This past weekend it was Homecoming at my alma mater, Augustana College. It was the first time I had been back in over twelve years and the first time I introduced my boys to campus. We had so much fun catching up with friends, running through the quad, and exploring both Iowa and Illinois that it really got me worried that so many people were missing out on all that the Quad Cities have to offer. So here’s some of the many reasons why Chicagoland families should visit the Quad Cities.
The direct, easy drive. Depending on where in Chicagoland you live, the trip to the Quad Cities will take between two to three hours. But the thing is, time really does fly by because the drive is beautiful. Corn fields, ponds, puffy white clouds in clear blue skies…it is a never ending I spy game…that is, if your kids don’t fall asleep during the smooth ride. And it really isn’t a trip to the Quad Cities if you don’t stop at the DeKalb Oasis for a greasy snack (French fries and milkshakes, anyone?!?!).
The Mighty Mississippi. Your kids might not be able to spell Mississippi yet, but they can enjoy everything it has to offer while in the Quad Cities. By either taking a riverside stroll, driving on one of the many bridges that cross the mighty Mississippi, or taking a boat ride on one of this historic riverboats, your kids will undoubtedly by thrilled by this important waterway.
Augustana College. I may be a bit biased, but I think that Augustana has one of the most beautiful college campuses in all of the Midwest. My boys definitely agree after running wild along all of the hills on campus and spending time walking the paths next to the famous slough. Fall is the absolute best time to visit and be wowed by Mother Nature’s beautiful colors.
Family Museum of Arts and Science. This Bettendorf museum is a great place for little ones to engage in active learning and discovery through play. Although it may be a bit smaller than the children’s museums we are used to in Chicagoland, but it a great place for tons of hands on fun. My boys especially love engaging in role play, donning costumes and acting like doctors, teachers, and of course, superheroes.
Minor league sports. Looking for a way to get kids up close and personal to a game? Then head over to the Quad Cities to enjoy some sporting good fun in a more low key way than what Chicagoland offers. The Quad City River Bandits have a beautiful stadium for taking in a baseball game, and it is always a blast to check out a Quad City Mallards hockey game.
The John Deere Pavilion. This free museum is “Touch a Truck” heaven…for boys, girls…even husbands! There are tons of pieces of construction and farming equipment to climb into and explore, as well as informational and interactive exhibits so that you can try out your farming skills. My boys loved the fact that there was a specific kids area with tons of manipulatives to explore and challenge them to think about farming practices and strategies.
The restaurants. Now, I’m not saying that every single restaurant in the Quad Cities deserves five stars, but they do deserve five stars for being family friendly. Extensive kids menus, changing tables in the bathrooms, and an atmosphere that is welcoming to families can be just as important as the food. So be sure to stop by some of our favorites, including Whitey’s for ice cream and Happy Joe’s for taco pizza.