A World of Discovery at the Gateway Arch
Gateway Arch National Park offers so many opportunities to expand your horizons through educational programs offered by the National Park Service. Here’s how you can take part:
Junior Ranger Programs
“Explore, Learn, and Protect!” The Junior Ranger motto is recited by children around the country, each taking an oath of their own to protect parks, continue to learn about parks, and share their own ranger story with friends and family.
Gateway Arch National Park offers young visitors the opportunity to join the National Park Service “family” as Junior Rangers through an activity-based program. Interested kiddos can complete a series of activities during a park visit, share their answers with a park ranger, and receive an official Junior Ranger patch and Junior Ranger certificate! Visit a ranger stationed at the information desk at the Arch or the Old Courthouse to participate.
On the mezzanine level of the Arch Visitor Center, visitors are greeted by a giant terrazzo floor map of the United States. The map depicts the various rivers and trails pioneers used in heading west, with St. Louis marked as the starting point of their journeys. Rangers use this map to educate visitors on westward expansion and lead kids in identifying parts of the U.S. where other national parks are located.
The new Museum at the Gateway Arch highlights the history of St. Louis and the city’s role in the westward expansion of the United States with inclusive narratives. Interactive story galleries guide you through time, from the mid-1600s to the present.
Museum exhibit galleries include:
- Colonial St. Louis – Discover the indigenous and Creole culture of St. Louis before the Louisiana Purchase.
- Jefferson’s Vision – Learn about President Thomas Jefferson’s vision of what is now referred to as “the Lewis and Clark expedition.”
- Manifest Destiny – The belief of many mid-1800s Americans that the United States had a God-given right to expand. Learn about the conflicts between the U.S. and Mexico, and how the map of the United States came to look much like it does today.
- The Riverfront Era – Beginning with the first steamboat’s arrival in St. Louis in 1817, learn about how these boats made the Missouri River a gateway to the West.
- New Frontiers – Learn how St. Louis expanded from solely a waterway trade center to becoming one of the top cities in the nation as a center of industrial might.
- Building the Dream of the Gateway Arch – Discover how the idea for the Gateway Arch came to be and watch the riverfront transform into how we see it today.
NPS Educational Classroom
The Education Classroom in the new Arch Visitor Center is used by National Park Service rangers for various programs and events, such as the Gateway to the Stars series. On Saturday, July 21 at 8pm, Gateway to the Stars: Gateway to Mars will take place in the classroom. NASA fellow and Washington University scientist Michael Bouchard will discuss St. Louis’ role in past, present and future Mars rovers and explorations. Then, visitors will head outside for outdoor telescope viewing led by the St. Louis Astronomical Society. Mars will have its closest approach to Earth since 2003.
The outdoor telescope viewing events may be cancelled if skies are cloudy and if there is heavy rain. Call 314-655-1708 the afternoon of the event for an update on the weather.
Mark your calendar for additional Gateway to the Stars events on August 25, September 22 and October 20!