by Jessica Waytenick •


Contact – Jessica Waytenick, 800-747-7800 ext. 827 or

Quad Cities – Joined by the Mississippi River, the Quad Cities wraps two states and their beautiful riverfront cities into one fun, family-friendly destination.  Moline/East Moline and Rock Island are the riverfront cities in Illinois, and Bettendorf and Davenport make up the cities on the Iowa side of the river.  Together, these cities and the surrounding communities make up the Quad Cities.

The Quad Cities is also known for its abundance of special events, festivals, attractions, museums, biking/hiking trails, riverboats, shopping, performances, professional sports teams, restaurants, and, of course, the Mississippi River.

Start at the Putnam Museum, 1717 W. 12th Street in Davenport, Iowa, to explore the Quad Cities’ history, from the early Native American settlements to the 21st century in the River, Prairie, and People permanent exhibit.  See the native wildlife and a 718-gallon fish tank in the Black Earth/Big River exhibit.  Enjoy the Asian/Egyptian Gallery that features the Putnam’s resident mummy, Isis Neferit, and a remarkable collection of artifacts from ancient cultures.  Find out how this mummy found its way to Iowa.  Watch a movie on their giant screen in digital 2D or 3D!

At the Putnam Museum, visitors will learn that John Deere came to Moline, Illinois, to start his plow-manufacturing company in 1848.  Deere & Company today still has their world headquarters in Moline.  Visit the free John Deere Pavilion, 1401 River Drive in downtown Moline and see one of the most comprehensible agricultural exhibits in the world.  The John Deere Pavilion celebrates the American heartland from the first horse-drawn plow to the latest modern-day combines and tractors that people can climb on and sit in the cab.  The whole family can enjoy interactive, hands-on computer displays that include virtual tours of the company’s combine factory.

For complete, hands-on fun, stop by the Family Museum, 2900 Learning Campus Drive in Bettendorf, Iowa.  For active kids of all ages, the outdoor Kingdom for Kids Playground, has things to climb, slide down, swing across, go up and down and slither around.  Operate a crane, explore the bridges of the Quad Cities, and interact with a 28 foot waterplay table that resembles an actual stretch of the Mississippi River!  Pretend and play house in the bilingual exhibit.  Five themed exhibit galleries provide learning adventures geared to appeal to a wide variety of interests and ages.

The Figge Art Museum, 225 W. 2nd Street in downtown Davenport, Iowa, features permanent and traveling exhibits, kid’s activity center, and great views of the Mississippi River.  The museum established one of the first collections of Haitian art in the U.S. and it is considered one of the most significant collections of its kind in the world.  The Mexican Colonial collection is one of the largest and most important outside of Mexico City.

The newly-remodeled German American Heritage Center (GAHC), 712 W. 2nd Street in downtown Davenport, Iowa, takes visitors through several interactive and intergenerational experiences from immigrants’ journey by sea, train and foot, to their final destination at GAHC, which was originally a very busy hotel for thousands of immigrants in the 1860s.  The second half of the exhibit shows contributions to the region by immigrants, and highlights daily life, from recreation, family life, religion and organizations.  Along with the new permanent exhibit, the GAHC also now has two special/traveling exhibit spaces. These spaces will change throughout the year showcasing different exhibits.

Take it outside and visit Niabi Zoo, 13010 Niabi Zoo Road in Coal Valley, Illinois.  This zoo is the third-largest in Illinois and it is home to more than 900 animals representing 160 different species.  Giraffes, large cats, monkeys, birds, and reptiles are some of the animals that visitors can enjoy, along with a petting zoo and Koi pond that offer an interactive experience.  Children of all ages will want to ride the Mel McKay Express replica train and Endangered Species Carousel.  Niabi Zoo is open from April through early December.

After the animals, visit the Quad City Botanical Center, 2525 4th Avenue in Rock Island, Illinois.  Impressive with its 70-feet tall skylight peak, the Sun Garden offers a breathtaking tropical paradise with plants native to nearly 100 different tropical destinations, and a koi pond where there are fish to feed.  The Sun Garden conservatory connects to the large outside gardens, which offer gorgeous seasonal landscapes.  Children find enchantment in the Scrambled Alphabet Garden, brimming with plants and flowers from A to Z, a playhouse, sand box, and other interactive garden explorations the whole family can enjoy.

Adventure Quest and Michael’s Fun World are places to play.  Adventure Quest, 3501 207th Street N. in Rapids City, Illinois, has outdoor fun with panning for gems, lazer tag, paintball, zip lines, hayrack tours, and more.  Michael’s Fun World, 345 W. 76th Street in Davenport, Iowa, is open all year with batting cages, jungle gym, rock climbing, air hockey, arena lazer tag, trampoline basketball, and during warmer weather enjoy the excitement of the outdoor go-kart track. or

Learn about the Native Americans that once lived in this area at the Hauberg Indian Museum located in the Black Hawk State Historic Site in Rock Island, Illinois.  Look at artifacts from the Sauk and Fox tribes who once lived on this land.  Many artifacts come directly from Black Hawk’s family and tribes connected with this famous warrior.  There are displays to show the Woodland Native Americans throughout the four seasons.  Also take a walk through the woods on the four miles of hiking trails.

Arsenal Island, an island here in the Mississippi River, has long been owned by the U.S. Government and it is still a working military facility.  On the island, tour Colonel Davenport's home—the oldest house in the area.  Stop at the Mississippi River Visitor Center to learn about the river while you watch barges lock through Lock & Dam 15 and see the world’s largest Roller Dam hold back the mighty waters of the Mississippi.  (They also give specific tours of the lock and dam.)  The Arsenal Museum features the whole history of the island in exhibits and photos, a model of the first fort built on the island, Fort Armstrong, and a premier collection of small firearms.

After learning about the river, ride the Channel Cat Water Taxi for a trip on the water.  The Channel Cat is a 47-passenger boat that takes visitors to the four landings around the Quad Cities in a continuous loop throughout the day.  Tickets are for all-day unlimited use on the day of purchase.  The taxi operates Memorial Day through Labor Day, with weekend service during September weather permitting.

Along with these attractions, the Quad Cities area has over 100 parks to play at, mini-golf courses to try, water parks to splash at, and miles of bike trails to ride on.  Take in a performing arts event or watch a baseball or hockey game.  Throughout the area, families can find plenty to do. 

For information on the Quad Cities area, call the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau at

800-747-7800 or visit their website at and look at the Kid’s Stuff section.

When You Go

Putnam Museum


1717 W. 12th St., Davenport, IA






John Deere Pavilion


1400 River Drive, Moline, IL






Family Museum


2900 Learning Campus Dr., Bettendorf, IA






Figge Art Museum


225 W. 2nd St., Davenport, IA






German American Heritage Center


712 W. 2nd St., Davenport, IA






Niabi Zoo


13010 Niabi Zoo Rd., Coal Valley, IL






Quad City Botanical Center


2525 4th Ave., Rock Island, IL






Adventure Quest


3501 207th Street N., Rapids City, IL






Michael’s Fun World


345 W. 76th St., Davenport, IA






Hauberg Indian Museum


1510 46th Avenue, Rock Island, IL






Colonel Davenport House


North Shore of Arsenal Island






Mississippi River Visitor Center


Arsenal Island






Rock Island Arsenal Museum


Building 60 Arsenal Island




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