When I was young my family didn’t do a lot of traveling. We spent a lot of time at home during the summers and spring break. We did occasionally go camping in central Florida for Christmas when the weather was typically more dry and temperatures cooler. The first time I traveled farther than Ocala, Forida was when I was 17 and we drove to Iowa for the State Fair.
As an adult, I would love to travel more and share these experiences with my own children. When we drove to Iowa to see some family we didn’t have much time to stop on our way to and from because of my husbands work. We did squeeze in a quick stop on St Louis, Missouri on our way home though. As we passed St Louis to Iowa my husband mentioned that he’d never been inside the Gateway Arch and it would be cool to do it sometimes. Well, hello! He doesn’t ask for much so I said we should definitely do it on our way home if he wanted.
We did stop in St Louis, for less than two hours on our way back to Florida. The night before we stopped about forty-five minutes from the arch outside of St Louis and in the morning we drove right there. We parked in the city within walking distance from the arch, it was a pretty sketchy area surprisingly. Our truck was nearly too tall to fit! A car we were parked next to was super dusty and had some bullet holes in it (I’m laughing just thinking about this).
Saturday morning doesn’t seem to be a busy time in the city, the streets were quiet and there was not much of a line at the arch. I bought the tickets on my phone the night before. I would buy the tickets online since they are not selling them “on location” right now. To get to the arch (right now as there’s construction) you have to walk into the park next to the church. There is security at the entrance, and no knives or guns are allowed as well as drinks. It is like airport security. The foyer has a welcome desk, art gallery, vending machines, and gift shop.
We got our tickets scanned and got into line! When it was our turn the entire group we were with watched a short film that shows/tells about the things that have happened since the building of the arch. They mentioned that no one was killed in the construction and is six hundred thirty feet tall.
The Arch is located at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and you can put their stamp in your National Park and Monument Passport. You can read all about how tall, wide, the number of supports, and just about everything to do with the arch on their FAQ page.
The arch is not nearly as tall or impressive as the Burj Khalifa, which I’ve been in (2,717ft tall), but it is such a cool structure and piece of America. It’s worth a visit.
To get to the top of the arch you get into what we told our kids was a kind of egg that gets pulled up. It felt kinda rickety and retro in there. But quite cool considering that the Arch was made in the 60s. It’s hard to tell from the ground but the top is not as spacious as it looks. If the eggs are all full going up then you might have to be careful not to bump right into everyone while taking pictures.
The view is pretty neat ( I can’t get over how small the city looks compared to Dubai!). When we were leaving it was pouring outside. We didn’t know how long it would be raining so we ran to the church and waited on the steps for a bit. The kids were soaked and we had a good laugh until they were crying because they were scared. It was fun though. My husband ended up running to get the car and pick us up from the church. From there we got back on the road and ate McDonald’s for breakfast.
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