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Mississippi River Adventures

  • Cruise from the Quad Cities to Dubuque, Iowa, and back aboard the non-gaming Twilight Riverboat or Celebration Belle. The Celebration Belle also offers lunch, dinner, and narrated sightseeing cruises in the immediate area. Step aboard the Channel Cat Water Taxi to get across the river.
  • Riverboat Casinos - The Quad Cities was the first in the nation to offer riverboat gaming and is the only area to have three - Jumer's Casino & Hotel, Rhythm City Casino, and the Isle Casino Hotel Bettendorf.
  • To learn more about the river and this region, take a trip to the Putnam Museum in Davenport, Iowa, where you will discover the Black Earth/Big River and River Prairie and People exhibits.
  • Stop in any of the riverfront cities in the Quad Cities, enjoy their different amenities, and discover the beauty and power of the mighty Mississippi River.
  • Princeton Outdoor Adventures now rents canoes, kayaks, paddleboats, and bicycles from Credit Island in Davenport, Iowa. Renters can choose to paddle around in the enclosed lagoon, head out to the protected "harbor" area on the backside of the island, or be more adventurous and push out into the main Mississippi River channel.
  • River Action, Inc. has developed a new Quad Cities Water Trails Map that shows a detailed map of the 45 miles of waterways in the Quad Cities area. It also has suggested trips for different skill levels.

Mississippi River - "River of Song"

  • Leon "Bix" Beiderbecke followed the jazz movement as it moved from the riverboats to Chicago to New York. He played with the jazz greats of the era, including Hoagy Carmichael and "Doc" Cheatham. See his boyhood home, gravesite, and other places where he performed. Bix is in the International Jazz Hall of Fame. Annual festival in August on the banks of the Mississippi River honors his legacy.

Arts & Culture

  • LeClaire's own Mike Wolfe - owner of Antique Archeology - and his buddy Frank Fritz are the hosts of the popular American Pickers show on the History Channel. American Pickers follows these antiquers as they scour the country for hidden gems in junkyards, basements, garages and barns, and the people they meet along the way.
  • Quad Cities area is home to an array of arts, cultural, and heritage assets and attractions-museums, performing arts centers and community theaters, public and private galleries, renowned festivals, highly recognized symphony, professional touring ballet company, cultural advocacy groups, artists guilds, history and heritage sites.
  • According to a study done in 2004, as a region the Quad Cities ranks above the national average on things to do after 5 p.m.
  • The Downtown Rock Island Arts & Entertainment District has spent 10 years revitalizing the downtown with festivals, renovated housing and lofts in current historic buildings, business ventures, etc.
  • The new Figge Art Museum opened in August 2005 with a new building in downtown Davenport that is triple in size from its previous location. This $46.9 million building has renowned permanent collections of Mexican Colonial and Haitian art, and traveling exhibitions.
  • Bucktown Center for the Arts in downtown Davenport helps anchor the Arts Corridor, along with the Figge Art Museum on the opposite end. Bucktown has two floors of art galleries and studios. The public can buy direct from the artist in a wide variety of forms including: jewelry, clothing, paintings, sculpture, glass, drawings, photography, crafts, and more.
  • The new East West Riverfest celebration in September 2012 highlights the area's rich cultural heritage.
  • The German American Heritage Center is renovated their exhibit space, and now the Family Museum and John Deere Pavilion are completely renovating their interiors.

Nature and Outdoors

  • Nahant Marsh in Davenport, Iowa, is one of the last urban wetlands of its size on the upper Mississippi River. Encompassing about 500 acres of wetland, it offers a look at the past when primordial wetlands dotted the river landscape.
  • Chad Pregracke grew up on the banks of the Mississippi River. In 1998, he established the not-for-profit corporation, Living Lands and Waters, Inc. Since then, Chad, his full-time staff, and thousands of community volunteers have cleaned up stretches of the Mississippi, Illinois, Ohio, and Missouri Rivers. He and his crew have removed over 500 tons of trash from the Mississippi alone.
  • The Quad Cities is a great place to ride on the trails that line both sides of the river. The Great River Trail in Illinois goes 62 miles from Rock Island to Savanna. In August 2005, the first link across the Mississippi River for the American Discovery Trail (ADT) opened in the Quad Cities. These trails are also part of the new Mississippi River Trail (MRT).
  • The Quad Cities is known for its fishing and has hosted numerous national tournaments, including the Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour Championship and American Bass Anglers.
  • In the Quad Cities native wildlife includes: ducks, herons, waterthrush, woodpeckers, waterfowl, egrets, migrating warblers, vireos, bald eagles, pelicans, and more. The Quad Cities hosted the Midwest Birding Symposium in 2005 and 2007.
  • Nature thrives in the Midwest and the Quad Cities region is no exception. From the Mississippi River and its tributaries, to their floodplain wetlands and backwaters, to the wooded bluffs and upland plains, more than 16,000 acres of publicly accessible natural areas lie within an hour's drive of the Quad Cities metro area. Browse the new www.qcwildplaces.com in order to find your next outdoor activity spot.

Steamboats, Railroads, and Industry

  • The railroad changed America and this was the site of the first railroad bridge across the Mississippi River in 1856. Not only did this bridge connect Rock Island, Illinois, to Davenport, Iowa, even more importantly, it effectively joined the country-east with west. In the past 20 years, hundreds of millions of dollars in capital economic and environmental improvements in the Quad Cities area have reclaimed and improved the riverfronts.
  • A historical perspective on the industries that were built around the Mississippi River and led to the development of the Quad Cities, including John Deere, Weyerhauser, and others.
  • Millions of visitors flock to the Quad Cities to learn about the man John Deere and the company that is recognized around the world - Deere & Company. A variety of attractions highlight this man and the company. Reserve a tour of the Deere Mansions; visit the John Deere Pavilion, the largest agricultural exhibit in the world, and stop in at the John Deere Collectors Center and John Deere Store.
  • The Loop riverfront circulator bus hugs the Mississippi River and offers easy access to popular downtown attractions in Bettendorf, the Village of East Davenport, Davenport, The District in Rock Island, and Moline.
  • IA Segway is Iowa's first and only guided Segway tours. In 2012, they are expanding to the Mississippi riverfront Iowa cities of LeClaire and Dubuque. IA Segway started their first guided Segway tours in Davenport, Iowa, in 2010.

Arsenal Island

  • Arsenal Museum features the whole history of the island from the Civil War through now in exhibits and photos; a model of the first fort built on the island, Fort Armstrong; and the world's largest collection of small firearms. The museum celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2005.
  • The Colonel Davenport House was built by George Davenport in the 1830s. It was the first permanent house in the area and it was a center for local commerce and trade for the region.
  • The Village of East Davenport was once the site of a Civil War military camp. Now it is a unique six-square block area with shops, galleries, pubs, and restaurants.
  • Stop in at the Mississippi River Visitors Center and learn about the river while watching barges lock through Lock & Dam 15 and see the world's largest roller dam hold back the mighty waters of the Mississippi.

Buffalo Bill Cody

  • Buffalo Bill was born in LeClaire, Iowa, just 10 minutes from the metro Quad Cities.
  • Tour his homestead built by his father and the Buffalo Bill Cody Museum.
  • Nearby is the Walnut Grove Pioneer Village, a pioneer settlement built in the 1880s.
  • LeClaire is unique, historic riverfront town built on the bluffs, now restored with shopping, restaurants, and antiques. Stop in at the new Mississippi River Distilling Company-using only local ingredients.

The Great Sauk Nation & Black Hawk

  • A historical perspective on the Sauk and Fox Native American tribes in the Quad Cities region.
  • The formation of Saukenuk - one of the largest Native American settlements in North America and the history of the great warrior Black Hawk and the John Hauberg Indian Museum in Rock Island.

Immigration

  • The Quad Cities has a interesting immigration history that can be discovered at the German American Heritage Center, Swedish Research Library at Augustana College in Rock Island, Bishop Hill, Belgium Cultural Center, Hispanic neighborhoods, and through the many historical neighborhoods that offer self-guided walking and driving tours. Industries in this area developed quickly due to the mass movement into the Quad Cities.
  • The German American Heritage Center in downtown Davenport is a former hotel that was once the hub of German life in Davenport and most likely was a place of refuge for many immigrants. The Quad Cities was a gateway to the west for those who settled in Nebraska, Dakotas and Iowa. The Center currently includes preserved documents and artifacts related to the role of German immigrants during the development of Iowa.
  • Several events and festivals throughout the year help tell the story of the area's rich history of immigration. March - St. Patrick's Day Parade; June - Quad Cities Greek Cultural Fest; August - Quad Cities Irish Festival; September - Viva Quad Cities; September - Celtic Festival & Highland Games.

Awards for the Quad Cities

  • U.S. Conference of Mayors named Davenport one of America's most livable small cities in 2007. It's an honor Davenport shares with her sister city of Rock Island, Illinois.
  • Money magazine named Bettendorf in its list of the top 100 livable small cities in 2009. Bettendorf was also tapped in 2010 by Family Circle magazine as one of its Ten Best Towns for Families.
  • Davenport was named as one of the most playful cities in the country for the second year in a row by Kaboom.
  • Rock Island's new Schwiebert Riverfront Park has received numerous awards.
  • Bettendorf received an award in 2011 for service excellence from the International City/County Management Association.
  • Moline Centre Main Street received two awards in 2011 at the Illinois Main Street Conference for its 5th Ave. Reconstruction and new holiday promotion.
  • Davenport is the first city in the U.S. with nationally accredited police, fire, public works, parks department, and state accredited libraries.
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