St Louis Arch, Riverboats & Scary restaurants
Trip Start Aug 13, 2007
81Trip End Nov 12, 2007
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
So we decided just to drive down to the riverfront for ourselves. We managed to get down to the Arch & riverboat area without getting lost - so far on our journey St Louis wins the award for the easiest city to get lost in - but that could be because of the Streets & Trips sometimes vague driving instructions! The first cruise was at 12pm (and it was only 9.30) so we decided to take the kids to the St Louis Children's Museum first
Luckily we found some free parking at the riverfront, and we went to the Arch, which is a national monument. The Arch signifies a lot of things, but it's partially as a monument to Thomas Jefferson & as a symbol of Saint Louis being a 'Gateway' to the West. To get up inside the arch, you go down under the ground to a waiting station & then you climb into these small 5 seater circular tram cars (these would not be fun if you were claustrophobic!) which haul you up to the top of the arch (on the inside of the structure). The top of the arch inside is unexpectedly sloped following the shape of the curve, with only a small area and small windows to view the panorama below. Still, we had some amazing views of the Mississippi and surrounding St Louis city - we could even see our RV Park and our teeny-tiny truck parked below us in the parking lot
Once outside in the fresh air, we crossed the road to go on our riverboat tour. We were a bit disappointed with our trip on the 'Tom Sawyer', and I wouldn't recommend it. For one, the boat didn't look like the one on the website, and the paddle on the back didn't even turn and was covered with mould. Going under the bridges spanning the Mississippi & seeing the Arch was neat, but the rest of the riverfront of the St Louis side of the Mississippi was not pleasant to look at: abandoned buildings, graffiti, jumbled rocks, a half sunk car, a rusted upturned hull of a WWII warship. While we realised that cities aren't always pretty, we thought that being that this boat and other tourist boats travel up and down this stretch multiple times a day, that the city could make an effort to tidy this area up.
After our tour we drove back to the museum. The kids had a fantastic time here, again lots of hand on things for them to do, though probably more science-based than the Memphis museum. The museum itself was built in a donated house dating from the turn of the century and the story of the original family members was very interesting. Being that it was originally a house, the rooms were a lot smaller & more inter-connected - so the exhibits were smaller in some areas than in a normal museum building
Because we had spent such a long time in the museum, we decided to eat out for dinner. We thought we'd go back to the RV Park's Casino for a buffet meal. Wrong. Fred found out when he went inside to check the prices at the casino that no one under 21 was even allowed in the door - not a family friendly casino! So we thought we'd just drive down the road a ways from the RV park & find a restaurant to eat at. Wrong again. East St Louis is NOT a place you want to try and find a restaurant to feed your family! Driving through run down streets, with boarded up buildings and the few restaurants that you see are the type with no windows and solid wooden doors... uh no, I don't think so. We went back to the 5th Wheel and had packet Mac & cheese!