Visiting Big Machines at the John Deere Pavilion

Front End Loader - which you can climb into - at the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois

Front End Loader – which you can climb into – at the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois

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!
 


 

The entrance to the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois

The entrance to the John Deere Pavilion

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!

There are a couple tractors and a grader outside - you can't climb on these - at the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois

There are a couple tractors and a grader outside – you can’t climb on these 🙂

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!

So this is what it looks like to be driving a front end loader... at the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois

So this is what it looks like to be driving a front end loader…

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.

The insides of an old tractor - my great grandfather had one of these. At the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois

The insides of an old tractor – my great grandfather had one of these

I think I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves!

One of the tractors you can climb into at the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois

One of the tractors you can climb into

The bulldozer in the John Deere Pavilion, Moline, Illinois

The bulldozer

Hours: Monday-Friday: 9am-5pm; Saturday 10am-5pm; Sunday Noon-4pm; closed Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day.

Fees: None

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).

There are stairs to get into most of the machines at the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois

There are stairs to get into most of the machines – it’s safer, I think

Interest ★★★★☆

Exhibits ★★★★★

Personnel ★★★★★

Cleanliness ★★★★★

Ease of Access ★★★☆☆

Would I go 100 miles out of my way for this? ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

The combine is definitely a hot attraction at the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois

The combine is definitely a hot attraction

John Deere Pavilion GPS Coordinates

John Deere Pavilion: 41.50759N / -090.51795W (41° 30′ 27.324″ / -90° 31′ 4.6194″) (578ft.)

The interior of a tractor's cab at the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois

The interior of a tractor’s cab

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.

Tractor at the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois

Tractor

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.

What it looks like to be in a bulldozer... at the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois

What it looks like to be in a bulldozer…

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.

And one last artsy photo... so that's what a combine looks like! At the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, Illinois

And one last artsy photo… so that’s what a combine looks like!

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!

 

Watch It Made in the U.S.A.: A Visitor’s Guide to the Best Factory Tours and Company Museums (Paperback)


List Price: $21.95
New From: $31.28 USD In Stock
Used from: $0.49 USD In Stock

 

 

Clear

Tuesday

Tue Jun 27

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Clear
Sunny. High 79F. Winds SW at 5 to 10 mph.

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Wednesday

Wed Jun 28

60%

Chance of a Thunderstorm
Variable clouds with thunderstorms, especially in the afternoon. A few storms may be severe. High 82F. Winds S at 15 to 25 mph. Chance of rain 60%.

Chance of a Thunderstorm

Thursday

Thu Jun 29

90%

Chance of a Thunderstorm
Cloudy in the morning, then thunderstorms developing later in the day. High 82F. Winds SW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 90%.

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Friday

Fri Jun 30

80%

Thunderstorm
Thunderstorms likely in the morning. Then the chance of scattered thunderstorms in the afternoon. High 81F. Winds WSW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 80%.

Clear

Saturday

Sat Jul 01

10%

Clear
Generally sunny. High 81F. Winds W at 10 to 20 mph.


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