A lot of times when I tell people I’m from St. Louis, they want to know more about the Gateway Arch. It’s an amazing monument, 630 feet tall and it’s something that you have to see for yourself in person. On July 3rd, the new Gateway Arch Museum will open up just in time for Fair St. Louis and you’ve gotta visit it! My family got a sneak peek last month and had such a great time.
Gateway Arch Park Grounds
The grounds surrounding the Gateway Arch have been completely redone and they are stunning. Everywhere you look, there is green grass and walking and biking trails. The grounds are also now connected to Luther Ely Smith Square (the green space in front of the Old Courthouse) meaning that you don’t have to cross a bridge over the highway to get to the Gateway Arch grounds. In May, I went on a field trip with my son to the Old Courthouse and we were able to easily get to the Arch with 40 kids instead of having to worry about crossing a bunch of busy roads!
Kids will also love the Lewis and Clark Explorers’ Garden that was added and designed for children’s play and the more than 5 miles of added pathways for biking and walking.
New Gateway Arch Museum
The new Gateway Arch Museum will blow you away! I remember the old one and really enjoyed it but the new museum is so interactive and had every member of my family so engaged (and that’s ages 5 to 39!). The Gateway Arch Museum officially opens July 3rd, just in time for the 4th of July! There will be some amazing events to celebrate the opening which I’ll cover below.
The first thing to know about the new Gateway Arch Museum is that the entrance is NOT inside the Arch. Nope, don’t make the same mistake I did – the entrance is actually facing the Old Courthouse bringing in a ton of natural light. You can see the entrance with all of it’s glass windows behind my kiddos in the below picture!
As you enter the museum, you’ll see a giant map of the westward trails from St. Louis and other cities and see where our forefathers’ started their journey out west.
All of the Gateway Arch exhibits are brand new so you’re definitely going to want to check out the new museum. My kids are 5 and 10 so I wasn’t sure how interested they would be but all of the exhibits kept their attention – there was so many cool things to look at and many interactive things for them too!
There are several interactive galleries that include: Colonial St. Louis, Jefferson’s Vision, Manifest Destiny, The Riverfront Era, New Frontiers, and Building the Gateway Arch.
If you plan on visiting the Gateway Arch, you’re definitely going to want to plan on visiting the FREE Gateway Arch museum!
Tram Ride To The Top
Of course, while you’re visiting the Gateway Arch Museum, you’ve gotta take the tram ride to the top! After not going to the top in over 8 years, I recently was able to take the tram ride to the top twice in the past few months. It’s such a unique experience and you’re not going to want to miss this. Plan for at least an hour for just the tram ride as you’ll have to go through security first and then get in line for your tram time. There’s a fun video that you’ll watch as you wait for your turn and then you’ll take a group picture before you take the steps downstairs. Then, you’ll get into a pod that fits 5 people.
Once you’re on the tram, it only takes 4 minutes to get to the top. Once at the top, you are 630 feet high – that’s higher than the Statue of Liberty, Washington Monument and the Space Needle! You’re able to see some pretty amazing views too, on a clear day you can see 30 miles out!
You can stay at the top of the Arch for as long as you’d like and it’s only 3 minutes for the tram to take you back down. Being at the top of the Gateway Arch definitely should be on your bucket list!
The Gateway Arch Park is such a fun destination to visit with your family! Explore the park grounds, visit the new Gateway Arch Museum and take the ride to the top! Don’t forget to walk down by the river too and maybe take a Riverboat ride!
The Gateway Arch Museum opens July 3rd to the public! Check out this post to see all of the fun family events you won’t want to miss as they celebrate the Grand Opening!
Disclosure: My family received a sneak peek of the Gateway Arch Museum and tickets for the Tram ride. All thoughts and opinions are our own.