The Arch National Monument in St. Louis, MO…

We couldn’t go to St. Louis and NOT visit The Arch National Monument, now could we? Actually, I expected it to be a dud, I mean, how interesting could a big metal ‘thing’ be?
But, it ended up being a nice stop!
We found easy parking, for only $6/day, just a short walk from the arch, and the day was pleasant, so we had a lovely walk through the park to the arch…

The visitor’s center is located UNDER the ground that the arch sits on, between the 2 sides.  You enter via a sloped walkway down either side into a secure area which is much like going through security at the airport.  We had to take off any metal, and you are not allowed to have knives that are spring loaded or over 4 inches.   We started to unload (boy’s) pockets, and 5 bins later, one of which the bottom was literally covered with pocket knives, we got to walk through the metal detector.  They hand-searched the double stroller instead of making us unload it (I think it had something to do with the line forming behind us! LOL!), and it took us about 10 minuted to get through security.  The officers were super about it, and we did find it very funny after, but at the time it was a little crazy trying to hurry kids to unload pockets, double checking the little girls (for what, I do not know…), and making sure that everyone walked through the gate right, or even at all!  It was pretty funny!

Once past security, and down the rest of the ramp, the area opened up into a very large room that contained a gift shop (bumper sticker! Yeah!), a eatery, and information desk where we picked up Jr. Ranger books, and a large museum!

The museum had a collection of medals that the government would give to the Indians as a sort of peace treaty,

and there were lots of animated characters that were motion activated so they each started when you walked by…

The museum covered the history of the land that Lewis and Clark would be exploring.  Emma learned why a bull boat is called a bull boat – once she saw the cow/ox tail still attached to the hide and hanging off the back of the boat like a little rudder…

There were mounts of a horse, bison, longhorn…

and everything from the Indian encampments that were on the land before L&C came through to the dust bowl migrant workers…

tip: if you do the J.R. program here, one of the ?s is about a statue of Thomas Jefferson, and it asks what the statue of him in the entrance of the museum is looking at…to find the answer, stand behind him and look along his gaze, or you will miss it (they had to redo that one!  😉
After touring the museum, and turning in their books, we headed outside to check out the stairs that lead from the river walk to the arch.

We met Ranger Breese again – we had talked with him for some time while we were by the visitor’s desk.  He is a security park ranger here, and he gave the kids park service patches for on their vests!  Some of his shift he works below ground around the shops and museum, and part of his time he spends patrolling the 90 acres of ground that make up the arch park and The Old Courthouse park together.

Then we walked across the street(s) to The Old Courthouse, which we couldn’t see much of the outside of because of restoration efforts…
We didn’t have time to do the Jr. Ranger program here; it takes longer than the arch and the badge is the same, so we felt a little guilty, but we just enjoyed the architecture instead…

It had some interesting dioramas…

and covered the history of the St. Louis area…

The kids played a little ‘National Treasure’…
a bunch of the tiles were broken and not glued down, so they were checking out what was under them…

We did end up spending a few hours at the courthouse as Eli is working on a short film, and he and Joel took some shots about the Jr. Ranger program, in the museum there.

Then it was a beautiful walk back through the park to the parking garage.

While we had been under the arch, Eli and Jake took the tram up to the top (and it’s cheaper if you show your annual park pass).  The rest of us weren’t really interested (it’s only 680 feet! LOL!). At the top of the arch are viewing windows, and you can stand at the top and look out on St. Louis.

Caleb is growing too fast – he has a great personality…

We had a great visit to the arch…

and afterwards, we headed back to the RV that we had left in the Walmart parking lot.
That afternoon we excitedly hit the road and drove about 2 hours down the road to Waynesville, MO.  We moved into a city park there (who didn’t care that we had 10 kids with us, and were soon to pick up another!).  We were pretty excited – the following day would find us spending a marvelous day hanging out with our biggest boy after not seeing him for over 3 months!!!  Life is good!  :)

Lilla Rose

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Comments

  1. I’m curious about how you leave the RV at Walmart during the day while you go out and about. Do you talk to the manager first? Do you unhook to use your tow vehicle? There are lots of places we would love to stop and see along the way that we just can’t get in with the RV attached :) Thanks for any tips! Kellie

  2. I loved this place :) The view from up top was pretty awesome…

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