When we went to the Quad Cities this fall, our kids were 7 and 9. Fun ages, but in the window between enjoying children’s museums (which they still love) and starting to appreciate science museums geared toward older ages. We went to Putnam Museum in Davenport, Iowa, and found a place that catered both to the children’s museum fans and science center fans in both of them (with a good dash of history and natural history thrown into the mix).
Disclosure: Our visit to the Quad Cities was hosted by Visit Quad Cities. Admission to the Putnam Museum was free thanks to reciprocal memberships I have with my Omaha Children’s Museum membership. All thoughts, opinions and typos are my own.
What to expect at Putnam Museum
The museum is rather large, and at first, may feel a little overwhelming. Where to go to first, was our question. We asked the lady at admissions what she’d recommend for kids and she pointed us toward the science center area, the Egyptian room and said not to miss out on the dinosaur augmented reality screen.
Those were good tips. The science center was the first spacein the museum you walk into, so that was easy to find. In it, kids and adultscould explore 45 hands-on stations. Some were loud, like really loud.
My son was drawn toward exhibits with touch screens, like ones where you could compose music or edit a video.
My daughter probably could’ve spent the entire afternoon “playing” with the dinosaurs. In this room, you could stand in front of a screen and watch dinosaurs walk, crawl or fly by you. It entertained the kids for a long time.
And me. I’ll admit it.
The museum is also part natural history museum, so like I mentioned earlier there’s a room with mummies and artifacts from ancient Egypt. That was an impressive room.
But there were may other areas to see that explore history,especially history as it related to the Quad Cities. In that space, you walked through the history of these rivertowns, all the way back to the time of Native Americans. There’s a kids spacetucked in the back of this exhibit that allowed for dress up and pretend play.
If you have a kid interested in animals around theworld, you’ll encounter displays of animals throughout the museum. The exhibitthat featured river creatures and plants was very well done and interactive.The one with more exotic animals like a polar bear and rhino appeared a littlemore dated.
Things to know about Putnam Museum
We arrived at the end of the day and had about an hour and a half to explore. We saw and played with quite a bit of things in that short period of time. I’d recommend allowing at least two to three hours here.
While we didn’t get to watch anything, there’s also an IMAX theater in the building.
Tip: Putnam Museum is part of the Association of Science &Technology Centers. If you have a membership to another ASTC museum (and inOmaha, that would be Omaha Children’s Museum), you can get free admission for up to four people. This is a great deal! Learn more about reciprocal membership benefits like the the ASTC program here.
Putnam Museum is one of 250+ museums that belong to the ASTC reciprocal membership program. To find out all the kid-friendly museums like it that are within driving distance of Omaha, read this post!
If you go
Where: 1717 W. 12th St., Davenport, Iowa
Plan a Quad Cities Family Trip
Want to visit Putnam Museum along with some other great family-friendly attractions in the Quad Cities (which are Davenport, Bettendorf, Moline and Rock Island)? Read on for some of my favorite places:
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