I love my kids, but they are expensive! How easy is it to drop $100 going out to eat and bowling or to the movies? We all love to get out of the house and take our kids fun places, but sometimes our pocket books just can’t support “Family Fun” every day. Unless it’s free…

Last year, my husband called me and asked if I would spend 30 minutes putting together a list of some ideas we could do as a family that wouldn’t cost us anything. That’s right. Not a single dime. I admit I was skeptical. There are so many awesome things to do in the Quad Cities, but something free was almost unheard of. And if it’s free, didn’t that mean it was boring?

Quite the contrary!

After many hours of exhausting research, compilation, and labor, I came up with the list you see below (in no particular order). I was so surprised to see all the awesome free stuff in our community. I knew I couldn’t keep it to myself. We shared this information about a year ago, but here it is again…revised and updated! Thanks to my fellow QCMB writers for contributing ideas, contact information, and photos.

We would love to keep this list current for our readers. If you have any links, phone numbers, ideas, or information to share, please comment on this post. The more free stuff, the better! Have fun and don’t forget to share with your friends and family!

EmilyPicMonkey Collage


There are so many parks in the Quad Cities; it would be impossible to list them all. Click here for an overview of all Quad City Parks and Rec contacts and links. It includes info on biking, hiking, golf, fishing, pools, water parks, playgrounds, skiing, tennis, and much more!

Public libraries are a huge source of free family entertainment (and a great place to go during the wonderful winters of the Midwest). Free baby, toddler, and preschool story times are just the beginning of the amazing programs that are offered year round. Click on the links below to view the scheduled free story times and to browse other programming options, including free summer reading programs!

FREE PASSES at local libraries – Davenport Public Library offers free passes that can be checked out for the Figge Art Museum and the Putnam Museum.

Bettendorf Public Library offers free passes for the Bettendorf Family Museum. Rock Island Public Library offers free passes for the Quad City Botancial Center and the Niabi Zoo. Moline Public Library offers free passes for the Niabi Zoo. There are specific stipulations for this free offer, so be sure to call the library before you go to see if the passes are available. You can also search here at the Davenport Public Library to see which passes are available and at which branches. You can only check out one pass per location per registered library card. Call your library for additional information.

Check out our list of restaurants where KIDS EAT FREE! Please call ahead to ensure the special still applies.

Volunteering together is another great free family fun activity. The possibilities for this are endless, but please consider spending some time to serve the Quad Cities. Your kids will remember it for a lifetime! Check out Marie’s post and Siri’s post on ways to volunteer and give back to our community.

If you can get through this whole list in one summer, can you share some of your energy with me?

From the Quad City Mom’s Blog to you…have a safe and fun summer with those kiddos!

(If you have any additional ideas, please post them in the comments!)








  1. Avatar
    Erin March 18, 2014 at 8:52 am #

    Thanks for the comment! I called the Davenport library and received the information from one of the employees. She gave me the info for the other libraries as well.

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    Emily March 23, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

    This is an awesome resource – looking forward to trying out some of the ones we’ve never explored before! 🙂

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    lindsay May 20, 2015 at 8:44 am #

    The muscatine waterfront has a nice park and spray area in the summer as well as the button museum in downtown muscatine which is interesting

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    lindsay May 20, 2015 at 8:45 am #

    Oh and also discovery park in muscatine it has trails for hiking biking and a pond to fish from

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    FYIQuadCities May 20, 2015 at 11:03 am #

    Although you linked to our “Free Concerts and Movies” blog post, you neglected to mention our site as a resource for summer fun. Find party planning information, links just for Moms, day trip ideas, rainy day fun, outdoor fun, educational sites, and SO much more! Visit us today at and plan a great summer of fun with your kiddos!

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    samantha May 20, 2015 at 12:23 pm # kids 10 and under

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    wendi May 20, 2015 at 2:11 pm #

    Rocket park in Davenport is our favorite

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    danielle May 20, 2015 at 10:15 pm #

    Maquoketa caves

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    Catherine May 21, 2015 at 2:10 am #

    FYI the minimum age for the John Deere Harvester Works tour is 12 years old.

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    Catherine May 21, 2015 at 2:20 am #

    Oh, another free idea is geocaching. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a worldwide treasure hunt that a lot of people in the QC participate in. Someone hides a small container with some “treasure” in it such as a small trinket. They post GPS coordinates and clues to find the treasure. You can find a list of caches at You hunt for it and then keep whatever treasure has been placed inside and replace it with some treasure of your own for the next person to find and sign the guest book. The treasure is usually small, but the fun is all in the hunt!

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    Krista May 21, 2015 at 7:22 am #

    I love all the great ideas! My kids are older now and I’m looking forward to grand babies but that just means that many items will reopen to me 🙂

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    Judith Rehder May 21, 2015 at 8:22 pm #

    One word of caution regarding the John Deere Harvester works. The tours are by reservation only. Seats are limited because it is a tram tour. The literature states tours are needed to be booked at least 48 hours prior to the requested date, but on occasion it may possible to get in sooner, just as on occasion it may take longer to have openings No children under the age of 13 are allowed on the tour. That rule is not negotiable since it is a tour through the factory and is subject to OSHA rules.

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    Tavia May 22, 2015 at 7:02 am #

    Thank you! Really great info. Thank you, again!

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    Ellen May 24, 2015 at 8:23 am #

    Just a correction, the article says Smith Island is in Muscatine, it’s in Pleasant Valley. Great place to explore!

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    Joleen June 2, 2015 at 7:13 pm #

    $1 kids movies in Moline and Davenport

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    Kristin June 25, 2015 at 4:22 pm #

    We are brand new to the area and this is exactly what I was looking for! Thank you for the time and effort you put into creating such a great resource. We look forward to getting to know the area and following your blog for other great tips on living in QC!

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    Valerie August 3, 2015 at 4:56 pm #

    Dollar Day ended July 20th. Please check for Dollar Day information.

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    Valerie August 4, 2015 at 2:55 pm #

    The Bettendorf Public Library does not have free passes to the Family Museum.

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    Janessa June 23, 2016 at 11:38 am #

    FREE ADMISSION at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport. Starting now through September 25th.

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    Dianna October 4, 2016 at 5:30 pm #

    Kids skate free is like the kids bowl free and is for the East Moline skating rink

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    Mindy Becker May 14, 2019 at 8:52 pm #

    If you could add to our listing of Backwater Gamblers- 5000 44th St. Rock Island or put the website and the showtime 6:30 pm that would be great! Thx.


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