Editor’s note: Are you looking for fun, new things to do in the Quad Cities? Look no further than our local parks. They are truly a treasure – and we are excited to be sharing some of our favorites over the next few months.

Our friends at Davenport Parks and Recreation are sharing some favorite (and maybe some new-to-you) parks that you’ll want on your bucket list this summer. They are great to visit with your kids or meet friends. And we’ll even be sharing some events at the park you’ll want to add to your calendar and ways to get active at the park.

We hope this will give you new and fun places to visit – and also give you ideas for ways to enjoy them in new and unique ways.

Check out the first post in this series about Fejervary Park.

Next up – Vander Veer Park:

Located at 215 W Central Park Ave, Davenport. 

Fast facts about Vander Veer Park:

  • A 34-acre botanical garden in the heart of Davenport.
  • Vander Veer was established in 1885 and is believed to be one of the first botanical parks west of the Mississippi River.
  • The park was built on the old Scott County Fairgrounds land and modeled after New York City’s Central Park and was originally named Central Park.
  • In 1912 the park was renamed after the first secretary of the Davenport Park Board Commissioners, A.W. Vander Veer. A conservatory, pavilion, and fountains were added later.

Vander Veer Park Conservatory hours:

Open all year

Monday: Closed

Tuesday-Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

What Vander Veer has to offer:

Vander Veer has a lot to offer all year round! You can spend a nice day outside walking around the outside of the park (1 Lap = .88 mile), or inside throughout the beautiful park grounds. Vander Veer is pet friendly, so bring your dog along on a leash and enjoy the weather.

Vander Veer Park includes:

  • A beautiful stone fountain located at the end of the ‘Grand Alee’ (sidewalk leading to the fountain) with plenty of benches and water fountains to stop and take a break and enjoy nature. The fountain would be a great place to take family pictures, too!
  • A great playground area for kids.
  • A lagoon with lots of ducks and walking path near the playground.
  • Botanical garden and conservatory. The summer theme is Pirates of Vander Veer! (Pirates have raised their flags and invaded Vander Veer. Enjoy marauding through the pirate themed floral displays, and plundering for treasure.)

Events in Vander Veer are held throughout the summer:

  • Children meet by the playground for the FREE ‘My Little Wheelbarrow’ event – experiencing the wonders of gardening and nature with hands-on activities. (10 to 10:30 a.m. on July 11 and 25)
  • ‘Little Sprouts’ is a fun hands-on activity session in the Conservatory Education room on July 19 (10:30-11 a.m.) Cost is $2 for residents and $3 for non-residents, ages 2-6.
  • ‘Coffee & Cuttings’ is in Vander Veer Conservatory Education Room. Get your caffeine fix and learn how to propagate a different plant. You will learn how to grow it and take cuttings home to enjoy. July 3 and August 7, 10-11 a.m., 18 years and older.
  • ‘Lunch and Learn’ is in the Vander Veer Conservatory Education room on July 27 and August 24, 11:30-12:30 p.m. and 12:30-1:30 p.m.. Bring your own lunch to the park and learn about a variety of horticulture topics.
  • ‘Movie in the Park’ at sunset on July 13 and August 24.  July’s movie will be Annie (original) Sing-a-Long, and August’s movie will be people’s choice of Cinderella, Wonder, Finding Dory, or Despicable Me 3. 

Ways you can get active in Vander Veer (for anyone):

  • Bike along the park paths
  • Run/walk/sprint around the park (1 Lap =.88 mile)
  • Bench jumps
  • Decline pushups off a bench
  • Triceps dips on the bench

Ways mom’s and children can get active together at Vander Veer:

  • Have a competition who can run the farthest/longest
  • Do walking lunges together
  • Mom can do a plank and have child sit on their back
  • Bring a soccer ball and play back and fourth
  • Yoga in the park

What do you think? Will you check out Vander Veer Park this summer?

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