The John Deere Pavilion on the Illinois / Iowa boarder not-that-far from I-80 is certainly an attraction worth seeing! It’s what little boys dream of and maybe we’ve all secretly wanted to do for most of our lives: You get to climb into half a dozen or so big machines. Like, a bulldozer, a front-end loader, an enormous combine, tractors – it’s amazing they even let you near those things! And there are many more tractors and other machines just for display, but they’re pretty cool, as well. The best thing? It’s totally free to the public!
We visited around noon one Saturday in July. There were plenty of other visitors; you could wait in line a minute or two to get into most of the big machines, though there seemed to always be a long line for the combine. You can sit in the seat and turn the steering wheel, but not much more (but even that is way cool!) Besides all the machines, there are also signs and videos about John Deere, his company, and various farmers and construction workers, etc. It makes sense that this is a PR stunt for John Deere Company – if the kids running around were any indication, it does a pretty good job!
Other fun things included the ability to make a stop-action video (I had fun with that), and some simulators for driving big machines. Pretty cool!
There are also volunteer interpreters around. One told us that the Pavilion is the 5th most visited attraction like this in the state (the first 3 are in Chicago, the fourth is Abraham Lincoln National Monument). There is also a gift shop nearby and a restaurant – I’ve heard both are pricy, but I didn’t check them out, so that’s just hear-say.
I think I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves!
Hours: Monday-Friday: 9am-5pm; Saturday 10am-5pm; Sunday Noon-4pm; closed Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day.
Facilities: Clean restrooms, gift shop and restaurant nearby; there are lots of facilities nearby since you’re in downtown Moline…
Attraction Notes: This is good for all ages – I saw 2-year-olds and 80-year-olds, all having a great time. I enjoyed it, too, even though I’ve never been much into big machines (at least compared to my brothers). Parking can be an issue if you like it free (see below).
Ease of Access
Would I go 100 miles out of my way for this?
John Deere Pavilion GPS Coordinates
John Deere Pavilion: 41.50759N / -090.51795W (41° 30′ 27.324″ / -90° 31′ 4.6194″) (578ft.)
Getting to the John Deere Pavilion
From I-80W in western Illinois, continue on I-280W / I-74. After 9 miles, take Exit 5A for I-74W toward Moline. Merge onto I-74 and, 3 miles later, take Exit 2 for 7th Avenue. Stay left at the fork and turn left on 7th Avenue – being in the right of the two lanes is a good idea. Take a right onto 19th Street for 0.3 miles, then turn left onto River Drive for an additional 0.3 miles. The John Deere Pavilion will be on your left, across from the iWireless Conference Center.
From I-80E in eastern Iowa, take Exit 298 for I-74E. After about 6 miles, take Exit 1 for River Drive. Turn left onto River Drive for 0.6 miles; the John Deere Pavilion will be on left.
I think there may be street parking in front of the Pavilion, but it was closed for construction when I was there. So there really isn’t anywhere free to park. There’s more street parking around (most of which would have been free, but may have had a time limit), but it was all full. We finally ended up parking a parking lot behind some houses, then walking about 0.3 miles to the Pavilion.
This Week’s Featured Product!
This book is the reason I visited the John Deere Pavilion – one of my group members was running (literally) through the library one day and picked up this off the shelf. It lists dozens of factories that can be visited, if they give out freebies, if there’s an admission fee, and so much more. I visited two of the factories listed on a recent trip, and I have to say they were both great!
Tue Dec 12
Clouds early, some clearing late. Lows overnight in the low 20s.
Wed Dec 13
Cloudy with gusty winds. High 42F. Winds W at 20 to 30 mph. Winds could occasionally gust over 40 mph.
Thu Dec 14
Partly cloudy skies during the morning hours will become overcast in the afternoon. High 33F. Winds WNW at 5 to 10 mph.
Fri Dec 15
A mix of clouds and sun early, then becoming cloudy later in the day. High 37F. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph.
Sat Dec 16
Partly cloudy skies. High 46F. Winds SSW at 10 to 20 mph.