The Quad Cities has a lot to celebrate, as 2021 is Iowa’s 175th anniversary, the 59th anniversary of the John Deere Classic PGA Tour tournament, 35th anniversary of the Celebration Belle riverboat, 125th anniversary of the Government Bridge being built and other milestones.

The Quad City area — Davenport and Bettendorf in Iowa and Rock Island and Moline in Illinois, separated by the Mississippi River — has a lot going on anticipating that travel options will begin opening again. Here are some outdoor adventures to explore.

Gardens and estates

Quad City Botanical Center in Rock Island’s new Children’s Garden offers visitors a fun interpretation of the Mississippi, open in May. Visitors will have a view of flowering perennials and native prairie plants. Children can get carried away by their imaginations in a safe and accessible environment with water play.

The children’s area has a natural pond that represents Lake Itasca in Minnesota, the beginning of the Mississippi River. The kids learn using fours — the four seasons, the four directions, four-way tests, factors of four, games of four and flowers of four. Adventure begins at the sundial, which the kids will find underfoot.

Other adventures include the Tropical Sun Garden, which is 6,444 square feet of climate-controlled space loaded with plants. The area has a 14-foot waterfall, fish pond and a stream with Japanese koi. The garden is home to fruit-bearing plants such as banana, vanilla, coffee, coconut and cocoa trees.

Garden seekers will find plenty of outside areas to explore such as the rare conifer collection, a physically enabling garden that is a series of raised beds for those who find bending to the ground difficult, and Pat’s Garden, an interactive woodland garden with a fairy theme and a Hobbit house. Children love the butterfly garden. The gardens offer plenty more for visitors.

Visit qcgardens.com for updated COVID-19 safety information and hours.

On June 13, the Hauberg Estate in Rock Island is celebrating the completion of a landscape restoration project on a pond and rain garden. Hauberg Estate was designed by landscape architect Jens Jensen, dubbed the Father of the American Landscape. It is one of just 35 complete estates left in the country.

In 1905 Jensen was general superintendent of the entire West Park System in Chicago. He also played a role in building support of the Indiana Dunes. Upon retiring from the park system, he began his landscape business, doing 350 estates including Henry Ford’s.

Today landscapers have the complete designs of what type of plants were planted and where — they are restoring the landscape at Hauberg back to the original design. Kids will enjoy this trip as there are things to do just for them. Visit haubergestate.org for updates and times.

Sports

It is time to play ball in the Quad Cities as the River Bandits are now the Advance-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. The River Bandits’ field, Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport, was voted the No. 1 minor league ballpark in the country. Visit riverbandits.com for the schedule and updates for the 2021 season.

Get into the swing at Palmer Hills Golf course in Bettendorf. Added this year is a 1.5 acre putting green course consisting of 18 individual holes. This is the first of its kind in the region. The surface will have more undulations than a regular golf green to create strategic shots, challenge and, most importantly, a fun experience.

Have fun getting outdoors in the Quad Cities area of Iowa and Illinois. For information on places to stay go to visitquadcities.com.

Contact CR Rae at crraetravel@gmail.com.

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