Summer Events at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
WHAT: Jefferson National Expansion Memorial is set to host family-friendly programs and events at the Arch and Old Courthouse all summer long. In addition, brand-new museum exhibit galleries focusing on Lewis and Clark and life in colonial St. Louis are now open in the Old Courthouse (11 North Fourth St., St. Louis). These exhibits are free and open to the public.
“We are thrilled to offer many free summer programs such as daily ranger-led walking and bike tours, and Free Family Fridays at the Old Courthouse,” said Rick Ziino, Interpretive Specialist, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. “These programs bring unique ways for visitors to enjoy Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, downtown St. Louis’ only national park.”
Free Family Fridays at the Old Courthouse: May 22-September 4; 10 to 11 am
This free, hour-long program offers guests of all ages hands-on opportunities to learn about St. Louis history and westward expansion history. Each child will also create a craft project. RSVP by calling 314-982-1410. Weekly themes include:
- Colonial St. Louis: May 22, June 26, July 31, September 4
- Lewis and Clark: May 29, July 3, August 7
- Mountain Men: June 5, July 10, August 14
- Pioneers: June 12, July 17, August 21
- Plains Indians: June 19, July 24, August 28
1780 British Attack on St. Louis: May 23; 10 am-4 pm in the Old Courthouse’s Northwest Courtyard
Experience history with this free interactive commemorative program. Living history volunteers in period attire present the stories of St. Louis people during the Revolutionary War-era Battle of St. Louis, in which the British and their Indian allies unsuccessfully attacked St. Louis on May 26, 1780. Eighteenth century artillery and musket drill demonstrations will take place throughout the day.
Daily Ranger-led Riverboat Sightseeing Cruises: May 23-September 7; noon, 1:30 pm and 3 pm
An NPS ranger leads this sightseeing cruise, and offers insights on the history of St. Louis and the role the Mississippi River plays in the city today. Call 877-982-1410 for availability. $18/adults; $8 kids ages 3-15; free for kids under 3. Save up to $3 with the Captain’s Combo (sightseeing cruise and Journey to the Top tram ride). http://ticketsforthearch.com.
Daily Old Courthouse Mock Trial: May 23-September 7; 2 to 2:30 pm
Meet in the Old Courthouse Rotunda, where rangers will lead visitors to a restored courtroom where they will volunteer to play characters in the 30-minute interactive trial that follows a simplified script.
Saturday Morning Ranger River Trail Bike Rides: May 23-September 7; 8:30 to 11:30 am
Great for families! Meet the ranger at the 11th and Pine downtown bike station at 8:30 am for check-in and safety review. The ride leaves at 9 am, and includes a 7-mile round trip along the north riverfront bike trail to the Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing site and back. Groups are encouraged to RSVP by calling 314-655-1654.
Daily Hourly Ranger Talks and Touch Stations: May 23-September 7; Gateway Arch lobby and Old Courthouse
Park rangers will present interactive programs on a variety of Old Courthouse, St. Louis and westward expansion history. Visitors should check with the ranger at the information desks for the daily schedule.
Daily Ranger-led Walking Tours: June 15-Sept. 7; 10:30 to 11 am
Meet in the Old Courthouse Rotunda for a free guided walking tour featuring topics such as St. Louis history, downtown architecture and St. Louis’ role in westward expansion. Groups are encouraged to RSVP by calling 314-655-1654.
Gateway to the Stars Stargazing Program: June 25, July 26 & August 27; 8 to 10 pm Meet in the Arch lobby at 8pm for a free, ranger-led astronomy lesson. Pending clear skies, after the discussion there will be a telescope viewing led by the St. Louis Astronomical Society in the parking lot of the Old Cathedral (209 Walnut Street, St. Louis). Call 314-655-1750, ext. 472 to check weather conditions the afternoon of the program.
- “Tips on Exploring the Night Sky”: June 25 and August 27
- “Junior Ranger Night Explorer Workshop”: July 26
National Park Service Founder’s Day: August 25
Commemorate the 99th anniversary of the founding of the National Park Service with special activities that will be announced at a later date. Entrance fees will be waived at all national parks this day.
SUMMER HOURS: May 23 through Labor Day, JNEM operates in extended hours. The Old Courthouse is open daily from 7:30 am to 8 pm; the Arch is open daily from 8 am to 10 pm. (Last tram leaves approximately one hour before closing.)
TICKETS REQUIRED FOR THE ARCH: A timed Journey to the Top or Arch Entry-Only ticket is required to enter the Gateway Arch facility. Visitors are strongly encouraged to purchase their tickets prior to the day of their visit by going online to http://ticketsforthearch.com, calling 877-982-1410, or visiting the Arch Ticketing & Visitor Center at the Old Courthouse.
PARKING AND ROAD CLOSURES: A list of preferred downtown parking locations is available at http://getaroundstl.com. Visitors are encouraged to check www.gatewayarch.com/directions for up-to-date information on road detours and construction surrounding the Arch grounds before their visit.
GIFT SHOPS: Visitors can shop for memorabilia and gifts at the Arch Museum Store and Levee Mercantile, located in the Gateway Arch lobby; as well as the gift shops at the Old Courthouse and on the dock of the Gateway Arch Riverboats.