Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Announces NPS 100th Anniversay Celebrations
Thursday, August 25 is the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary. Jefferson National Expansion Memorial has announced plans to celebrate the Centennial, including a commemoration celebration in Luther Ely Smith Square, “Lift Every Voice: The Black Experience in the Heartland” play, performances by the Centennial Band from the New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park and many other free activities. The Gateway Arch is open during this time, and guests can take tram rides to the top of the Arch for a fee. Special interactive programs appeal to all ages, and are family friendly for children and youth to enjoy.
“As we celebrate 100 years of the National Park Service and look back on its history and legacy, we look forward to continuing to explore, learn, and be inspired by our more than 400 national parks, including Jefferson National Expansion Memorial,” says Mike Ward, Superintendent of Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. “On behalf of the Arch and Old Courthouse, we are eager to enter the next chapter of the National Park Service’s story, especially as CityArchRiver renovations continue here at the park.”
Centennial Commemoration Ceremony & Birthday Party: Thursday, August 25, 11 a.m. in Luther Ely Smith Square
Superintendent Mike Ward will be joined by city and state leaders in Luther Ely Smith Square, the newly renovated portion of the national park located between the Old Courthouse and the Gateway Arch in downtown St. Louis, for a Centennial commemoration ceremony and celebration. Immediately following, visitors can enjoy lunch from local food trucks, free birthday cupcakes from local dessert eateries, and a free concert from the Centennial Band from the New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park. Visitors can bring a picnic of their own to enjoy on the grounds of Luther Ely Smith Square as well.
“Lift Every Voice” Play: Saturday, August 27, 10:30 a.m. & 1:30 p.m. in the Old Courthouse Rotunda
The Bright Star Touring Theater will present an original play “Lift Every Voice: The Black Experience in the Heartland” for free in the Old Courthouse Rotunda. “Lift Every Voice” celebrates the National Park Service’s Centennial and the many Black Americans who made a difference in the American Midwest with interactive scenes that bring pages of history to life. This play is ideal for kids ages 8-12, but all are invited to enjoy this performance.
Centennial Band Concert: Saturday, August 27, 12 p.m. in the Old Courthouse Rotunda
The Centennial Band from the New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park will perform a free concert in the Old Courthouse Rotunda. Other local opportunities to enjoy a free concert from Centennial Band: National Blues Museum (August 23, 12-1 p.m.); Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site (August 25, 7-8 p.m.); Blues at the Arch concert series in Luther Ely Smith Square (August 26, 5:30-6:15 p.m.); and Ford Plaza at Busch Stadium (August 27, 4-6 p.m.).
Dred Scott Mock Trial: Saturday, August 27, 9 a.m. & 3 p.m. in an Old Courthouse Courtroom
The enslaved Scott family, including Dred, Harriet and their daughters, sued for their freedom from slavery prior to the Civil War. In one of the Old Courthouse’s restored courtrooms, rangers will facilitate a mock trial, and participants will read scripts, taking on the roles of the people involved in the Scott’s 1850 trial. This program is free and open to all ages.
“Switchback Kids” National Parks Journey Recap: Sunday, August 28, 5 p.m. in the Old Courthouse Rotunda
Married couple and St. Louis natives Cole and Elizabeth Donelson, the “Switchback Kids,” will present a free, illustrated program in which they will share pictures and stories of their yearlong journey visiting all 59 national parks in honor of the National Park Service’s Centennial.
Fee-Free Days at the Gateway Arch: August 25-28, All Day
In celebration of the Centennial, all guests to the Gateway Arch can enjoy $3 off their adult Arch tram ticket, and free Entry-Only tickets.
PARKING AND ROAD CLOSURES REMINDER
A list of several downtown St. Louis parking locations within walking distance of the Old Courthouse and the Gateway Arch is available at http://getaroundstl.com. Metered street parking is also available around the Old Courthouse. Visitors are encouraged to check www.gatewayarch.com/directions for up-to-date information on road detours and construction news before their visit.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Visit www.gatewayarch.com, www.nps.gov/jeff, or www.facebook.com/gatewayarchNPS; or call 877-982-1410. Reservations are not required, but large groups should call 314-655-1614 to alert the Old Courthouse of their attendance.
ABOUT: The Gateway Arch and the Old Courthouse are part of Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, located on the riverfront in downtown St. Louis. The Gateway Arch features the Journey to the Top tram ride, The Arch Store and Monument to the Dream documentary movie. It is open daily, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the winter. The Old Courthouse, which features westward expansion exhibits, is open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the winter. The park is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Most programs are FREE of charge and open to the public. Programs and events at the park are made possible by the generous support from our cooperating association, Jefferson National Parks Association, and Bi-State Development. To purchase Arch tickets, go online to www.gatewayarch.com, or call 877-982-1410, or visit the Arch Ticketing & Visitor Center at the Old Courthouse. The Arch’s museum is closed for renovations until 2017.