The Arch: Read the Story of Our Visit
My family of five headed out on a road trip in the month of March with a destination of the Gulf of Mexico in coastal Mississippi. On our way down, we took one morning to go visit the famous Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri. Read on to find out how it went for us and what I learned for family visit tips so you can make the most of your visit to this amazing monument.
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Family Tips for Visiting the Arch
Addressing Claustrophobia Fears
We had our spring break trip planned out, well, my husband did as he’s usually our vacation planner and a visit to the Arch was a stop on the way to our final destination. I was excited, yet nervous about visiting the Arch because I didn’t know what to expect for the tram and being in the top of the Arch. Both my middle son and I are claustrophobic, so we were both a bit nervous for our visit. We worried how the tram ride would be and if it would be too small for us to handle with our phobia. And … how would we feel in the top of the narrow Arch?
Well, at first I was scared when I heard the five of us would be seated inside a tram car, which was linked to one of many in a train that would bring us to the top. I was immediately concerned wondering if I would freak out while riding it. I imagined it being very small and cramped. With being claustrophobic, this sounded a bit like torture. I will tell you I was a little uneasy, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had imagined. My son felt the same way. However, I did take a motion sickness pill prior just in case I felt motion sickness. I knew once I was up in the Arch, we would have to ride it back down so I wanted to be prepared. Only one safe way down!
The cars of the tram have five seats, but it is very small, basically, even I bumped my head in it and I’m short. The ride was pretty quick, however, and we were to the top in a few minutes. I was not nearly as nervous as I had anticipated I would be, so that was a pleasant surprise. I’m glad I went up in the Arch despite my claustrophobic fears.
The tram doors were see-through, so that really helped me not feel claustrophobic, plus, we could see the stairs alongside it. This helped me feel that I would not be trapped, but could get out if need be. I also took some video while inside the tram.
The ride was short, thankfully, and we were at the top at 630 feet in the air, in no time. The ride down was also tolerable. We had my son and I pick seats first in the tram car so we could find the most comfortable spots due to our nervousness. It actually helped to hear in the history the tour guide provided before riding in the tram of how long the tram train has been in operation. Knowing this gave me comfort because I knew it had been in operation smoothly for many, many years.
We did purchase tickets ahead of time online and printed them at home prior to leaving on our trip, however, we found this probably was not necessary, but didn’t hurt either. There were not long lines to buy tickets and the tram to the top runs multiple times a day so there really isn’t a risk of not getting a ticket.
Parking at the Arch
There are places to park near the arch, but having never been there we weren’t sure how far the lots were from the actual Arch. We kept driving past parking lots and ramps and figured we’d turn around if we didn’t find any parking closer.
We approached the Arch and figured we’d take the parking option by the river. It was a bit peculiar as we entered the parking lot and saw that the vehicles were parked on a brick lined area that slanted into the river. But, it looked safe enough so we parked and got out. It was definitely a bit unconventional, but it worked out okay.
We ended up being further from the entrance than we thought, in fact, the entrance was hard to find. We ended up following another family down a hill to the entrance. It was more of a walk than we had thought, but not bad.
Up in the Arch
Once we were up in the Arch, it was pretty cool. The views from the small rectangular windows were pretty amazing. On one side was the river and the other offered a view of the city. It was a narrow curved tunnel that was about seven feet across.
The workers said we could spend as much time up in the Arch as we wanted, then make our way to take the tram train down whenever we desired. I had heard the Arch can sway some in high winds, so I was very thankful it was not a windy day. I felt a little wary knowing I was so high up in the Arch and it was so skinny, but I did enjoy it regardless.
The view straight down was a bit spooky. Here it is. This image does not do it justice though. Seeing it in person is much more daunting, beautiful, and majestic.
We wanted to do the full Arch, so we rode up the tram on one side, and down the tram on the other. It was a fun thing to do and I totally recommend the Arch to families as a great place to visit while in St. Louis. It’s a great piece of our American history, and an amazing monument to learn about and tour.
Plan Time for the Amazing Museum
We were amazed at the museum at the Arch. There was a lot more to see and read than we had expected. The Arch is definitely worth the price of the ticket, way worth it with the fun experience going up in it and the museum. What an amazing feat of architecture and construction the Arch is, I mean really, the whole thing is mind-blowing.Follow me on Social Media