This is the park and museum complex along the Mississippi River downtown that includes the Gateway Arch (see tip on that). It has a large park along the waterfront and one can go into the museum underground where one also gets to take an elevator to the top of the arch or watch movies. It includes the old courthouse (the green-domed white neo-classicial building near the arch - no, that is not a state capitol building, although some people think it is, even though St Louis has never been the state capital).
Once I calmed down from my ordeal ascending the arch, I was able to walk thru this museum. As part of the National Park Service, the museum is FREE and very very interesting. Taxidermied buffalo, longhorn steer, horse, and other indigenous animals were fascinating to the children, and several animatronic figures brought historical figures to life. The museum is rather comprehensive, and is very well done.
If you are a NPS Passport holder - the stamping location is inside the gift shop.
We were advised to be at the arch about 9AM on a Monday morning. That was very good advice. The traffic in town was minimal and there was plenty of parking once we realized where the parking lot was located.
We bought our ticket and immediately got in our spot for our ride up the tram. There were no lines and no waiting. Each tram hold five people. Our tram only had one other couple so there was an empty seat. There is not a lot of need to spend a great deal of time up there. It's quite amazing to be able to look both ways - east over the Mississippi to Illinois and west over the flatlands of Missiouri.
We bought a ticket for the movie about the construction of the arch when we bought our tram ticket. I did not have any idea how long the arch has been the symbol of "the gateway to the West" The movie told the incredible and interesting story. Not one life was lost during the construction of the arch.
I was pleasantly surprised by this museum. It does a nice job of portraying the Western movement and history.
It is definetly worth walking around while waiting to go up the Arch. This museum is below the ground and has a very nice gift shop.
At Museum of Westward Expansion of Who's Who in the American Indian Peace Medal Exhibit, I was impressed by the giant size photographic potraits of famous Native American Indians and others.
There are famous players including William Clark (Indian Agent), Red Cloud (Chief of the Oglala Sioux), Sergeant Banks (10th U.S. Cavalry), Charles Barber (Chief Engraver of U.S. Mint).
Great place to see how the West was won and the exploration of Lewis and Clark's Great Journey West from Mid West to the Pacific Ocean. Not to be missed.
When St. Louis is mentioned, the famous Gateway Arch soaring skyward is always conjured up in ones imagination. The Arch is the central focus of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.
t is the tallest man-made monument in the USA, towering 630 feet high. Its gleaming, curved stainless steel is a work of art. The monument was designed by the Finnish-American architect, Eero Saarinen, as a tribute to the "soaring mind" of Thomas Jefferson and as a graphic representation of St. Louis's historic role as the "Gateway to the West."
Since November 11th, security has increased immensely. Be prepared to stand in line (as in the airport) and to go through the X-ray. My ankle bracelet set off the alarm!
Before going on the tram to the observation room, be sure to see the Academy Award nominated Documentary which shows how workers built the Gateway Arch. It's an incredible movie.
The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial also includes the historic Old Courthouse (11 North Fourth St.) where the Dred and Harriett Scott case began. In addition, you can board the NEW Gateway Arch Riverboats and discover the legendary Mississippi River.
We took the Metrolink Light Rail from Union Station to the Arch/Laclede's Landing Station, paying $4.00 for an all-day pass.
Of course, the Arch is the dominant landmark today of St. Louis and most tourists pay a visit to ride the cable car to the top. Oooo! High! From the windows to the west you look down on the Old Courthouse where the Dred Scott decision was handed down.
There is an excellent little museum on the Oregon Trail (the trailhead was in St. Louis) and the Lewis Clark Expedition. It seems our country was built on shrewd real estate deals: Manhattan, Louisiana Purchase and Alaska.
I'd been wanting to go to St. Louis for a long time, I really wanted to get to see the Gateway to the West Arch. I was surprised to see that McDonald's hasn't bought it and painted it yellow!!!!!! :o)
The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park was established on the banks of the Mississippi River, on December 21, 1935, to commemorate the westward growth of the United States between 1803 and 1890. Cost for the $30 million national monument was shared by the federal government and the City of St. Louis. The park features the Gateway Arch, designed by architect Eero Saarinen who won the design competition in 1947. The stainless steel structure rises 630 feet high from a 60-foot foundation and spans 630 feet at ground level. Its classic weighted catenary curve sways 1/2' - 1' in 20 mph wind. Construction on the nation's tallest memorial began in 1961 with the 'topping out' in 1965 and dedication in 1966. The floor plan of the Underground Visitor Center follows a circular pattern with galleries depicting a 100-year span of westward expansion and the Tucker Theatre. Additional attractions include two passenger trams to the observation room at the top and the Museum of Westward Expansion.Please check my travelogue on 'More pictures of another one of world's wonders'
You should not only see the Arch, but the museum under the Arch. It's called the Jefferson Expansion Memorial due to the history. There's info on pioneers and all that good stuff.
If you go to the top of the Arch, it sways back and forth.
They have about 2 miles of walkways along the river. That is where the arch is located, but also some other boats. Many events pack this huge area of the Memorial during the year
Average Time of Visit:
Hours - Winter:
9/8/09 - 5/28/10
9:20am to 5:10pm
Hours - Summer:
5/29/10 - 9/6/10
8:20am to 9:10pm