Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Arch

A friend of Daniel's told him that the St. Louis Arch was not far outside of Springfield. After a little research, we found that it would only add about 40 minutes plus visit time onto our trip.  We decided that the chance to visit it was too good to pass up.  As we pulled into Missouri, the kids were asleep!  Daniel and I enjoyed sneaking peeks of the arch from the highway.  The closer we came to the arch, the more impressed I became with the simple, yet powerful design.  Coming on the bridge over the Mississippi River, the full magnitude of the arch was evident.  It's size was inspiring.  I knew it would be big, but it was larger than I expected.  (Not that I had huge expectations to begin with!)

As we pulled into St. Louis, the kids started to wake up and take notice.  One of the best things about having children, is that you get to enjoy watching them as they discover new things with you. At one, Brenna is an easy sell on most things.  But Sarah and Ashton really get into seeing new sights.  We walked up to the arch in the blazing heat and could not wait to get into the air conditioning!  Who knew that Illinois could get so hot!  And the humidity!  Goodness, I was wearing Ian and we were sweating like crazy!

Under the arch is a museum and the entrance to the tram that takes you to the top of the arch. All Ashton wanted to do was ride the "train" (tram)!  We had to wait to board and went looking through the front portion of the museum section. It focus' on the arch being the gateway to the west. Eero Saarinen won the contest with his simple, yet elegant design.  He used stainless steel for it's strength and because it represented the time.    As an added bonus, the arch reflects the light and colors of it's surroundings.  

 They also had a dozen or more peace medals.  These medals were awarded to Indian tribes that made treaties with the government.
 We also saw many talking exhibits.  I think their were motion sensors in the eyes that allowed the figure to follow the movements of people. 
On the way to the tram, we had to wait by a huge image of one of the final sections of the arch before it was completed. Brenna rarely stands still for a picture!
 And Ashton sometimes gets a little crazy.
 And here is Sarah suffering through another picture that her crazy parents made her take!  (We gave up on getting Brenna to stand still for a group shot!)

After the wait, we headed out to board our tram.  Each group got their own little car for the ride up to the top.  The door to enter was only four feet tall!  Since Daniel is 6'3", he started to get a little nervous about the size of the tram car!  

By the time we got on the tram, Daniel and I were worn out.  Ian did not like standing in line.  He screamed for 20 minutes. Add that to a three year old who thought he was Tigger and a one year old whose favorite word is NO and you get two frazzled parents!  But we made it to the tram and I convinced Ian to suck on my finger!  He hasn't figured out how to get his to stay in his mouth and he thinks I've gone off the deep end if I try to get him to take a pacifier!  The tram was a lot of fun.  The car small, but not so small that I started to feel claustrophobic. The ride up took four minutes. We were able to see the inside of the arch through the windows in the door.  While Daniel, Sarah and I enjoyed the ride, Ashton and Brenna were overly excited!  They wanted it to go faster and giggled with glee as the chains moved the car up at an angle.  Daniel was worried that they would scare Brenna, but she has more courage than most 1 year old children that I know.

We were checking out the view at 630 feet!  I was impressed that the kids were not concerned at the height. Brenna wanted to people watch while the rest of us could not get enough of the view. After taking in the view and snapping all our pictures, we headed back down the Arch. 

Sadly, we were all exhausted and did not stay to finish our tour of the museum at the base of the Arch.  But that is what happens when you have so many young kids with you and it's 90 degrees outside! After a short stop at Burger King, we headed straight to our hotel. When Ashton saw the bed he said, "Everybody stop!  Let's go lay down!" Then he saw the view from the eleventh floor and forgot his desire to rest!

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