We took a family trip out to the Melvin Price Lock and Dam. It is the 26th lock and dam on the Mississippi river located in Alton, Illinois. Since I’m constantly fascinated with the rivers, I decided that it would be a nice family trip. We needed something to do and they have free tours of the dam throughout the day.
The visitor’s center is quite impressive. There are many interactive things to do there. The kids quickly realized that this was going to be more fun than they realized and took off to get their hands on some of the exhibits. One of our most favorite things was the drive a barge. The outside looked like the top of the tug, inside it had three large monitors simulating the view out of the barge. There were throttle and steering controls. We each took numerous turns driving through the simulations and had a great time.
The best part for me was taking the physical tour of the facility. This involved taking an elevator up a tower, walking out across about 80 feet above the water, then taking an elevator back down to a viewing platform. In the viewing office, we were fortunate enough to see a 1,000 foot barge lock through the damn. It is quite amazing to see it go through!
After we finished, we drove the Great River Road a bit before heading back home. I would recommend this tour to anybody interested in the river. Its a great price and quite entertaining!