
Eagle Ice Festival
Date: January 6 Time: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
FLOCK Food Truck Park, Alton IL; National Great Rivers Museum, East Alton, IL; and the Audubon Center at Riverlands, West Alton, MO – Enjoy a variety of activities in celebration of wintering American Bald Eagles returning to southwest Illinois during Eagle Fest! Get a bite to eat, see a live eagle from the World Bird Sanctuary, take an eagle-watching tour, and enjoy fun winter activities for all ages! Visit Great Rivers and Routes for more details!