Guided Tours & Programs
Lowell National Historical Park offers a wide variety of tours and programs throughout the year. Spaces for tours, especially for boat tours, are limited and reservations are suggested. To make a reservation, call (978) 970-5000.
Trolley tours and walking tours are offered free of charge. Boat tours are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors (62+), $6 for students and youths (age 6-16), and free for children 5 and under. The "Full Works" Boat tour (see below) is an additional $2 for each category.
For boat tours, visitors should arrive at the Visitor Center at 246 Market Street, Lowell, at least 15 minutes before tour start time to purchase their tickets. For trolley and walking tours, visitors should arrive at the Visitor Center about ten minutes before tour start time.
Boat tours are on an open-topped boat, and the tours run rain or shine. For the best tour experience, plan for the weather and be sure to have sunscreen, a hat or other head covering, and plenty of water with you. The specific route for boat tours may change due to the weather or to changing levels of water in the river or the canals. Occasionally, tours may be cancelled due to the weather or water levels. If you have any questions about your tour, please call the park at (978) 970-5000.
Late Spring Tours & Programs, May 25 - June 16, 2013
Who dug the canals? Who laid the stone walls? Who operated the locks and gates? Discover the human stories of the workers who built and operated Lowell's remarkable waterpower system. Find out who is still "working the water" today.
Seasonal- Starting May 25, 2013. 90 Minutes. Tour locks through at Guard Locks and travels out to the Merrimack River.
Discover the diversity and variety of Lowell's stories. Find out about the famous Mill Girls, the technology that powered the mills, the ways that immigrants have contributed to the industrial city, and how all of these have shaped both the city's past and its present.
Seasonal- Starting June 16, 2013. 40 minutes. Free. Monday - Friday, meet at the Boott Cotton Mills Museum. Weekends, meet at the Visitor Center.
Explore the breadth and depth of Lowell's history with a brief ranger presentation at one of our historic locations. Topics change daily and could range from labor strikes to turbine technology to the impact of industrialization on the environment. Talks are 10-15 minutes, with time for questions following the talk.
Boott Mills Museum Second Floor at 11 a.m., and 3:30 p.m. (Free with Admission). At Mill Girls & Immigrants Exhibit at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. (Free)
Lowell was the Silicon Valley of the early 19th century-a center of innovation, invention, and new technology. Learn about the great experiments, feats of engineering, and creative problem solving that made Lowell successful. Discover how that same spirit of innovation continues to shape the city today.
Seasonal- Starting June 17. Two hours. Tour locks through Guard Locks, travels to the river and includes a short walk to the Pawtucket Gatehouse.
Controlling Nature Trolley Tour
Tour "The River Transformed" exhibit and find out how Lowell's founders harnessed the power of nature to drive the mills. Follow the transfer of power from the canals through the turbines, gears, belts, driveshafts, and pulleys, to the power looms.
Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. One hour. Free. Meet at the Visitor Center. Tour includes a short walk to visit "The River Transformed" exhibit.
Explore Lowell's canal system and understand how it helped transform a rural farming village into a busy urban industrial center. Travel along the old Pawtucket Canal and trace the changes along its banks over the last two hundred years. Discover how Lowell's industrial landscape is still evolving today.
Seasonal- Starting June 22, 2013. 90 Minutes. Tour visits Guard Locks (with a short walk to explore the locks), and locks through the double lock chamber at Swamp Locks, with a trolley ride to or from Lower Locks.
Discover the relationships between the canals, the mills, and the workers on this comprehensive tour of Lowell's waterpower system. Explore Lowell's many waterways, gatehouses, and mill complexes.
Offered on July 13 & 21, August 4 & 17 at 2:30 p.m. Three hours. The Full Works Tour often fills up in advance- call for reservations (978) 970-5000.
Did You Know?
The population of Lowell grew dramatically during the years of industrial expansion-rising from about 2,500 in 1826 to more than 33,000 in 1850, when Lowell was the second largest city in Massachusetts.