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“Next stop: 1848, LaSalle, Illinois” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Lock 16 Visitor Center & LaSalle Canal Boat

Lock 16 Visitor Center & LaSalle Canal Boat
754 First Street, La Salle, IL 61301
+1 815-223-1851
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Ranked #2 of 7 Attractions in La Salle
Type: Historic Sites, Sightseeing Tours
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Attraction details
Owner description: 1.5 hour LaSalle Canal Boat experience includes a one-hour ride on an 1848 replica canal boat on the I&M Canal and a Mule Tending 101 class. Open May-early Nov. Period clothed guides and crew entertain you with stories of the historic I&M Canal. Accessible dock and boat. Adult $14, Senior $12, Youth $8 Child (under 3) Free. Visitor Center open year round-cafe, gift shop, meeting room, special events, visitor information, free wi-fi.
Chicago, Illinois
Top Contributor
93 reviews 93 reviews
58 attraction reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
75 helpful votes 75 helpful votes
“Next stop: 1848, LaSalle, Illinois”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2012

We've been to Starved Rock many times over the years (who hasn't who has lived or grew up in Illinois?) but I never knew about the Canal Boat in LaSalle.

We happened to take our towns Park District day bus trip to Starved Rock and this boat trip was included as part of the package.

You board a replica of a historic Canal Boat and, while being pulled by a Mule named Moe, are given a history lesson by the people who work the boat about its origin and how the canal finally came about. The Lady that spoke to us wanted to be called "Mrs Lincoln" (she was very much in character and a fun person to listen to) and, like everyone else who worked there, was dressed in period clothing.

The boat glides silently and effortlessly along behind the mule who walks along on a towpath on the right hand side of the canal, led by another employee. The ride takes about 30-45 minutes. You travel about two miles, go across a Aquaduct, and then after a short 10 minute rest stop for the Mule, he is taken to the stern, hitched up and we are then pulled "backward" to our starting point.

The boat has two levels, the lower completely enclosed. They do allow you to sit up on the top level for a wonderful view of the canal and it surroundings. They can accomodate people in wheelchairs also. The trip is seasonal, with the closing date the end of October.

There is one of the last working locks, located on the I&M Canal, at this site that you can view also.
We took the trip on a Tuesday and because it was a little late in the year, and we were such a big group, we didn't encounter any other tourists.
We never got to see the gift shop.

Smooth and serene, with wonderful picture taking opportunities, I think it was well worth the money spent on keeping a little bit of Illinois history alive for future generations.

PS Please, if you go, don't forget to bring a little "treat" for Moe or his team mate, Larry. A piece of carrot or a Apple will do. He's very gentle and much loved. For a thirty year old Mule he looks "just Marvelous"!

Visited October 2012
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38 reviews from our community

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  • English first
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English first
Oglesby, Illinois
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Downtown LaSalle”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2012

You will find a lot of very unique items in the gift store. Reasonably priced. Excellent selection of sandwiches for lunch. Nothing fancy but a nicesize sandwich and cup of tea for a very reasonable price

Visited July 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicagoland
Top Contributor
235 reviews 235 reviews
36 attraction reviews
Reviews in 78 cities Reviews in 78 cities
89 helpful votes 89 helpful votes
“LEARN SOME REAL HISTORY”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2012

This is a mule-drawn canal boat that takes you up and down the canal as the tour guide talks about how it was "back in the day" of river travel and canal travel in the mid-1800s. A relaxing quiet ride even tho when we took it, it was chilly out.

Not a year-round attraction. They end on October 31st and then start back up in the Spring.

Visited October 2012
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Sturminster Newton, United Kingdom
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Keel Boating”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2012

While we were visiting the Starved Rock area in Illinois we had the opportunity to take a ride on a replica narrow boat as used in the 19th century to to transport goods through the canal pulled by a mule. The I & M canal was completely dug by hand using Irish labourers and has been restored by volunteers. The ride is a gentle trip of about 1 hour and narrated by the crew telling the history of the canal and its eventual demise and is part of the Starved Rock experience.

Visited September 2012
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Huntley, IL
Top Contributor
93 reviews 93 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
“"living history" trip and great cafe”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2012

The canal boat was interpreted by "Mary Todd Lincoln" who did a wonderful job of telling the passengers how the boats operated in 1848. The boat is pulled by a mule and you can get "up close and personal"" with Mo or Larry before the trip -- the animals are well cared for and kept company by Curley the goat. Well worth the cost of the ticket. The Lock 16 Visitors Center is a "hidden gem" Food was good and great value. We had a double dip ice cream for $2.50 -- locally made ice cream. Lunch was excellent and the menu had a good variety of choices. The gift shop had many interesting and unique items and prices seemed reasonable. The cafe and boat were very clean and the people who worked there seemed to enjoy their jobs. We highly recommend this trip.

Visited August 2012
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