When a Baseball Game Interrupts a Carnival

***Stop #9 on the #MiLBRoundTripper: the Quad Cities (IA/IL) River Bandits***

I knew when we pulled up that  Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport, IA was not a stadium for a baseball snob.  You know, a baseball snob – the guy keeping book, talking about the lost art of the sacrifice bunt and complaining about the kids begging for balls between innings.

The view from the parking lot – ballgame or carnival?

In fact, if I didn’t know there was a Class-A, Midwest League game being played there tonight, I would have mistaken the ballpark for a carnival.

As we pulled into the parking lot to see the Quad Cities River Bandits play the Cedar Rapids Kernels, my kids’ eyes were as big as softballs.

“Oh my god!  Do you see that ferris wheel?”  Lynden, my 9 year-old, shouted.

“A roller coaster!” My daughter, Vivi, yelled back.

“Is this the game?”  Yosef, my oldest, asked with confusion.

There was no doubt that the experience in Modern Woodmen Park was little about America’s pastime and everything about family fun for all ages.

Fun for the little ones at Modern Woodmen

Down the right field line are amusements for smaller kids – a swinging viking ship, a bouncy house, hover bumper boats and a mini-rocket that shoots kids about 20 feet up and down.

The Giant Wheel – $5 to ride with $2.50 going to charity.

The rides range between 2 and 3 tickets each.  The tickets are purchased for $1 each with $.50 donated to a local charity.

In the same area, there is a free baseball-themed climbing playground that all of my kids spent at least an inning climbing on.

Fun for the older ones at Modern Woodmen

Behind the left field wall is the custom, giant wheel ride costing each rider 5 tickets ($1 per ticket with $.50 per ticket donated).

The wheel ride provides a spectacular view of the Mississippi River, the skyline and the ballgame.

In foul territory to the left are the other amusements fit for older kids – a small roller coaster, a twirling scrambler-type of ride and a vintage carousel (which opened this week).  Each ride costs around 5 tickets.

Fun for the young at heart at Modern Woodmen

On the way out of the stadium, my kids found a FREE, hidden Modern Woodmen gem – an air-conditioned game room filled with any game system you can think of.

There was even an Atari and an original Nintendo!

My kids darted for the newer game systems while my wife headed for the Nintendo 64 to play NBA Jam.  I choose Nintendo’s Galaga after an unsuccessful attempt at firing up the Atari.

As much as I loved the time spent in the free arcade, I will issue one complaint to River Bandit management – where is the RBI Baseball on the Nintendo?

My wife, Aimee, playing NBA Jam in the free arcade.

A day with kids in the Quad Cities

I grew up about 80 miles from the Quad Cities but have never spent any time there.

That is a shame – I never knew there was so much to do.

We stayed in the Radisson Quad Cities Plaza which provided close proximity to the River Bandits’ ballpark and several other local attractions.  Within walking distance were Modern Woodmen Field, a casino, the Mississippi River, a bike/running trail, the Freight House Market and many several large green spaces fit for burning off some energy from the car ride in.

My family enjoyed an informal, kid-friendly dinner at the Front Street Brewery on the corner of River and Perry – right next to our hotel.  The menu was more than “bar food”, the kids had plenty of choices and there were many gluten-free options for me.  The beer list was endless and sampling was welcomed by Front Street’s friendly staff.

Before we left for the ballgame, we drove into Moline, Illinois (about 12 minutes) to see the John Deere Pavilion – a free, interactive exhibition of John Deere heavy machinery.

My kids in a combine at the John Deere Pavilion in Moline, IL.

In a matter of 20 minutes, each of my kids was in and out of a full-sized bulldozer, combine, tractor, timber-clearer (layman’s term) and a riding lawn mower.

The hall showcases innovations from Deere – both in the past with a movie that recounts the company’s beginnings, and in the future as new technology (like an autonomous tractor) are on display.

John Deere Pavilion, Moline, IL.

My family left the Quad Cities impressed with the river front, in awe of John Deere’s technology and, most importantly, able to name all of the Quad Cities – Bettendorf, Davenport, Moline and Rock Island.

About the Quad Cities: 

The Quad Cities area consists of Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa, and Moline, East Moline and Rock Island in Illinois.

With a combined population of 400,000, the region brings you all the excitement of a big city with all the hospitality of a small town. Our award-winning museums and cultural centers, internationally-recognized festivals, beautiful riverfront, scrumptious dining and vibrant nightlife will ensure that you always have something to do when you come visit, whether it be with your family, business associates, or group tours.

***The next stop on the #MiLBRoundTripper: the Louisville (KY) Bats***

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