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Lock 16 Visitor Center & LaSalle Canal Boat
Ranked #1 of 10 things to do in LaSalle
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Take a journey back in time aboard the “Volunteer,” a 70-passenger, mule-pulled 1840’s replica canal boat, as it coasts gently up and down the I&M Canal. Bring your camera, grab a snack and something to drink at the Lock 16 Cafe & Visitor Center, and climb aboard for an hour of peaceful, historical fun! Every trip begins with “Mule Tending 101” as our period dressed guides introduce the passengers to their intrepid canal mules, Moe & Joe. The tour guide regales everyone with tales of the canal while the deck hands guide the boat a mile up the canal to the Little Vermillion aqueduct and back. Mary Todd Lincoln has been known to ride the boat, knitting in the corner and telling fantastic stories of her time in the Nation’s capital with Mr. Lincoln. Families of all ages, historians, photographers and nature lovers will love this historic journey into Illinois’ scenic past!
Level 6 Contributor
368 reviews
62 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 137 helpful votes
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
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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139 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Sturminster Newton, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Keel Boating”
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
1 Thank Jonboy16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Huntley, IL
Level 6 Contributor
148 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“"living history" trip and great cafe”
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
2 Thank oceanside-Mary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waukesha, Wisconsin
Level 6 Contributor
108 reviews
42 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
“A "Step Back" into the Past!”
Reviewed August 25, 2012

If you’re ever out for a Weekend ride in the area of North Central Illinois, do yourself and the kids a favor and visit LaSalle, Illinois, and the LaSalle Canal Boat ride where you can “Step Back in History”!
You’ll have a chance to ride in a Mule drawn Canal Boat and hear the history of Illinois Pioneer days and the Illinois-Michigan Canal: A 96 mile long canal running from Chicago to LaSalle, which was dug by hand by Irish Immigrants in1839. The trip lasts about an hour and well worth the time! And, least I forget; you’ll get to meet “Moe and Larry” the “Motive Power” of the Canal Boat. And according to "Jack the Canal Boy" Moe and Larry ARE Potty Trained!
Tickets are purchased just north of the Canal at the “Lock 16 Visitor Center” at 754 First Street in Downtown LaSalle and after the trip head back up to the visitor’s center for a Sandwich or Ice Cream.
You can take a peek at: http://www.lasallecanalboat.org/

Visited August 2012
Thank danheibler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Freeport, Illinois
Level 6 Contributor
293 reviews
115 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 108 helpful votes
“Very relaxing”
Reviewed August 10, 2012

2 adults and 4 teens. All of us said it was very nice. The mule was ill the day we went. That was a let down. The stories were very good. We saw good amount of wildlife. Little expensive for what it is but I am glad we did it once.

Visited August 2012
1 Thank Kev521
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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