7 Family Adventures in the Quad Cities

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7 Family Adventures in the Quad Cities

Four cities, two states, unlimited adventures! The Quad Cities sits on the border of Iowa and Illinois and is filled with many attractions, restaurants, and entertainment for all ages. A few years ago we spent a few days exploring the Quad Cities and because we did not get a chance to do it all, we made another trip back! More exploring, more eating, and having fun in eastern Iowa.

Hotel Blackhawk

200 E 3rd Street, Davenport, Iowa

If you are planning to explore everything the Quad Cities has to offer I recommend staying in downtown Davenport. Just a few blocks from the bridge that will take you across the Mighty Mississippi into the Illinois side of Quad Cities, is Hotel Blackhawk. This beautiful building originally opened in 1915 and welcomed presidents, entertainers, and more. When you walk into Hotel Blackhawk you will be in awe of the beauty and history all over the walls.

One of my favorite things about our hotel room was that it was two rooms. There was a sitting room with a couch, desk, and television. The second room was the bedroom with two beds, a bathroom, and a television. This made it super easy to put the kids to bed early and still stay home to watch TV or get some work done.

Hotel Blackhawk offers a ton of amenities and a couple of restaurants within the hotel. Our favorite amenity was the pool. It was the perfect size and place to cool off after a hot day playing in the Quad Cities.

High 5 Lanes & Games

4850 Competition Drive, Bettendorf, Iowa

If your family loves fun and games then this is a must-stop destination while visiting the Quad Cities. High 5 Lanes & Games is a state-of-the-art sport and entertainment complex. They offer bowling, arcade games (including virtual reality!), laser tag, and escape rooms. High 5 Lanes & Games also offers a restaurant with great food and local brews. Stop for lunch and spend the afternoon playing indoors!

Quad City Botanical Center

The Quad City Botanical Center maybe my favorite botanical center to date! I absolutely loved all the children-focused activities, including the beautiful children’s garden. The outdoor Children’s Garden is an interpretation of the Mississippi River just minutes away and encourages children to get wet, play, and use their imaginations. The botanical center also offers a 70-foot tall skylight peak which invites sunlight in. A very warm and peaceful place to grab a book and read.

Black Hawk State Historic Site

1510 46th Ave., Rock Island, Illinois

Pack a picnic or your favorite Hungry Hobo meal (a Quad City staple) and head to the Black Hawk State Historic Site in Rock Island. This area provides six miles of marked hiking trails in the dedicated nature preserve. Prehistoric Indians and nineteenth-century settlers made their homes here, but the area is most closely identified with the Sauk nation and the warrior-leader whose name it bears – Black Hawk. This area is filled with large trees, lots of climbing opportunities, a prairie, and more.

Also located there is the John Hauberg Indian Museum. The free museum features seasonal dioramas with life-size figures depicting activities of the Sauk and Meskwaki people and many artifacts. The kids loved walking through looking at how the Indians lived throughout the different seasons of the year.

Putnam Museum

1717 W 12th St, Davenport, Iowa 

The Putnam Museum is a must when visiting the Quad Cities. This museum was one of the very first museums built west of the Mississippi River. Take a look at hands-on exhibits and artifacts reflecting the Mississippi River and prairie in the area. In addition, there are several other exhibits all over, for all ages! The kids loved the ‘Unearthing Ancient Egypt’ and the Science Galleries. The Science galleries invited kids to create music, videos, and more. You can easily spend hours and hours learning and playing at the Putnam Museum!

Backwater Gamblers Water Ski Show

5000 44th St., Rock Island, Illinois

If you are making your Quad Cities adventure during the Summer, make sure you check out the Backwater Gamblers Water Ski Show. This is such a fun, entertaining show for everyone. This group of volunteers is extremely talented. Twice a week they come together to put on a show full of water ski stunts. It truly is incredible how talented they are and it is a FREE show!

Davenport Riverfront

Downtown Davenport, Iowa

The Davenport Riverfront is a new and upcoming development happening on the Iowa side of the Quad Cities. Along the Mississippi, you will find bike paths, several parks, restaurants (including ice cream such as Chill Ice Cream & Eats), green space to play, and much more.

Niabi Zoo

12908 Niabi Zoo Rd, Coal Valley, Illinois

Our animal-loving family loves to explore and visit zoos. The Niabi Zoo is one we have been to before and one of our favorites. This smaller zoo is perfect for families with littles and offers a wonderful giraffe experience. They also have wolves which is Monte’s favorite animal. Make sure you take a ride on their fun train that goes through the zoo!


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