The Gateway Arch in St. Louis

The Gateway Arch Experiences

View of St. Louis Arch from the Riverboat(The Arch & Gateway Arch Riverboats)
707 North First Street
St. Louis, MO 63102

Gateway Arch

   A trip to St. Louis would be incomplete without visiting the St. Louis Arch. On our recent trip, we participated in two Gateway Arch Experiences: a ride on the Gateway Arch Riverboat and a ride to the top of the Arch. Both giving great views of the city and telling the rich history of St. Louis and her role in Western Expansion.


To the Top: The Arch

Top of the ArchThe Arch. It is synonymous with St. Louis. I still remember my first trip to the top, when I was five years old. My ears popping as we rode the tram (that reminded me of Mork's egg from Mork and Mindy... something our kids certainly won't remember), the view below, marveling as the people appeared to be no bigger than ants, seeing the giant shadow of the arch's legs below, and the sheer awe of simply being that high in the sky. This year, I was excited to share that memory with my girls, my oldest also 5. 

Going to the top is a family memory must when you visit St. Louis, but there are a few things to keep in mind when you take kids.

Tips for Taking Kids to the Top:

  • You can purchase tickets in advance and schedule your trip so you won't have to wait to go. The best time to visit, to avoid crowds, is before 10am.
  • There are no restrooms at the top, so be sure to take the kids before boarding the tram.
  • To get to the top you ride in a tram (rides leave every 10 minutes) that resembles a giant egg and seats five. You can climb aboard a sample tram in the lobby to preview the experience.
  • The trip to the top takes four minutes, traveling at an average speed of 4mph. The ride is narrated and the climb to the top as the tram weaves it's way up goes by quickly. Once at the top, you'll be 630 feet in the air. You can stay and observe out little windows as long as you like.
  • Don't forget the camera!
  • Be sure you present it as great fun. Avoid saying things like, "Are you scared of going up so high?" If you don't plant the seeds, there is a chance they won't even consider being afraid. 

The Museum of Westward Expansion

The Arch symbolizes the Gateway to the West and the Museum housed at her base, tells the story of America's early settlers. The museum is free and self-guided. Exhibits include Native American artifacts, covered wagons, maps, displays, and animatronic figures representing historic people who played a vital role in Westward Expansion, from Lewis and Clark, to Presidents, they tell the tales of the settlers.Visiting the museum is a great way to capture the stories of Lewis and Clark as they explored America, and learn about the daily life of the Native Americans, and the journeys of the pioneers. The exhibits are interactive and engaging.



The Gateway Arch Riverboats


Gateway Arch RiverboatOne of our favorite excursions was the Gateway Arch Riverboats. Passengers ride down the Mississippi River on a 19th century replica steamboat. The views from the river are terrific, making for many fantastic photo ops, and after a packed weekend in St. Louis, the leisurely cruise was a relaxing break. The ride includes a narrated tour of the riverfront with  the history of St. Louis and the sites of the riverfront presented.

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