The Arch was bigger than I expected, this picture was taken from the bridge coming into town.
Arthur had been to the Arch before, and for the past 20 years we have talked about visiting St. Louis one day. Never did we think we would be taking in this site with 9 kids :)
There was lots of visitor parking, just NOT for a RV. We ended up parking on the river bank, next to a semi truck.
The girls we sticking close together waiting for everyone to pile out of the RV. It was cloudy, cold and very windy that day. I believe Wesley got the best end of the deal having sisters to hold him and keep him warm.
Here are the steps we had to climb from the river to get up to the Arch. We had gotten the stroller out of the RV for Wesley but because it was so cold we didn't want him to have to sit in it without anything to block the wind. So, I carried him up the steps, and then about fell over at the top from being out of breath...yes I'm out of shape. I then handed Wesley over to Arthur. The kids climbed the steps like it was nothing, even Jonathan did well. It was coming down the steps where Jonathan had a hard time.
Not sure if you can see the windows at the top of the Arch. Strange to think that you can go up to the top and look out.
Here are Amanda, Stephen, William, and Madison in the dryer...oh' I mean elevator to the top of the Arch. You truly do feel as though you are sitting in a dryer, with only a small window to see out. The window is about the size of a salad plate. There isn't a view from the elevator you just see the walls and stairs...OK those are the stairs I wouldn't want to climb. Makes me think of when I was in grooming school in New York City and we all went to the Statue of Liberty. The elevator was broken and we all decided to take the stairs to the top...fun times but I was 18 years old then, and fit :)
In this elevator were Rebekah, Elizabeth, James, and hiding in the corner Jonathan. The ride up took 41/2 minutes and coming down took 3minutes. Arthur, Wesley, and I rode in another elevator on the way up, on the way down we only split off in 2 elevators. Wesley did fine on the way up, but the whole way back down he screamed...no tears just screamed!
This is the opposite side of the Arch, where the river was...we were parked somewhere down there.
After we had our ride to the top of the Arch, we came back down to visit the museum in the basement. We found the Arch museum to be more than what we expected, and this part was FREE! The only cost we had from this stop on our trip was the dryer ride to the top of the Arch!
The entrance to the museum had this very large stuffed "Puppy"! Wesley really enjoyed talking to and showing us this "puppy". Poor little guy, you see we did need to get him away from Great Doggie Doos to realize there are more than dogs in this world! We told him repeatedly this was a bear and he can say bear, but each time we passed it he continued to refer to it as a "puppy" along with the other stuffed animals they had like beavers, oxen, and bison.
The Lewis and Clark part of the exhibit was so life like. Each of the figures spoke and moved, and told loads of information about their journeys along with the expansion to the west. The kids liked listening to the Indians speak. Wesley was terrified, and fell in the floor crying. Really he is at times scared of his own shadow, not sure why. So, I went on ahead to get him away from the talking/moving figures and so others would stop giving me the eye like...what's wrong with your kid ;) I make it sound bad but all in all for being 23 months old Wesley was great.
Amanda and I really liked this tepee and looking at the way it was constructed. At the opening of the tepee you could see in and it was fixed as if someone was still living in it.
( you can see Jonathan finding the whole reading of the walls...boring!)
This was toward the end of the museum. The walls were filled with American history dating back to the beginning of America. It had a picture and information about each president, and some of the significant things each president did or stood for. It gave a timeline in history and we found it more than we could take in, and we wished we had had more time.
In the picture above Elizabeth was reading of a man named in a book she had just been reading, the book was about Harriet Tubman. This man and his 2 sons were friends of Tubman, and were killed for standing up for the slaves and protecting them. (I'll have to ask Elizabeth his name) My point is the Arch museum was rich in American history, the held a great deal more then just being a nation monument. We could have read the walls for days and looked at the exhibits of guns, wine skins, and wagons for hours. We stayed until they closed at 6:00PM feeling there was still more to see. The drive from our home to St. Louis isn't that far and we may make this a week end trip sometime to finish taking in the museum.
OK, now you have seen our first stop. I have many more pictures to sort through for post to come, it's so hard because a I want to share it all. Check back tomorrow for another picture filled day of our vacation!