If you’re planning summer trips that are within drivable distance from Nashville, you’ll want to add St. Louis to your list! We recently went over Spring Break and learned that St. Louis is full of family friendly attractions, many that have free admission!
St. Louis is about a five hour drive from Nashville, has affordable hotels, highly rated restaurants and entertainment options. This summer, the city will celebrate the unveiling of the Gateway Arch Museum which is part of the Gateway Arch National Park. I was able to get a behind the scenes sneak peek of this amazing museum that will offer guests free admission beginning on July 3rd. Make sure to stop by one of the information desks (at the Arch or the Old Courthouse) to pick up junior ranger activities. Kids, ages 5-18 can enjoy learning along the way and return their activities at the end for a badge.
Located beside St. Louis’ iconic Gateway Arch, the museum takes visitors through over 200 years of history with a focus on St. Louis’ role in the westward expansion. Galleries will include Colonial St. Louis, Jefferson’s Vision, Manifest Destiny, The Riverfront Era, New Frontiers and Building the Gateway Arch. Interactive story galleries guide visitors from the mid 1600’s to the present. The museum takes a look at history from different perspectives and museum curators have worked with Native Americans to explore their outlook on the past. I was also impressed with the measures taken to make the museum secure and also accessible to people with disabilities and learning differences. Visitors will also be able to enjoy 11 new acres of parkland and over five miles of bike and walking paths, as well as the North Gateway, an outdoor amphitheater for events and concerts.
After exploring the museum, you’ll want to travel via tram to the top of the country’s tallest man-made monument. You’ll first experience a 60s-themed interactive experience prior to traveling 63 stories high into the Midwest sky. Each ride up is approximately 4 minutes inside a small tram car but the view from the top is worth it!
The Old Courthouse is known for two landmark cases in American history; the case of enslaved Dred Scott and his wife’s freedom as well as Virginia Minor’s case for women’s rights. The Courthouse features restored courtrooms, hosts school groups and you’ll often see mock trails in session. The Old Courthouse is currently displaying free exhibits on Lewis & Clark, Native American culture and colonial St. Louis while the museum is under construction.
A few other areas of interest around St. Louis
St. Louis is full of family fun and is a close destination from Nashville! We are planning to go back this summer to experience the museum!