the lidboms are adamantly opposed to the gateway arch’s recent upgrade to national park status. we think its a national monument at best. but that didn’t stop us from planning a visit while we were passing through st. louis.
the museum and visitor center is pretty impressive. and like a fortress. we had to go through metal detectors and have our personal belongings scanned before we entered. we also had to schedule our viewing of the park video, which we’ve never had to do. covid, i suppose. it was worth it though. the video was maybe our favorite part. we also thought this big 3D mural was pretty cool.
the kiddos worked hard on their junior ranger books in the museum while we waited for a scheduled boat tour, which we actually missed because of time zone changes. so, we walked around the arch grounds for a bit, trying to capture its magnitude in a photo.
then, we had to race back around to the front, go back through security, and rush to the gate for our scheduled reservations for the tram ride to the top of the arch. there were quite a few nerves and uncertainty for the girls, and isaac opted out, due to his aversion to heights. it all had a weird retro vibe to it too, which doesn’t help anxieties about safety.
the tram pod was a very tight squeeze and we could see the inner workings out our tiny window as we were whisked to the top. thanks to covid, everything runs on an efficient and tight schedule and we had exactly ten minutes for all of our top of the arch viewing.
it took the girls a minute or so to get comfortable leaning on the little platform to peer out the window, but once they did, there was no peeling them away.
we thought it was pretty cool to see the shadow of the arch on the river. and hazel’s favorite was that we could lean out and see the legs of the arch.
proof that derek was with us. 🙂
when our ten whole minutes were up, we rode the tram back down, where we met up with isaac, formalized their junior ranger-hood, and raced back out to our rescheduled river boat tour.
aka: worst riverboat tour ever. i mean. i guess we assumed that since it was a national park. and the mississippi river. that it would be awesome. or even good. or tolerable. but there was nothing scenic at all. broken up levees and graffiti cover sea walls. trash. old factories. weird stuff sticking out of the river. and to make matters worse, it was really hard to hear our tour guide over the sounds of the boat. we were mostly miserable. and the worst part? we paid for it. oh well. they can’t all be winners, i guess.
derek did take this shot as we walked back from the boat, which is pretty cool i guess.
our campground for the days we were in st. louis was actually just across the river on the illinois side, at a draft kings casino rv campground. we could see the arch in the distance from our site. i did a little research and realized that it really wasn’t that far to walk over to park from our site, about three miles round trip, and i thought it would make a nice little walk for ruby, who has really gotten the shaft on this summer road trip.
our urban “trail” took us through the casino parking lot, up a flight of stairs, across a bridge, and then down into the park. she is not the best leash walker, especially when cars are zipping by, but thankfully the concrete barrier shielded some of the imminent dangers. we successfully avoided all of the broken glass and weird trash and the minute we were off the bridge, the scenery changed from ugly to pristine.
we walked all over the park surrounding the arch and ruby loved all the smells and rolling in the grass. she was a happy doggo.
after a lovely bit of time taking in the views, strolling around, and sniffing all the things, we walked ourselves back to the campground. from the bridge, i had a decent skyline view of the arch and st. louis. i still don’t think it should be a national park though.
we spent the rest of the day at the rv, being lazy, doing a BUNCH of laundry, and planning our final day in st. louis.