Visited: November 2020
Accommodations: Driving from home to Gatlinburg, TN this was a stop on the way
Duration: 3-4 hours
This National Park was a great stopping point on our way to our final destination of Great Smokey Mountains National Park. During Covid we got so bored being quarantined and working from home we started answering telemarketing calls. My husband won a free weekend in Gatlinburg if we listened to a time share spiel. What else were we going to do this year?? We signed up and we are on the way.
We parked on the street over by the Old Courthouse and wandered around. The Courthouse was closed for visitors to the park but the Arch was open. The Courthouse is still beautiful to get pictures around the outside. There is an amazing park to relax at just to the West of it and a great place for pictures.
We usually get a National Park sign at the entrance to the park. We look all over and this one pictured below was all we could find. If you know of one let us know, we would go back.
We wandered on over to the Arch and it was like trying to get in to Fort Knox. My goodness this place was like being at the airport and going through TSA. It took some time but……..They let us in! Woo Hoo. We purchased tickets ahead of time to go to the top of the arch, we watched the movie Monument to the Dream (it was really good, I highly recommend this), we hit the gift shop, and we visited the museum while doing our Junior Ranger. The Junior Ranger was a tough one, it takes a lot of work and looking for the answers in the museum.
The museum is gorgeous and wonderfully done. It is divided into 6 areas; Jefferson’s Vision, Riverfront Era, Building the Arch, Colonial St. Louis, Manifest Destiny and New Frontiers. As you go through the museum you will need to complete one activity in each of the six galleries to earn your Junior Ranger.
If you aren’t doing the Junior Ranger the museum is still a really neat place to walk through. We really enjoyed the Building the Arch section. Also I am going to highly recommend watching the film Monument to the Dream. It was nicely done and kept my kids attention the whole time. Amazing how this Arch went from an idea to being built to becoming a National Park and Gateway to the West.
After we had hit all of the good stops we saved the best for last. The ride to the top. Here we are waiting for our little tin box to take us up 630 feet into the air. It takes 4 minutes to go up and 3 minutes going down.
We all crammed in and made it to the top. See below for some of our views of St. Louis. On a clear day you can see 30 miles from the top. Highlight was seeing the Cardinals baseball stadium.
Gateway Arch is the tallest human built monument in the US.
It is 630 feet tall and 630 feet wide at the base.
The Arch is designed to sway up to 18 inches in high winds or an earthquake.
This park was formally known as Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (1935) and in 2018 became a National Park named Gateway Arch National Park
There were 172 proposal designs, Eero Saarinen’s proposal was chosen.
Construction costs totaled 13 million dollars.
We made it down from the top, earned our Junior Ranger badges, got our Passports stamped in the gift shop and we are headed East to Tennessee for the night.
Not bad for a days work. This was a nice park to visit, we really enjoyed our stop here, we have driven by so many times it made it fun to stop and see it.
Hope you enjoyed our visit. Have you been to the Arch?? It’s pretty amazing once you learn all of the information about how it came to be.
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