Each year, hundreds of school groups visit the John Deere Pavilion in downtown Moline, Illinois. Through a series of state-of-the-art exhibits, students experience the history of John Deere, the man, and the growth of John Deere, the company. 

The pavilion features a variety of fun and informative hands-on exhibits about Deere & Company’s global businesses and products, its history and its heritage. In addition to learning from the many exhibits and displays, students touch and see combines, dozers, excavators and forestry machines, and can climb into machines to get behind the wheels of innovation.

“As one of our core values, innovation is critical to the success of John Deere,” said Brigitte Tapscott, manager of the John Deere Attractions. “But for innovation to thrive, there must be dynamic educational opportunities to teach and inspire our next generation of innovators. At the John Deere Pavilion and other attractions, we invest in projects that offer stimulating, rewarding and pioneering educational experiences for youth.”

Students of all ages love the interactive qualities the exhibits offer, Tapscott said. But by far, middle school and high school students enjoy the product simulators the most. They can test their skills on state-of-the-art simulators, which look, sound and feel like the real machines. Currently, simulators include a crawler dozer, an excavator and a loader.

Product simulator, John Deere Pavilion, Moline, Ill. Credit: John Deere & Company
Product simulator, John Deere Pavilion, Moline, Ill.
Credit: John Deere & Company

Older students also enjoy learning about technology and innovation, and they will see several concept machines on display exclusively at the pavilion. 

“The John Deere Pavilion is a place where students can apply what they learn at school — in science, technology, geography and biology — to how it affects our world and how everything we do is ultimately linked to the land,” Tapscott said. “We also offer a unique environment where students learn about the big challenges facing a growing global population, and ways Deere & Company and others are working to help address these challenges. More importantly, we hope it offers inspiration for students to become our next generation of great innovators.”

Since the pavilion opened more than 20 years ago, it has consistently been a top attraction in the Quad Cities and Illinois.

Educators may want to consider packaging a tour for middle and high-school students to include a Deere factory tour, a visit the Deere Family Homes and/or a trip to the John Deere Historic site in Grand Detour, Illinois, and the Tractor & Engine Museum in Waterloo, Iowa. n

For more information on the John Deere Pavilion go to visitjohndeere.com.

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David Hoekman is a former newspaperman on a quest to tell the stories of the world’s various places and cultures in compelling ways. He especially enjoys learning and writing about the business of group travel. His favorite destination is wherever he is going next and his travel tip is to always pack an emergency granola bar or two.