Here we are my friends and me,on the very small lift that taked us to top of the Arch. It spent about 3 minutes to reach the top,and it is not too fast!! :-)
Above you will find a corridor with small windows at both sides,and you can see some beautiful views of St. Louis and also the river and boats.
There is a separate VT space for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial National Historic Site which includes the Gateway Arch and the Museum of Westward Expansion. I was just going to write my tips there, but I was afraid they would get overlooked, so I'm writing them for St. Louis too.
This is a Historical site where I could get my National Park passport stamped. After we drove around the whole park, we parked in the garage and walked to the arch. Unfortunately, while I had my cane, I left my Golden Age card and the NPS passport in the car. So I had to get a stamp on a piece of paper, and we also had to pay full price for going up in the arch. The arch is NOT handicapped accessible as there are steps to get down to the visitor's center, and also up to the cars. (photo 4)
The views from the top (photo 2) were amazing, and while we were there some workmen came and opened up the floor and consulted the blueprints (photo 3). We went down in the 12:46 car (takes 3 minutes going down),
If you visit St. Louis, that is the must see attraction, but I am not sure I would recommend going up to the top for everyone. I personally did not like being up there, and I am not usually at all afraid of heights. It made me uncomfortable to sit in the little elevator, and to be up there with not much room. We did get some cool photos from the top.
In the bottom of the arch is a nice museum about the early pioneers that went west and lived in the area.
Be prepared to wait a long time to get in the arch, if you plan on doing so.
As the most recognized symbol of St. Louis, any traveler must see the Gateway Arch. At the top of the arch, one looks down 630 feet over the city, the Mississippi River and beyond.
A warning for anyone with claustrophobia: the ride to the top requires a four minute ride in a very small, egg-shaped capsule that holds four people. It is very claustrophobic. Now I know how Mork from Ork must've felt...
Don't miss it.
Since we were only in St. Louis for a day and boat cruises were not in operation on a winter day, we decided to explore the monumental Gateway Arch that can be seen from anywhere around downtown St. Louis.
Down the Arch is the Museum of Westward Expansion.
There were interesting exhibitions of how men lived and survived in the 1800s and replicas of the wagon and animals they used. See giant murals of historical figures and read about how Lewis and Clark explored the land. You can explore it for a good 45 minutes or you can decide to take the tram up the arch (for a fee).
Museum Admission is free. Open 9 am - 5pm (Winter) and 8 am - 5pm (Summer).
Stainless steel and 630 feet above the ground. This structure can sways 1/2" - 1" in 20 mph wind. Wow.
Summer hours - 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Arch trams will run daily starting at 8:30 a.m. and ending at 9:10 p.m.
Winter hours - 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week from Labor Day through Memorial Day. Arch trams will run daily starting at 9:20 am and ending at 5:10 pm.
Trams leave at least every 10 minutes, and it's a tight fit in the tram.
Tram tickets: $10 adults (17 & older), $7 youth (13 - 16), $3 children (3 - 12)
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There is no fee to view the Museum of Westward Expansion. It's a good thing to see and do if you have to wait for your tram ride to the top of the arch. The displays offer a peek into the area of the West that awaited Louis & Clark during their exploration. There is a very good movie about the ships that the explorers used on their voyage.
You can reach the top of the arch from where you’ll get an unbeatable view on Saint Louis’ skyline. Therefore, you have to buy a ticket that gives access to a sort of little lift, where you can sit, and that brings you to the top in 4 minutes. It was quite a strange feeling, as it goes all the way up step by step :-) The view from up there is really worth it...
Much like the Eiffel tower is to Paris, or the Statue of Liberty is to New York, the Gateway Arch is the icon of St. Louis - as such, you will probably find yourself taking MANY photos of it. Interestingly enough, the Arch changes with time of day, and proximity, and vantage point. A marvel of engineering, modern, graceful - and it is still hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact you can travel inside it!
Since I am claustrophobic, I really wish someone had warned me about the ride to the top of the Gateway Arch. I looked at the website, but got as far as the statement "trams leave every 10 minutes". I have in my head what a tram looks/feels like. It was nothing like what I had in my head. The "tram" is, in fact, a 5-person pod - very close quarters. I tried to maintain my composure so as to not frighten the child who was in the same pod. I closed my eyes and concentrated on my breathing. The four minutes it took to get to the top seemed to take forever, and I banged my head on the lowered door as I rushed to escape the pod.
I remember very little about being at the top. I must have looked out of the windows, because I have photos on my camera. My racing heart, flushed and sweating face, and the beginnings of a pounding headache all combined to keep me there less time than it took to get there. I'm including a photo of me taken at the top - it kinda looks like I am smiling, but you can see the watery eyes, the sheen of sweat, and the flushed skin on my face. This is not the look of someone having a good time. And worse, you have to go down the same way...
I made it there and back. It took me a good 30 minutes to calm down afterward. I won't do it again.
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