School Groups - Field Trips

Social science and history topics that meet the Illinois State Board of Education’s Learning Standards

A school field trip to the I&M Canal Boat and Lock 16 Center is a fun and engaging way for students to learn about a host of themes: U.S. transportation, westward expansion, technological innovation, immigration, urbanization and more. Tours cover a variety of social science and history topics that meet the Illinois State Board of Education’s Learning Standards.

The Canal Corridor Association can augment the learning opportunities of your trip with grade-specific lesson plans and a one-hour DVD on the history of the I&M Canal. Walking distance from the boat, the Lock 16 Center offers special I&M Canal exhibits and programs, as well as a café and canal-themed gift shop.

The Lock 16 Center and I&M Canal Boat are conveniently located at the junction of I-80 and I-39, just off U.S. Route 6, and only 10 minutes west of Starved Rock State Park.  Make your reservation today by calling (815)220-1848 or email

The Lock 16 Center and I&M Canal Boat offer one-of-a-kind experiences – and fun – to make your next field trip one your students won’t soon forget!

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Thank you so much for showing us all of the canal. It was so fun. It’s much more fun than social studies. Seeing all the turtles and frogs and snakes was so fun. I never knew that mules were half horse/half donkey. I loved the whole thing! Lauren, 4th Grade Student

Basic I&M Canal Boat Visit

1.5 hours – $400 

A I&M Canal Boat tour includes a 15-minute Mule Tending 101 Class, where students will learn how the mules that pull the canal boat are cared for, and a 60-minute narrated ride on the LaSalle Canal Boat with crew dressed in period clothing and a guide.

May – October
Available 9:00AM-3:00PM
70 passengers per ride

Enhanced I&M Canal Boat Visit

2 hours – 

In addition to what’s included in the Basic Visit, students will go on a 30-minute guided silhouette walk and meet 13 “people” connected with the I&M Canal, including Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln, Wild Bill Hickok, and Chief Shabbona, among others.

May – October
Available 9:00AM-3:00PM
70 passengers per ride.

Smaller Groups

If your group is interested in visiting without renting the entire boat, group fares for students are $8 per person. One teacher rides free for every 20 students.  Chaperone fares for school groups are $13 per person. Add $1 per person for the silhouette walk.

Please make reservations as soon as possible to guarantee your seats. A city park with a shelter is adjacent to the site with ample room for a picnic lunch. Bring your own lunch or let the Lock 16 Café provide a picnic lunch. Please make prior arrangements for lunches of 10 or more.


Call (815)220-1848 to reserve a group tour for your class today.

 Grant Application & Requirements


Canal Commissioner ($5,000+)

Boat Captain ($2,500-4,999)

Fairmount Santrol

Illinois Cement

Walmart – Spring Valley

Locktender ($2,499-1,000)

Kinder Morgan

Mule Tender ($250-999)

Burke Engineering, LTD

James Hardie

Helco Corporation

Mr. & Mrs. Henry & Laurel Maze

Michael Mattingly

Michael Hinz

Walmart – Ottawa

Walmart – Peru

Deckhand ($249-$25)

Centure Bank

Mr & Mrs. Gary & Susan Roy

Mr. & Mrs. Greg & Janice Stanmar

Joan Bledig

Joliet Area Historical Museum

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