Tours and Field Trips

Guided tours of Iowa Hall are available Tuesday through Sunday with a prior reservation. Guided tours focus on the exhibits in Iowa Hall, and groups are encouraged to visit Hageboeck Hall of Birds and Mammal Hall for self-guided tours. All tours are free, as is museum admission. The museum requests that you call to schedule your tour at least a week before the desired date. March, April, and May tour spots fill up very early!  

Tours are scheduled at 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, and 3:30 (with additional tour times on Thursday evenings). Each tour block can fit up to 30 visitors.  Groups that cannot be accommodated in a single block must split into multiple groups.  Our tour coordinator will help you determine the best arrangement for your group.  Many groups combine tours of the Museum of Natural History and Old Capitol Museum.

Please be on time for your tour, and preferably a few minutes early. If you are late, your tour will be shortened to remain on schedule for tours that follow.

To schedule a tour, please contact us at or call our tour coordinator at 319-335-1508.

Chaperone policy

The museum has a chaperone requirement for all tour groups. Adults are responsible for their group’s behavior. If this policy is not followed, groups will be asked to leave. We also ask all chaperones to turn their cell phones to a silent setting during the tours. 

For elementary through high school groups: 1 adult for every 10-12 students
For preschool groups: 1 adult for every 5 children

Group size

Museum of Natural History tours can accommodate no more than 30 people in a tour at one time.  We can split your group into multiple sections, which can visit Iowa Hall, Mammal Hall, and the Hageboeck Hall of Birds on a rotating schedule.  Many groups combine Museum of Natural History tours with visits to the Old Capitol Museum next door.  

Museum manners

Please review museum manners with your class prior to arrival and plan to supervise your class during the visit. The museum shares Macbride Hall with UI professors and students, classrooms, and other university offices. Please remind your class to be considerate as they walk through the building

Gift shop

The museum gift shop is located in Iowa Hall near the east door of the museum. It offers educational and natural history-related items, and all proceeds go toward funding educational programs. If you are not allowing your students to visit the gift shop, please advise museum staff in advance.


If your students are bringing worksheets, each should bring a clipboard or notebook.  Exhibits, exhibit cases, and glass are not to be used as writing surfaces.

If you want docents to cover worksheet questions in the tour, please send us a copy prior to the tour. Otherwise, we ask the students to not work on their assignments while the docent is speaking.


If your class will be bringing sack lunches, you may use the lawn around Macbride Hall (weather permitting) or walk to the Iowa Memorial Union (one block down Jefferson Street).  If weather is bad, the ground floor hallway of Macbride Hall may be used, as long as students do not obstruct those passing through the building.

Parking instructions

For car parking suggestions, see our visitor information page.

Buses may discharge passengers in the bus loading and unloading zone on Jefferson Street, next to Macbride Hall.  Buses may stay in the commercial loading zone on Jefferson Street if the driver remains with the bus.  Do not stay in the bus stop area, which is used by university and city buses.

Unattended buses may be parked in the university's Recreation Center Lot (Lot 11) at the corner of Madison and Court Streets.

Other local tours and field trip destinations