This past holiday season, we did a ton of traveling. We spent a few weeks in California with my family, and then drove to Denver to spend time with Austin’s family. We drove because we were sick of flying, and wanted a car big enough for our immediate and extended family. On our way there, we drove straight through from Chicago to Denver in one day. On the way back, we took our time a little more- leaving Denver in the afternoon and stopping in Des Moines after a few hours of night driving when the kids were asleep. Typically, when we drive cross-country, we try to make as few stops as possible and get it over with. I wanted to see something on our way this time, so we stopped at the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, IL, right across the Mississippi from Iowa.
John Deere Pavilion is a free show room and activity center in downtown Moline that allows tractor and construction vehicle lovers to learn more about John Deere brand products. There were vintage tractors, displays detailing the history of the company, some of their current tractor offerings, videos, and a great kid’s play area. It was big enough to keep the boy’s interest, but small enough to only take an hour to thoroughly enjoy before heading back out on the road.
There were several tractors with stairs up to the cab that the boys loved sitting in. Landon liked pretending he was driving, while Owen liked the challenge of climbing up the stairs and sitting in the seat. It was not very busy when we visited, so the boys could flit from one tractor to the next as many times as they wanted. In the kid’s area, there was a stop motion movie creator set-up, which was pretty easy to use, but a little too complicated for Landon to figure out. He enjoyed playing with the tractors and farm animals, though! There were several tractor simulators where we could try our hand at driving a tractor or operating a back-hoe. It is a lot harder to correctly use all the controls than I anticipated!
There were lots of toy trucks, animals and farm equipment for the boys to play with on low tables. Between all of the different activities, there was truly something for all ages!
Along with the typical tractors and activities, there were some prototypes and special concept tractors. There was a Roomba- type robotic lawn mower demonstration station, and this logging machine (below) that reminded me of the walkers from Star Wars… but real life! We hoped to eat here, but the pavilion and gift shop did not have any lunch options. The gift shop had all kinds of toys, clothing, and memorabilia. John Deere has several other attractions open to the public in Illinois and Iowa, including a factory tour for older kids. We chose the Pavilion because it was not very far out of our way as we drove east on I-80. The John Deere Pavilion is the perfect road trip pit stop. We stretched our legs, had some fun, and continued on our way!