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Illinois Waterway Visitor Center

Certificate of Excellence
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Address: 950 N 27th Rd, Starved Rock Lock and Dam, Ottawa, IL 61350-9735
Phone Number:
+1 815-667-4054
Website
Today
09:00 - 17:00
Open now
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Hours:
Sun - Sat 09:00 - 17:00

TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 59 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 39
    Excellent
  • 16
    Very good
  • 4
    Average
  • 0
    Poor
  • 0
    Terrible
Watching barge go thru lock.

Saw a tug boat with barge go thru the lock.very cool! It took about 30 mins from start to finish No Eagles when we were there.

Reviewed 4 weeks ago
gsquaredUrbana_IL
,
Urbana, Illinois
via mobile
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59 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 59: English reviews
Urbana, Illinois
Level Contributor
115 reviews
58 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

Saw a tug boat with barge go thru the lock.very cool! It took about 30 mins from start to finish No Eagles when we were there.

Helpful?
Thank gsquaredUrbana_IL
Kevin E, Park Ranger at Illinois Waterway Visitor Center, responded to this review

Thanks for the pictures. We always enjoy seeing the photos of what people find interesting. See you next winter for eagles! More 

Lake in the Hills, Illinois
Level Contributor
21 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 March 2017

Nice visitors center with small museum and hands-on activities. We were lucky to see a barge moving through the locks - might not been so exciting without. Bonus-you can also get a cancellation stamp here for you National Park Passport!

Helpful?
Thank matteson18
Kevin E, Park Ranger at Illinois Waterway Visitor Center, responded to this review

Glad you were able to see the lock in action! Thank you for visiting and sharing your experience. More 

Mishawaka, Indiana
Level Contributor
51 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 13 February 2017

We stopped in hoping to see the eagles fly - nah - too windy. However we did watch the lock system at work when a barge came through. The vantage point is very good, there is plenty of posted information on how everything works and the staff there was quite friendly. Take your kids here!

Helpful?
Thank tal5418
Kevin E, Park Ranger at Illinois Waterway Visitor Center, responded to this review

Thank you for visiting us and the great rating. We do have a great spot to see either bald eagles or barges, depending on the day. I appreciate your kind words about the staff and will pass them on. More 

Northbrook, Illinois
Level Contributor
121 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 January 2017

A small place packing a lot to see and do. This special weekend had speakers, exhibitors and presentations in coordination with Starved Rock visitor center and lodge. Here, we listened to an Audobon enactor with a rep from Illinois Raptor Center who introduced us to a snowy owl, a peregrine falcon and a red-shouldered hawk. A rep from the kickapoo... More 

Helpful?
Thank Merrill M
Kevin E, Supervisory Park Ranger at Illinois Waterway Visitor Center, responded to this review

Merrill: Thank you for the review, I am glad you were able to visit us during the Bald Eagle Watch Weekend. Maybe next year the weather will be more cooperative and freeze the river for us. I am passing your comment about difficulty maneuvering on to our event coordinator. Appreciate you letting us know. More 

Barrington, Illinois
Level Contributor
752 reviews
274 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 267 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 October 2016

Just good for a quick stop. Nice little museum of the locks and nature. Staff was very knowledgable about the river, traffic, and the history of the canal.

Helpful?
1 Thank JohntheLast
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 October 2016

A fun place to visit. During the season bald eagles are seen in nearby trees. Pelicans also abound near the dam. At various times you can witness a barge going through the locks. Good place for a family to spend a little time.

Helpful?
1 Thank Robert A
Cicero, Illinois
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 October 2016

The view from the observation deck is incredible. The Corps of Engineers guy was really well versed, as he should be, on everything I asked about the Illinois waterway system. This is well worth a detour for an hour of education and entertainment.

Helpful?
Thank nicholask610
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 5 October 2016 via mobile

A visit to the Illinois Waterway is a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours. We were fortunate to have a barge come in during the visit, and I spent the entire time talking with a gentleman who was working on the barge. He was able to explain so much about travel on the Waterway and along the Mississippi.... More 

Helpful?
Thank Barbara H
Chicago, Illinois
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 27 September 2016

Stopped here while staying at Starved Rock Lodge. Great place to watch Bald Eagles in winter. If you go during Audubon season (Jan/Feb), there will be folks set up with high power binoculars & telescopes. Great eagle viewing.

Helpful?
1 Thank handyman4chicago
Kevin E, Park Ranger at Illinois Waterway Visitor Center, responded to this review

Glad you were able to stop by and looking forward to seeing you this winter. We are currently keeping a watch on those American White Pelicans too! More 

Greenville, Illinois
Level Contributor
38 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 September 2016

Thrilled to find out this place was still open to the public after a disappointing 2015 on the Mississippi River with a few of their locks off-limits now. You can get SO close to the locking vessels and with the long indoor/outdoor observation deck, it's an all weather show. Unfortunately the hour we had to spend, there were no locking... More 

Helpful?
1 Thank Becky C
Kevin E, Supervisory Park Ranger at Illinois Waterway Visitor Center, responded to this review

Thanks for the review and glad you visited us. We sure enjoy the best view of Starved Rock from our side of the river! More 

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Questions & Answers

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  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?