Winter weather making you and your kiddos a little antsy? Searching for things to do in the winter with kids Quad Cities? Prefer some family friendly indoor activities that are cheap or free? We’ve got you! Cabin fever doesn’t stand a chance with these mom-approved indoor activities around the Quad Cities.
Explore the Quad Cities Indoors in the Winter
Take in some culture at the The Figge Art Museum. It’s free on Young Artists Recognition Days, and on February 22 for Free Family Day! Check out their calendar for fun, family-friendly events and classes, like Clay for Kids, every second Tuesday. The Figge is also a great place to host a winter birthday party!
Get your nature fix at the Quad City Botanical Gardens. Ditch the mittens and hats and enjoy the tropical and temperate oasis in the heart of downtown Rock Island. They also offer themed classes such as Sunday Funday some Sundays or Kindernature on some Tuesdays. Be sure to check their calendar for all the fun! The beach is included in admission, and admission is included if you have a Fun Bundle, a truly economical way to visit many Quad Cities highlights! Check your local library for family passes too.
Run off the excess energy on the Davenport Skybridge. This bridge is heated and is 1/10 of a mile long. Let your littles run miles up here and get a little vitamin D as well. Just be aware that there are no public restrooms in case of bathroom emergencies. If you’re looking for things to do in the winter with kids, there’s lots of room to run and plenty of cars to watch on the street below. For even more community building, be sure to check out SkyFit Steph, who runs a free community exercise class on the bridge on Sundays.
Have older kids? Take a tour of the B.J. & Mabel Palmer Mansion!
You will be amazed by the sights to be seen inside the B.J. Palmer mansion. This unique property once belonged to the founder of Chiropractics, B.J. Palmer. Situated on the campus of Palmer Chiropractic College this is a tour you won’t soon forget. Tours are available by appointment, or Fridays at 11:10 as long as classes are in session, and are $5/person. Palmer College is also home to The Palmer Family and Chiropractic History Museum, which will satisfy all your kiddos curiosity about bones!
Explore natural history at the Wapsi Educational Center. The Nature Center is home to live and stuffed animals, and mastodon tusks are just some of the surprises you can find inside. You can learn about life in Iowa before it became a state, how it changed as settlers arrived and explore Iowa’s rich natural resources. There is a great section for kids, and admission is free! They also offer a lot of outdoor programming which is great for winter activities with kids!
Find out about the Wild West through the eyes of Buffalo Bill Cody at the Buffalo Bill Museum in LeClaire. Adults are $5 but children are just a dollar. Indoor activities for families in the Quad Cities can include this museum as they now have a room just for kids. Children ages 3 to 8 years old accompanied by an adult can find hands-on exhibits which they can explore. There is a pilots’ wheel, a musical wall, dress up area, a place to plant a garden, and much more fun. All children can do a seek and find scavenger type hunt in the museum and receive a free prize.
Get behind the wheel of innovation at the John Deere Pavilion! A Quad Cities favorite, and one of our biggest tourist attractions. You (and your kids) can climb into the cab, sit in the driver’s seat, and test your skills in state-of-the-art simulators. Explore some of the biggest John Deere machines — from combines and dozers, to excavators and swing machines — and learn how they change lives around the world. The gift shop across from the entrance offers a table full of toy tractors to play with – but be prepared for all the “May I have one to take home?” queries.
Feel like mall walking? Northpark Mall has lots of space, especially at the ends, and early in the morning where you and your kids can run and be free. Barnes and Nobles kids area and Von Maur’s train table are a few of our favorite spots to visit. Southpark Mall offers a foam play area for kids, and has lots of open areas for roaming, and isn’t very busy.
All of the libraries in the Quad Cities offer tons of wonderful programming. From story hours, to teen classes, to STEAM activities to book clubs, be sure to check your local libraries’s websites as well as our community calendar. Many have winter reading programs you’ll be sure to enter for their great prizes. Get out of the metro area, and explore some of the smaller libraries like LeClaire or East Moline. You’ll be amazed at what wonderful changes you notice when you’re not in the big libraries.
Explore all the green plants and feel the warmth of Vander Veer Conservatory in the middle of the winter. Indulge their imaginations in the koi pond area, which is basically fairyland. Hours are Tuesday-Sunday 10am-4p.m. Closed on Mondays. Cost is $1.
Who doesn’t love trucks? Be sure to check out the Walcott Truck Museum (admission in free, donations accepted) some blustery winter afternoon. If you can handle the “buy this for me”, the World’s Largest Truckstop is definitely worth a visit as well.
A family favorite is the Bettendorf Family Museum ($): This museum is a favorite of everyone. Yearly memberships are always on the top of our Christmas wish list; we love asking for the gift of experiences over stuff. They also offer discounted rates after 5p.m. Monday-Thursday. As you’re looking for things to do in the winter with kids here in the Quad Cities, be sure to include the Family Museum.
Run around on the soccer field at Tykes on the Turf! Every Monday at 10 am, join other Quad Cities moms at a giant field where the kids can play with hoops, balls, and more at The River’s Edge. It’s $5/child and punch cards are available.
History, Science, Natural Earth all under one roof, right here at the Putnam Museum ($): For Scott County readers make sure to check your local library for a museum pass, and get up to 4 free admissions. The Putnam is part of the Fun Bundle as well, a truly economical way to not have to bundle up in the winter. No matter when you visit, you’ll always be able to experience the Putnam’s permanent exhibits! Travel to faraway lands, discover your roots, and immerse yourself in Iowa’s changing landscape all under one roof. Right now the featured exhibit is on the periodic table, which just geeks me right out!
Jump at the chance to visit one of our trampoline parks! Altitude Trampoline Park, Elevate Trampoline Park and Helium Trampoline and Indoor Adventure Park all have toddler times. I’m not going to lie, it’s hard for me to take my kids here and not jump. I’m old though, and nearly always have to pay for the jumping fun in more ways than one- the main way being in chiropractic visits. If you’re looking for indoor winter activities in the Quad Cities, this is a ticket for you! It’s so fun, and actually clean. Any of these are great places to host winter birthday parties as well.
Get a little wild at Happy Joe’s Jungle Bungle. This Happy Joe’s location offers an enormous play place and jungle gym as well as arcade games. Wednesdays are $3 admission for all ages, all day.
During the cold winter months, be sure you and your kids enjoy all the fun indoor activities the Quad Cities has to offer! Things to do in the winter with kids abound in the Quad Cities.