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In 1948, having won the most important design competition of his career, Eero Saarinen wrote “An Imaginary Tour of the Proposed Jefferson National Expansion Memorial on the Mississippi River at St. Louis.”
Visit the "Building the Arch" gallery in the Museum at the Gateway Arch to view Saarinen's original model of the project. The model is complimented by a historical audio reenactment of Saarinen's original vision of a visit to the Arch.
The essay below is inspired by Saarinen’s narrative and imagines a day at the new Gateway Arch National Park enjoying all the benefits of a Gateway Arch Park Foundation membership.
Let’s imagine you’ve signed up for a Gateway Arch Park Foundation membership at the Family level, and you just received your benefits package in the mail. You are about to spend the day downtown at the Gateway Arch National Park with some friends. The first thing you notice is the pride of being a steward of the park – supporting conservation projects, educational programs, and great community events year-round. Secondly, as a monthly donor, you enjoy the value of membership benefits with affordable and convenient monthly giving.
On the way to the Arch, you already know where to park. You have free parking passes* at the Kiener West parking garage. After parking, you walk through the beautiful Kiener Plaza and notice the bistro sets, busy playground, and splashpad filled with families.
In the Old Courthouse, you marvel at the architecture and learn about important court cases and historic figures like Dred Scott and Virginia Minor. In the Old Courthouse gift shop, you buy a book about Civil War history and enjoy 10% off by showing your Gateway Arch Park Foundation membership card.
Bistro set in Kiener Plaza
In the new sunlit lobby of the Museum at the Gateway Arch, you exchange your tram ride vouchers to take your friends to the top of the Arch. After the spectacular view from 630 feet above the city, it’s time for lunch. The Arch Café in the tram lobby serves local favorites like toasted raviolis, St. Louis style ribs, and vegetarian and gluten-free options. As a member, you enjoy 10% off on your lunch with friends.
Now it’s time for an afternoon activity, and you head down to the riverboats for the one-hour St. Louis Riverfront Cruise. You save 15% on tickets as a member. While you wait for the cruise, it’s a sunny day so you buy a hat at the Paddlewheel Café gift shop and enjoy another 15% discount.
After the cruise, it’s nearly evening. On this Friday night in August, the Gateway Arch Park Foundation is hosting Blues at the Arch – a free concert series. As a member, you and your friends enjoy access to the Members Tent overlooking the crowd and stage in the North Gateway of the park near the Eads Bridge. It’s wonderful seeing and hearing local and international Blues musicians. The great food and open bar at the Members Tent are a plus. You didn’t need to bring a cooler!
Blues at the Arch and the Members Tent
As the sun sets, it’s time to go home. Kiener West parking garage is a short walk away. Leaving the garage, you simply scan your parking pass and head home ($20 value for all-day parking). You still have more free parking passes left, so on the way home you start to plan for your next visit to the Gateway Arch National Park. Maybe it will be for a Kiener Cocktails Thursday night happy hour** or another trip through the museum to learn about the history of St. Louis’ riverfront. Maybe you will bike the more than five miles of trails along the river and throughout the park. The benefits of membership are monumental. You can use them all year long!