March Activities at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
ST. LOUISSpend some time in March at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. The National Park Service staff at the Old Courthouse (11 North Fourth Street, St. Louis) hosts free interpretive programming, special education events, historic exhibits, and a movie as a perfect first encounter with the history and significance of this iconic landmark and the famous Gateway Arch. The Museum Store at the Courthouse is also a prime location for books and items that represent the city’s unique history.
“March is a busy month in St. Louis, as visitors flock to town for spring break and St. Patricks’ Day, as well as the Missouri Valley Conference and NCAA Basketball tournaments,” says Rhonda Schier, Chief of Museum Services and Interpretation at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. “Although the interior of the Gateway Arch is temporarily closed until late March for construction in the visitor center below, the National Park Service reminds visitors to make the Old Courthouse a destination when planning a St. Louis visit, as it’s a starting point for ranger-led walks and talks.
OLD COURTHOUSE PROGRAMS: For more information and to participate, please inquire with the ranger stationed at the Information Desk in the Old Courthouse Rotunda.
- Free exhibit galleries that focus on early St. Louis, Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery expedition, and the settlement of the Great Plains are currently showing in the Old Courthouse. Visitors can also take in the historic building’s restored courtrooms, and an exhibit gallery focused on Dred and Harriet Scott and their freedom suit.
- Women’s History Month programs last all March and include the Virginia Minor Mock Trial (weekends at 2 p.m.) and a women pioneer portrait painting workshop (Saturdays, 1-3 p.m.). Visitors can view the “Pioneering Women at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial” free exhibit daily.
- National Park Service programming includes the Saturday Family Tour (Saturdays, 10 a.m.), Art & Music at the Old Courthouse (Thursdays, 2 p.m.) and ranger talks and interactive tables (all day).
- Rangers can lead guided walks to the Gateway Arch, weather and staff permitting.
- The Old Courthouse offers free, daily showings of the award-winning documentary Monument to the Dream that chronicles the construction of the Gateway Arch.
RIVERBOAT CRUISES: The Gateway Arch Riverboats, located on the Mississippi Riverfront below the Arch at 50 South Leonor K. Sullivan Blvd., offer daily one-hour sightseeing cruises beginning March 5. National Park Service rangers lead sightseeing cruises weekends at 1:30 p.m.
SEE THE GATEWAY ARCH UP CLOSE: The Gateway Arch grounds are open during this time, and the public can visit the exterior of the monument. The Arch grounds can be accessed by foot via the Walnut Street Bridge (located at Memorial Drive and Walnut Street near the Old Cathedral) or the Arch Grand Staircase.
Visitors can take in more of the CityArchRiver projectincluding a closer look at construction of the Arch’s new museumwith an observation deck in Luther Ely Smith Square, located between the Arch and Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis.
The Arch’s interior will re-open in late March; the date will be announced soon.
TICKETS: Entrance to the Old Courthouse is free. Visitors can purchase Gateway Arch Riverboat tickets in person at the Old Courthouse, online at www.gatewayarch.com/buytickets or by calling 877-982-1410.
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 near the Old Courthouse. Visitors are encouraged to check www.gatewayarch.com/directions for up-to-date information on road detours and construction 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 for free National Park Service interpretive programs and events are not required, but large groups should call 314-655-1614 to alert the Old Courthouse of their attendance. For more information about the CityArchRiver renovations, visit www.cityarchriver.org.