DUBUQUE, Iowa - The recently fallen snow greets visitors outside the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. But inside it appears summer is already here. Kind of.
Marketing Director, John Sutter said, "Normally our features exhibit doesn't open until Memorial Day Weekend or even early June. This year we've decided to open it in March. "
The idea behind the new turtle exhibit's early opening is to get people looking to get away, to look towards Dubuque.
Sutter said, "If we get them here in March, then they come back again in the summer. Then we are in fact doubling out attendance. "
Sutter says attendance has been steady in the past year. He's looking for a spike in those numbers. In order to get out-of towners to become repeat visitors, Sutter says some things had to change.
"We'll have live animal programs in conjunction with the new exhibit," said Sutter, "That's something we usually reserve for the summer but we are pushing that up and doing that up earlier."
Meanwhile Thursday's visitors are here simply pretending the winter is finally over.
Alauna Boettner said, "you get to see animals and different things that you otherwise don't see when you're stuck inside and things are frozen outside. "
There are those hopeful signs that spring is right around the corner. But directors hope Dubuque is the place for those who just can't wait.