Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
11 N. 4th St.
St. Louis, MO 63102
Gateway Arch Description
The soaring, twisting, 63-story Gateway Arch never fails to mesmerize even the youngest family member. Tram rides to the top are a sci-fi adventure in which five riders pile into a pod-shaped car for the four-minute ride. Once there, the views over the Mississippi to the east and the city that sprawls to the west are vast (you can even look right into Busch Stadium to see baseball games in progress). The Arch commemorates America's westward expansion beginning with the 1804 Lewis and Clark expedition, an event the adjoining museum helps to explain.
School-Age Kids: The meaning of the Arch as a gateway to the west really comes alive for children studying Lewis and Clark at school, and the museum maintains artifacts that will interest them, including a covered wagon and an example of a sod house.
Pre-Teens & Teens: Even blasé teenagers tend to appreciate the simple beauty of the monument. A separate film covering its construction—the two sides were built simultaneously and joined at the top—will grab this audience.
- Go early or late. In summer, which is high season, crowds are constant. Go in the first or the last hour of the day for no-hassle admission to the tram.
- Beware game days. Cardinals baseball fans making a day of it head directly from the nearby stadium to the Arch, so even going late in the day may not help you.
- Pick your history lesson. The museum is a little dry for many kids, but the Odyssey Theater film, shown on a four-story screen, tells the Lewis and Clark story in a much more engaging way.
Just the Facts
Hours: Memorial Day through Labor Day: Daily 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
Rest of the year: Daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Recommended Time: 2 - 4 hours