This day was spent in St. Louis at the Gateway Arch Riverfront/Jefferson National Expansion Memorial! This monument was erected to honor Lewis and Clark and the westward expansion of the United States. At 630 feet tall, it is the tallest monument in the world and is situated right in front of their old courthouse on the Mississippi River.
I actually didn't know you could go inside the Gateway Arch until a few years ago. I'm so glad I finally had my chance to do so! You take a really tiny tram car to the top that only fits 5 people and 8 of these trams go up at a time. Here is a photo of the observation deck all the way at the top:
And of course, the fantastic view from the top. I really lucked out with sunny weather that day as you can clearly see the impressive shadow the Arch casts:
Just seeing the Arch in-person was so surreal. I remember seeing pictures of it in my first grade social studies book and I always told myself that I would see it one day. However, my experience on the Riverfront became so much more that day. I had no idea the who, how, and why about this structure until actually visiting.
I was able to view a documentary about the building of the Arch and all the planning, reinforced concrete and 900 tons of steel involved. The stainless steel actually came from Pennsylvania and triangular pieces were assembled and then extensively secured upon one another and welded together. I was able to take a photo example of a welding seam:
For you math geeks out there, the Arch is actually one giant hyperbolic cosine function:
y = A(cosh(Cx/L)-1)
and it is a bit of an optical illusion with the width of its base equaling its height (it appears taller than it is wide).
There is a whole museum underneath called the "Museum of Westward Expansion" featuring artifacts from the Lewis and Clark Expedition and photographs and and quotes inspired by the idea of Westward Expansion and American curiosity and wonder...
Here is a map featuring the Lewis and Clark Trail which began here in St. Louis, Missouri:
After touring the Arch and museum, I walked around the whole park area and down the steps to see the Mississippi River:
I also had the chance to walk down to an older part of town where some of the restaurants are...
And I sampled some of the famous rectangular pizza! It was delicious and for you Rachael Ray fans, there was a note on the menu which mentioned that this pizza was featured on her show:
Today was really special for me. Getting the chance to see and feel a part of something I've always been curious about really touched my spirit. While I wouldn't dream of comparing my current experience with Lewis and Clark's, I did feel connected to them in my own journey westward that day.