gristMuscatine County, along the Mississippi River in Iowa, has two family-friendly and free attractions where kids can learn about history, biology and geology on a family vacation.

1. The Pine Creek Grist Mill was built in 1848 by Muscatine County’s first official settler.  It is nestled along Pine Creek in a picturesque area that is one of the most photographed sites in all of Muscatine County.  The Mill is open for free tours May through October.  It features hands-on milling activities for the kids, trails with unique rock formations like Steam Boat Rock and The Devil’s Punch Bowl, a picnic area and campground. The Mill also hosts two events each year — Heritage Day and the Ghosts of Pine Creek Hallow.

2. The Environmental Learning Center at Discovery Park is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and weekends from noon until 4 p.m. The Learning Center features two large fish aquariums, a display of Upper Mississippi River Valley native species, and other interactive displays.  In addition, Discovery Park features Muscatine’s Arboretum, picnic facilities, two stocked ponds, hard surfaced hiking and biking trails, and a handicapped accessible fishing dock.