LA SALLE - The I&M Canal Boat is now welcoming back visitors for the 2021 season. “The Volunteer” is a mule-pulled 1840s replica canal boat. Every trip begins with “Mule Tending 101” as period-dressed guides introduce the passengers to Moe the mule. Tales of the canal are told while the deck hand, mule tender, and boat captain guide the boat one mile up the canal to the Little Vermillion aqueduct and back in an hour-long adventure.
Boat rides are typically available Friday-Sunday at 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Rides cost $20 for adults, $17 for seniors, and $9 for kids; group pricing is also offered. In addition, various weekdays are available; for a full schedule and more information, check out iandmcanal.org/experiences/canal-boat/. Riders can purchase tickets online, pick them up at the I&M Canal Visitor Center in LaSalle and then walk or drive down to the boat. The Visitor Center has café beverages, gifts, exhibits, and a limited food menu.
“The I&M Canal Boat is a great starting place for exploring the I&M Canal National Heritage Area,” explains Canal Corridor Association Executive Director, Ana Koval. “You get to learn about how vital the canal was to making northern Illinois the key crossroads of the American mid-continent and the rise of Chicago from a canal port to the greatest city of the American heartland. Then you can explore 44 other sites that tie into this story, including canal town downtowns, trails, natural areas, monuments, and museums.”
Designated by Congress, the Canal Corridor Association is the only local coordinating entity for the Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Area. The CCA is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization tasked with maintaining and enhancing the historic, cultural, and natural resources of the I&M Canal National Heritage Area.
The Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Area is an outdoor museum where visitors can explore the diverse stories of this living landscape. It is a place to walk in the footsteps of Native Americans, French explorers and voyagers, canal workers and immigrants and to discover why the I&M Canal led to Illinois becoming the nation’s most populous inland state and Chicago becoming the greatest city of the American heartland.