River Museum & Aquarium, where attendees can learn about the wildlife and natural
habitat of the river, including species from
low-level marshes to southern bayous, and
even feed the stingrays.
Visitors can also ride the William M.
Black, a historic steam-powered dredge
boat once common on the Mississippi, or
go high-tech and watch a film in the museum’s 4D theater.
Follow the river south and discover the
Quad Cities, a metro area that stretches
across four cities and two states: Davenport
and Bettendorf in Iowa, and Rock Island
and Moline in Illinois. River heritage is
celebrated here as well, with sites dedicated to the people who traveled here and the
music born on the river’s edge.
One historic site is the German-Ameri-can Heritage Center, located in Davenport.
The center was once the final stop on
immigrants’ journeys to their new home,
serving as a busy hotel for thousands seeking a better life. Groups can see exhibits on
World War I, life as a new immigrant, and
even the history of toys and play through
the last 100-plus years. The center also features a banquet hall and can accommodate
up to 150 for meetings or events.
Another important site is the Rock Island
Arsenal, according to Jessica Waytenick,
public relations and marketing manager for
the Quad Cities CVB.
“Arsenal Island has been owned by the
U.S. government since 1804 and played an
important part in developing the West and
securing the Mississippi River,” Waytenick
said. “It’s a working military facility, and
there are attractions for the public, in-
cluding the Arsenal Museum, the Colonel
Davenport House and more.”
The Arsenal has assisted in supplying
troops from the Civil War through the
Gulf War and still does so today. The Rock
Island Arsenal Museum is the U.S. Army’s
second-oldest museum and has an amaz-
ing collection of small arms along with
Planners can also work with the museum
to coordinate a tour of the Colonel Davenport House, built in 1833. Also available
for tours are the National and Confederate
cemeteries on the island, and the Mississippi River Visitor Center, run by the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers. Groups can
watch the largest roller dam in the world,
or participate in one of several Bald Eagle
Watches during the winter months.
One of the biggest contributions of river
culture is music. The River Music Experi-
ence (RME) does more than offer two-di-
mensional exhibits: The facility features
concerts throughout the seasons and
teaches all generations about the sounds
born along the Mississippi, including blues,
jazz, zydeco, rock and gospel. Leon Russell,
Alejandro Escovedo and John Hammond
have all played at the RME, and the facility RIVER MUSIC EXPERIENCE, QUAD CITIES
GRAND RIVER CENTER
HOST A MEETING WHERE IOWA STARTED.
quare feet of meeting space along the banks of the Mississi