Gateway to the West

Trip Start Nov 15, 2011
Trip End Nov 14, 2012

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Flag of United States  , Missouri
Wednesday, June 13, 2012

We managed to negotiate our way into downtown St Louis today and found a suitable car park to abandon the BAT.  We walked through Memorial Park to the Gateway Arch, officially called the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.  The arch is 630 feet high, and 630 feet across the base.  We rode to the top of the arch in a small, enclosed gondola, which seated five people (very snugly!). At the top you walk across the arch and look out of the windows; there are 16 narrow windows on each side, but they are quite low.

Also at the Arch is the Museum of Westward Expansion which charts the history of the American West from the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 to the closing of the frontier in the 1890s.  It shows how American Indians and pioneers lived, and of course there is a section about Lewis and Clark who set off on their expedition from St Louis.  The Gateway Arch is certainly worth the visit.

Our tickets to the Arch also included a cruise on the Mississippi River.  Whilst we were waiting to board we had a walk around Lacledes Landing.  The old buildings and cobbled streets are now a great dining and entertainment area.  Our trip on the river took us under the many bridges of St Louis, which connect Illinois and Missouri, some of them are rail bridges of course, and we did see quite a few trains.

Our next stop was the Botanical Gardens.  2012 is the Year of the Dragon and the gardens have a Lantern Festival on weekend evenings which light up the many Chinese lantern exhibits located throughout the gardens.  The gardens also have some lovely areas of their own: buildings, statues, and plants, including the Climatron, which houses a tropical rainforest.  The gardens are a very relaxing place to walk around.
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