US Army Corps of Engineers
Detroit District Website

Visitor Center closed until further notice.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District, is taking precautionary measures to protect its workforce and the public, while also remaining committed to serving the nation during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

At this time, the  Soo Locks Visitor Center and Observation Platform in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan will remain closed until further notice. The district continues to monitor the COVID-19 emergency situation and is coordinating with local, state and federal public health officials for updates.

The district will provide additional information to the public as the situation warrants via press releases, social media and this website.

Soo Locks Visitor Center

People have been coming to Sault Sainte Marie since the 1850s to watch boats passing through the locks.  By the 1880s a public park ran alongside the canal and lock with strolling paths, a fountain and places to sit and watch the boats passing.

In 1966, as the second Poe Lock neared completion a Visitor Center was constructed in the Upper Canal Park to serve visitors coming to watch the construction and the boats passing through.  This center expanded in 1995 with the addition of a theater and more exhibit space. 

Open from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. from Mothers Day until mid October every year, exhibits in the center help visitors learn more about how the locks work, the boats that pass through and the role of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the Great Lakes.  Front desk staff post estimated boat schedules in the Visitor Center and maintain a ‘boat schedule hotline’ at 906-253-9290.  Join us on the last Friday in June every year for Engineers Day - the one day each year the public is allowed to visit the lock grounds.

Although the Visitor Center is open seasonally, the park is open year round, from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. in the summer months, 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. in May, September and October and from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. during the winter.

Within the park an observation platform stands alongside the MacArthur Lock providing great views of boats in the locks.  This platform features glassed in areas to protect visitors from inclement weather and a ramp allows access for wheelchairs and strollers.

Boat Schedule Hotline


The boat schedule hotline is updated periodically through the day from 9:30 a.m. until 9 p.m when the Visitor Center is open.

Soo Locks Main Entrance
Music in the Park
Fountain in Lower Canal Park
Soo Locks Visitor Center
Best View in the Soo
Winter maintenance on the MacArthur Lock
Repairing the Owen M. Frederick
Cleaning the locks
2012 shipping season comes to an end
Final upbound ship of the 2012 shipping season
Preparing a tug for repairs
Snowy day on the St. Marys River

The Visitor Center is closed.

The Visitor Center and observation platform are closed until further notice.