You can’t miss the giant Gateway Arch construction project going on downtown–what a mess! The whole riverfront looks like a bulldozer convention is in town. Everywhere you look there’s blocked streets, hazard tape and giant piles of dirt. Don’t worry, the Arch is still open to visitors! And when the construction crews are done, we’re going to be left with one heck of a cool, modern monument on St. Louis’ front door. But until then…
I recently took the boys to visit the Gateway Arch and see what was really going on at the park.
Parking at the Gateway Arch
Parking is pretty easy, despite the fact that the old Arch parking garage is being converted into more green space. You can park on the street around the Old Courthouse, but I recommend parking in the Stadium East garage. It’s just two blocks from the Old Courthouse and you don’t have to worry about filling a meter–on our visit we paid $7 for parking.
Sticking near the Old Courthouse is critical–this the Arch’s temporary visitor’s center during construction. They moved several of the Arch museum’s exhibits here and there’s also some pretty cool historical court house rooms to check out. You can get your tickets for the Ride to the Top at the Old Courthouse on the day of your visit. They even moved a tram car to the courthouse so you can see what it looks like before you climb into the real thing. It’s a little…claustrophobic. But you’ll only be in there for about four minutes.
It was a quick ten minute walk from the Old Courthouse to the Arch. Since you now need a timed ticket to get inside the Arch there is NO waiting in line for security–we breezed right through the doors! We had about ten more minutes to kill before our tram ride to the top, so we poked around the Arch’s basement. A friendly Park Ranger gave Mitch a worksheet about the Arch and offered him a membership in the Junior Ranger’s upon completion. Mitch really wanted that badge, so we set to work!
Under the Gateway Arch
However, very little of the old museum remained–just a mural about the Arch and a few old pieces of the Arch at the Ranger’s desk. You can’t believe how heavy those tiny observation windows are–there’s an old one sitting at the desk, be sure to check it out. We also found a model of the tram, which was pretty interesting. Still, it was a good thing we only had a few minutes to wait…you can only spend so much time picking out fudge at the Arch gift shop.
So the question remains…what ARE they doing to the Arch museum? Thankfully, KSDK got to the bottom of it! They sent a reporter into the construction zone and got a sneak peak at what’s going on underneath the Arch!