What To Do In The I&M Canal National Heritage Area In April


Bike the Canal!

I&M Canal Bike Share Opens April 1

Tired of hauling a heavy bike to a far-flung destination? Then get ready to break out of the house and hit the scenic trails of the Illinois & Michigan Canal using the I&M Canal Bike Share! Starting Thursday, April 1, rent a bike on the spot and begin your I&M Canal adventure at LaSalle, Morris, Channahon, Lockport, or Midewin for just $5/hr. Explore them all as each section of the trail has its own unique stories, scenery, canal structures, and historic sites.

Earlybird Promotion I&M Canal Bike Share Ends April 1
Sign up early to receive $1 off rentals through June 2021!
To sign up, get the Movatic app now! In the app, find the menu and go to Memberships. Search for “canal” and add the free I&M Canal Bike Share Membership (password: 1848) to receive the promotion.


Explore the Exhibits!

Where do you begin your I&M Canal National Heritage Area adventures? Look no further than the I&M Canal Visitor Center, which will open to welcome you on Thursday, April 1.

The visitor center features new interpretive exhibits, information on the exciting attractions and businesses of the IMNCHA, as well as I&M Canal merchandise and gifts. Need a spacious place to gather a small group of family and friends? The visitor center also features a vintage room for small event rentals.

I&M Canal Visitor Center Opens April 1


Stamp Your Passport! (with the IMCNHA Passport Program)

Now it is officially Spring and the sun and warmth beckon. Open those doors! Get out! Explore! But where could you explore?

Dust off your passport! Search for an exciting new place, then get out and enjoy the I&M Canal National Heritage Area! We are resuming the Passport Program through August 23, 2021. We challenge you to collect stamps in your passport at the following participating sites open this April!:

Passport Sites Open:
Canal Origins Park/Boathouse | M-F 9-5
St. James of the Sag Church | W-F 9-3
Downtown Lemont/Inn at Smokey Row | M-F 11-8, Sat 11-6, Sun 11-5
Isle a la Cache Museum | T-Sat 10-4, Sun 12-4
Gaylord Building | T-F 9-5, Sat 12-5
Will County Historical Museum & Research Center | W-Sun 12-4
Four Rivers Environmental Education Center | T-Sat 10-4, Sun 12-4
Grundy County Historical Museum | Th-Sat 10-3
Downtown Morris/Morris Chop Shop | W 4-8, Th-F 4-9, Sat 12-9, Sun 3-8
Ottawa Visitor Center | M-F 9-5, Sat 10-3
Reddick Mansion | F-M, 11-1
Hegeler Carus Mansion | W-Sat
I&M Canal Visitor Center/Downtown LaSalle | F-T 9-3
Westclox Museum | M,W,F, Sat, 10-2

Passport Sites with Stamps by Appointment:
Little Red Schoolhouse
Carbon Hill School Museum
Illinois Waterway Visitor Center

With more opening soon!

Pick up your new passport at the above locations or contact us at imcnha@iandmcanal.org. Passports list 35 sites key to the stories of the IMCNHA. Each site lists an easy address to locate the stamp. Have fun and explore!



Illinois National Heritage Areas Update


Besides the Illinois & Michigan Canal National Heritage Area (1984) there are three other national heritage areas:

Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area

The Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area (2008) tells the story of Lincoln’s almost 30 years in Illinois in communities where Lincoln worked, traveled, and lived. Few individuals have so profoundly influenced American history as did Abraham Lincoln. Millions around the world are inspired by the story of Lincoln’s rise from humble beginnings to President of the United States, his qualities of integrity and courage and his decisive leadership traits that carried a fragile nation through one of its most trying periods. 

A portion of the Abraham Lincoln NHA overlaps with the western part of the IMCNHA and Lincoln’s involvement in the early development of the canal overlaps in the stories of both NHAs. 

Bronzeville – Black Metropolis National Heritage Area (Proposed)

The  Bronzeville-Black Metropolis National Heritage Area (proposed 2021) is an historic area of Chicago that highlights African American achievement in arts and culture, business and entrepreneurship, politics, sports, and recreation and also serves as a memorial to the Great Migration of 1910-20, a demographic movement in which approximately 500,000 African Americans migrated north in search of employment and improved life opportunities. 

The boundaries of the Bronzeville-Black Metropolis NHA overlap the IMCNHA and its story connects with several themes, including the I&M Canal Passageway as a magnet for people, and the growth of Chicago as the pre-eminent city in the Midwest.

Calumet National Heritage Area (Proposed)

The Calumet region, at the base of Lake Michigan, contains globally rare natural areas, the nation’s premier heavy industrial district, and distinctive communities that continue to shape the natural and built landscape. Its two urban National Parks — Pullman National Monument and Indiana Dunes National Park — bookend and highlight these contrasting features. Today’s Calumet landscape — taken as an industrial, environmental, and community whole-shows how American life changed during the boom years of industrialization that followed the Civil War and how changes continued through booms and busts in the economy to the present day. 

The boundaries of the Calumet NHA overlap the IMCNHA and its story connects with several themes: a natural pathway from the Great Lake to the Mississippi basin, constructing the I&M Canal, Calumet feeder canals and Cal-Sag Channel, a transportation corridor, a magnet for immigration, a catalyst for the development of Chicago, and the creation of a modern recreation area. 


Thank you to everyone who came to visit the I&M Canal Visitor Center and the I&M Canal Boat in 2020. For this season, we have closed the boat; Larry & Moe, our mules are permanently at their winter quarters. Given…



Teaching kids history is so important! History connects children to their communities, and provides models for good and responsible citizenship. Support the Canal Corridor Association this #Giving Tuesday and help send students on educational field trips to the I&M Canal…