The towns of Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa and Rock Island and East Moline/Moline in Illinois share the banks of the Mississippi River and a population of nearly 400,000 people. The name Quad Cities refers to this cluster of Midwest communities located on the southeast portion of Iowa and the northwest part of Illinois. Though residents in search of birthday activities can reach the Chicago area via routes 80 or 88 within three hours, the Quad Cities provides ample destinations designed for fun.
The Iowa-side of the Quad Cities hosts venues that offer safe, age-appropriate activities for children age 12 and younger. Provide young minds with an outlet for their curiosity at the Family Museum in Bettendorf, which features interactive exhibits like a human-heart maze, playhouse and music studio. Birthday-party packages can be purchased and include dinosaur, princess, rocket or pirate themes.
In Davenport, Monkey Joe's contains various rooms of inflatable props where children can bounce, jump and slide to their heart's content. Toddlers and their parents can make use of the Mini Monkey Zone, which is in a separate play area. Parties can be booked for two hours.
Preteens and Teens
Davenport features two preteen and teen-friendly venues for birthday parties. Although younger children can make use of these facilities, they won't be allowed to participate in the activities geared for older children of a certain height. At Incredible Pizza, arcade-style and carnival-type games can challenge the competitive nature of older kids. And as long as participants are taller than 48 inches, they can suit up for a game of laser tag or buckle in for a ride inside a bumper car.
At Michael's Fun World, older children can race their friends around a go-kart track or practice their swing inside baseball or softball batting cages. The Super Large Laser Tag Arena boasts a play area that's equivalent to two houses and provides preteens and teens with a more action-packed version of hide-and-seek.
For a relaxed, artistic party for adults, consider booking a studio room at Fireworks Coffeehouse and Pottery Painted by You in Moline. Guests can choose from a variety of pottery, such as decorative pieces, cups, bowls and picture frames to paint. Fees include a work table and supplies, and the room can be booked for two or three hours. Allowing the cafe's catering company Nana J's to provide the food reduces rental-room fees. The pieces will be ready for pickup in a week after a final glazing and firing.
At Jumer's Casino in Rock Island, adults can enjoy a Las Vegas-style gambling experience. The casino features 1,100 slot machines, 24 game tables and live poker. Stay in the casino's hotel and make use of the indoor pool, spa facilities and dining establishments that include a buffet room, cafe, deli or steakhouse restaurant.
For an outdoorsy event, include an activity or two that celebrates the Quad Cities' location on the banks of the Mississippi River. The Channel Cat Taxi shuttles travelers up and down the river, making stops at landings in Moline, Bettendorf and Davenport. As of 2011, tickets cost $6 for adults and $3 for children ages 2 to 10 and are good all day, with unlimited uses.
For a more sophisticated birthday party, travel aboard the Celebration Belle riverboat. Cruise packages on the Belle can be purchased through Celebration River Cruises and include hourly sight-seeing tours, dinner-and-dance cruises and one- or two-day riverboat excursions. The two-day, one-night package, for example, features a roundtrip cruise to Dubuque, Iowa, with taxes, tip and lodging included in the $294 to $350 price tag, as of 2011.
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