Always with free admission, Moline’s John Deere Pavilion welcomes families to exhibit-filled rooms and hands-on, interactive displays. State-of-the-art simulators let visitors experience what it’s like to drive equipment such as a crawler dozer, and kids can also crawl into the cab of large tractors and other equipment while parents snap photos off to the side — or climb in themselves to have some fun behind the wheel.
“A lot of people plan their summers around John Deere events,” says spokeswoman Wendy Artman. “Every year, we try to make something a little different, a little bigger and a little better.”
It’s a time for families to experience what it’s like to work on a construction site and a farm. At the free event, children test toy construction equipment in the sand, build with Mega Blocks, pet goats in a mini zoo, watch blacksmith demonstrations, and maneuver through an obstacle course on pedal-powered vehicles. If they complete all of the chores like pretending to milk a cow on Little Johnny’s Farm, children earn a Deere Dollar and cash it in for a special treat.
Old, new and colorful tractors drive through the streets near the pavilion.
For more information on events at John Deere Pavilion, click here or call (309) 765-1000.
Visitors who want a deeper dive into John Deere’s corporate history or business practices can tour its world headquarters (open daily) and factories (Harvester Works, East Moline; Seeding Group, Moline).
A 15-minute drive east of Moline is TPC Deere Run in Silvis. Play the 18-hole public course or watch the pros during the John Deere Classic (July 9–15). Who knows, you could witness memorable players like 2016 champ Ryan Moore who went on to clinch the final point of the Ryder Cup bringing it home for the Americans.
Along the Rock River, the John Deere Historic Site sits in the tiny central town of Grand Detour (75 miles east of Silvis). Tour the Deere’s six-room family home where his parents raised eight children in the 1830s. In the replica Blacksmith shop, see demonstrations and original artifacts. This is where John Deere created the plow that would eventually launch one of the largest farming equipment companies in the world. Prior to the 1830s, wooden plows and those from the East Coast didn’t work well on the thick, Midwest spoil. In 1837, John designed a highly polished steel plow where the soil easily slid off. Demand was immediate. By 1848, he moved to Moline and opened a state-of-the-art plow factory. And the rest, as they say, is history. Fortunately, that history — almost 200 years’ worth — remains accessible, inspirational and fun to experience.
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