Fun for the Whole Family in Quad Cities, Illinois
By Heike Bachmann
If you’re looking for a great destination that appeals to the whole family, then look no further than the Quad Cities on the mighty Mississippi River. This region offers vibrant riverfronts, fun outdoor activities, lively festivals and year-round entertainment. I discovered all that and more wrapped up in the most heartfelt Midwestern hospitality!
The Quad Cities consists of the riverfront towns of Moline, East Moline and Rock Island on the Illinois side of the river and Davenport and Bettendorf across the river in Iowa.
Cruise the Mississippi on the Celebration Belle
The Mississippi River, which is steeped in history, beckons to travelers to explore her, so my first adventure was a cruise on the stunning Celebration Belle in Moline. This is also a great way to experience the interesting geography of Quad Cities with its two states and five cities.
You can choose from a lunch, dinner or fall foliage cruise on the Celebration Belle or go all out and choose the popular 100 Mile Day-Long Cruise, which spoils you with three homemade meals and live entertainment. Just make sure you visit between March and December, when this beautiful Mississippi steamer has its cruising season.
Inspired by John Deere
The history of America is a story of great leaders and visionaries. One of them made Quad Cities into what it is today – that man is John Deere. More than 170 years ago, Deere moved a fledgling agricultural business to Moline so it could benefit from the Mississippi’s waterpower and transportation possibilities. Today, Deere & Company is the largest agricultural manufacturer in the world.
I wanted to learn more about this man, so I headed to the John Deere Pavilion, a state-of-the-art museum in Moline and the world’s most comprehensive agricultural exhibition. You’ll be amazed at how much fun you can have here, climbing onto a giant bulldozer or trying your hand at an excavator simulator and experiencing what it feels like to be in control of a machine this huge. I also enjoyed learning about the history of agriculture through the highly entertaining interactive displays, exhibitions and films.
Ice Cream and (Much More)
“The Best Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor in the World” – that’s the title often bestowed on Lagomarcino’s in downtown Moline. Now in its fourth generation, this century-old family business produces some of the finest pralines, chocolates and ice cream in the area. If that wasn’t enough, the décor will make you feel like you’ve traveled back in time, with a beautiful metal ceiling dating back to 1894 and custom-built mahogany booths, each lit by an original Tiffany lamp. I sat by the authentic Bastian-Blessing soda fountain and watched while my hot fudge sundae was being prepared.
There’s so much more to see in Quad Cities, including the lovely wineries, fantastic restaurants, microbreweries, museums, galleries, shopping, hiking and biking trails and more. No wonder they call them the Marvels on the Mississippi River. You simply have to come and see for yourself: Quad Cities and its warm Midwestern hospitality await you!