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by Jessica Waytenick • February 21, 2017

Quad Cities – From John Deere Combines and historic homes, to studio production and specific topic tours, the Quad Cities offer an array of guided tours that provide visitors with the opportunity to learn more about the region’s history, explore manufacturing, and to get an insider’s view of some of the area’s unique attractions.

Tours offer a personalized, informational, and fun way to gain insight into an area’s history, and provide opportunities to learn about little known facts.  The Quad Cities offers a variety of tour opportunities that will enhance your visit and will open new doors to discovery and fun. 

Manufacturing & Production Tours

For more than 50 years the sculptures of Isabel Bloom have found its place in homes and gardens throughout the United States.  Isabel studied under Grant Wood and her artistic subjects range from playful children to friendly creatures of the air, land, and sea.  Cast in concrete and hand-finished to resemble weathered bronze garden sculptures of the Victorian era, the work of Isabel Bloom has made her a Quad Cities’ icon.

Today, the creation of Isabel Bloom sculpture rests in the talented hands of designer Donna Young, Isabel's protégé and artistic collaborator since 1986.  She has preserved the unique style that has survived Isabel’s passing in May 2001.

The Isabel Bloom Studio Production Tour is a free, one-hour guided tour with behind-the-scenes access to every step in the making of each Isabel Bloom sculpture. 

Website: www.ibloom.com

Phone:  Call to schedule tour at 563-336-3766 or 800-273-5436

Address:  Production Studio, 736 Federal St. Davenport, Iowa

Hours: Tours Mon.-Thurs. 8:30 am – 4:00 pm by appointment

Admission: Free

See a John Deere Combine manufactured right before your eyes when you take a 1 ½ hour tour of Deere & Company’s largest combine factory and visitor center at John Deere Harvester Works in East Moline, Illinois.  Watch employees assemble these customized, amazing combines from beginning to end.  See them dipped in enormous vats of the iconic green paint, detailed, and rolled onto the production floor to await the turn of the key.  If you are lucky, you might just be there when the owner arrives to start up the engine. 

All guests must wear closed-toe-shoes, and the minimum age requirement is 13 years.  Tours are guided aboard golf cart-style vehicles.  Tours are subject to availability and factory production schedules.

Website: www.johndeereattractions.com

Phone: Call to reserve a spot on a tour at 800-765-9588

Address: 1100 13th Ave., East Moline, Ill.

Hours: Tours Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Admission: Free

Available only for groups of 20 or more, the Boetje’s Mustard tour is a short, but very interesting production tour.  The simplicity of this production tour, along with the small staff that keeps things going, will amaze you.  Especially when you consider that this mustard is made, bottled, and delivered across the United States from this small manufacturing facility.  Did you know that Boetje’s Mustard has been created for over 100 years in Rock Island, and that it won the 2016 World Wide Mustard Festival – beating out Grey Poupon?

Website:  www.boetjesmustard.com

Phone: Call to arrange a tour at 309-788-4352

Address: 2736 12th St., Rock Island, Ill.

Admission: Free

For a different take on production tours, how about a winery or distillery tour?  Wine lovers will enjoy Lavender Crest Winery.  Just a short drive from the Quad Cities, Lavender Crest was one of the first wineries to open in the Quad Cities region and features wine production, a wine tasting room, winery tours, gift shop, banquet center, an espresso bar, and lunches.  If you are interested in knowing how wine is made, reservations for tours are required. 

Website: www.lavendercrest.com

Phone: 309-912-4002

Address: 401 US Highway 6, Colona, Ill.

Creekside Vineyards Winery & Inn offers vineyard tours May through October.  This is the newest winery to open in the Quad Cities and includes a Bed & Breakfast.  Enjoy the fresh air and sunshine during this outdoor vineyard tour, available May through October.  Vineyard tours are available by appointment. 

Website: www.creeksidevineyards.com

Phone:  For reservations at the B&B, call 309-787-6919.

For vineyard tours and information, call 309-787-9463

Address: 7505 120th Avenue, Coal Valley, Ill.

Tour the Mississippi River Distillery in LeClaire, Iowa.  The distillery gives you the exciting opportunity to see vodka, gin, and bourbon whiskey made from local grains.  You will also learn about the craftsmanship that goes into each bottle.  Watch how the grain is ground, cooked, fermented and then distilled, blended, and bottled.  From grain to the glass you’ll enjoy this tour which ends in the tasting room! 

Website: www.mrdistilling.com

Phone: 563-484-4342

Address: 303 North Cody Rd., LeClaire, IA

Hours: Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun. 12-4:30 p.m. Tours on the hour every day from 12-4 p.m.

Artisan Grain Distillery in downtown Davenport, Iowa, is a brand-new distiller of organic, Midwest-grown grains for bourbon, gin, vodka, and whiskey.  Their moonshine is handcrafted in small batches from Midwest, grown grains using a traditional “sour mash” technique.

Website: www.artisangraindistillery.com

Phone: 563-323-1600

Address: 318 E. 2nd St., Davenport, IA

Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sat. 8 a.m. to 12 noon. Tours available Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Historic Home Tours

Your next tour begins right at the front door!  Welcome to Butterworth Center & Deere-Wiman House, the beautiful mansions that once belonged to John Deere family descendants.  Located in the historic Overlook District of Moline, Illinois, both homes offer a look into the family-life of the Deere family and the beautiful mansions they called home. 

In 1872, John Deere's son, Charles, built the Deere-Wiman House for his wife, Mary Little Dickinson Deere, and their daughters, Anna and Katherine.  The family named their Swiss Villa-style residence Overlook because of its desirable hilltop location above the growing city of Moline, Illinois, and the family business, the John Deere Plow Works.  In 1892, Charles Deere, built Butterworth Center a block from his own home as a wedding gift for his youngest daughter Katherine and her husband William Butterworth.

Both homes feature beautiful gardens that are open for viewing during daylight hours. Tours of the homes are available by appointment and on Sundays in July and August at 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm, and 4 pm.

Website: www.butterworthcenter.com

Phone: For home tours, contact 309-743-2701

Address: 817 11th Ave. & 1105 8th St., Moline, Ill.

Hours: See website

Admission: Donations appreciated

The historic Hauberg Center in Rock Island is now open for regular guided tours.  This unique historic home was built in 1909 in the popular Prairie School style.  The gardens were designed by famous landscape architect Jens Jensen and are open all year.  The home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was designed by Chicago architect, Robert C. Spencer, a contemporary of Frank Lloyd Wright.  Learn more about the history of the home, the architecture, and the Weyerhauser family that lived there on a 45-minute guided tour. 

Website: www.haubergcenter.org  

Phone: 563-265-2753

Address: 1300 24th Street, Rock Island, Ill.

Hours: Tuesday & Thursday 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the start of the hour. 

Admission: Admission is $10 per person, 12 and under are free. 

Another interesting home to visit is the Colonel Davenport House.  Located on the Rock Island Arsenal, this was the home of Colonel George Davenport, one of Davenport, Iowa’s founding fathers.  Built in 1833, guided tours of this furnished home will reveal interesting facts about Quad Cities’ history, the famous people that visited the home, and the tragic ending for Colonel Davenport who was murdered by river bandits.

Website: www.davenporthouse.org

Phone: 309-786-7336

Hours: (Open May – Oct.) Wed. - Sat. 12-4 p.m.

Admission: Adults $6, Seniors $4, 12 yrs. and younger free                                                                                            

You will be amazed by the sights to be seen inside the B.J. and Mabel Palmer mansion in Davenport, Iowa.  This unique property once belonged to the founder of Chiropractics, B.J. Palmer, who traveled around the world.  Situated on the campus of Palmer Chiropractic College, this is a tour you won’t soon forget.  From amazing chess sets, Asian art and artifacts, to a one-of-a-kind organ (still in working order), and rooms that will leave you asking even more questions, this tour is something you will tell your friends and family about for years to come.   

Website: http://www.palmer.edu/about-us/history/

Phone:  563-884-5714

Address: 808 Brady St., Davenport, Iowa

Hours: Tours by appointment only

Admission: $5 per person

History, River Ecology, Bald Eagle Watching

Don’t miss a fun and educational tour of Lock & Dam 15 on the Rock Island Arsenal Island?  This guided walking tour takes you right out on the Lock & Dam, and up close to one of the largest Roller Dams in the world.  You will learn about the lock and dam, the purpose of the Roller Dam, and the history behind the Government Bridge – only one of two bridges in the world whose span turns 360 degrees to allow barges through the lock and dam system.

Tours are held each from Memorial Day through Labor Day and are led by representatives from the Army Corp of Engineers.  Reservations are required by calling 309-794-5338 and admission is free.  Find out more at www.missriver.org

From late December through early February, the Quad Cities welcomes an annual visitor to the banks of the mighty river, the Bald Eagle.  While you can see these magnificent eagles soaring through the sky, catching fish, and resting in trees along the riverfront, you can see more and learn more through a Bald Eagle Tour. 

Local naturalist Bob Motz has been hosting bald eagle safaris in the Quad Cities for more than 20 years.  Each tour is 2 to 3 hours in length and run a flat rate of $20.00 per hour whether one, two, three, or four people are on the safari.  You can reserve the tour for family and friends with a maximum group of four people.  Tours take place in the warmth and comfort of a van.  Larger groups in buses can be accommodated for $40.00 per hour.  

During the Eagle Safaris, high-powered spotting scopes, connected to the car window, provide excellent viewing. The spotting scopes are powerful enough to see the gold of the eagle’s eye, the nostrils in its beak, and the black talons extending from its toes.  Eagle sightings are guaranteed or your money back.  To make a reservation for an Eagle Safari, contact Bob Motz at (309) 269-3922 or e-mail him at eaglemotz@aol.com.

To learn more about the river and the region’s ecosystems, try River Action’s Channel Cat & Riverine Walks.  Available only during the summer months, these guided tours offer a variety of educational and environmental tours aboard the Channel Cat Water Taxi and at various parks and locations around the Quad Cities.  For more information, contact River Action at 563-322-2969.  The new tour schedule will be available in the spring at www.riveraction.org

Discover these and many more historic marvels on the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities.  Contact the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-747-7800 or visit their website at www.visitquadcities.com.

The Quad Cities is located on the Mississippi River and is made up of the riverfront cities of Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and Moline, East Moline and Rock Island in Illinois.  The area is just a 2-½ hour drive from Des Moines, Iowa, and Chicago, Illinois. It is easily accessible via I-80, I-74, I-88 and several major state highways.

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Media Contact – Jessica Waytenick, Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau, 309-736-6827 or jwaytenick@visitquadcities.com

Photos & Media Trips: For High-res photos or for information about media tours, please contact Jessica Waytenick at the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800-747-7800 Ext. 827 or jwaytenick@visitquadcities.com

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