Monday, August 20, 2012

Welcome to the Top

So here we are!
It was a cloudy day, and we did get caught in a down pour when we were walking back to the hotel, but what a cool visit! Down the ramp you see behind Hubs and through the security detectors into the lower level to see the museum of westward expansion, and buy tickets to the top! We knew there were stairs so Hubs had to stay behind. I got my ticket ($10) and went to the line to wait a few minutes. The park employees are very thorough, and guide the correct number of people into each area to board the cars to go up.There are displays and photos of the construction along the way too.

 Behind each of these numbered doors is a cozy little car that fits 5 people in a very snug seating arrangement.
These folks just got done and are leaving the area-see the person on the right side of the photo in the yellow shirt? they are climbing aboard their car to go up. The red boxes above the doors are TVs that show a short video about the construction of the arch to pass the time while waiting. 

Here you can see how "cozy" the pods are, I took this right before I had to board with my new "friends"!

There are no windows on the way up so it's a lot like taking an elevator, slower though. It takes 4 minutes to go up and 3 minutes to come down. The car ride is smooth and when it gets to the curve of the arch it does a little jog, step, jog, step as it moves on.
 This is the view out the East side of the top-the Mississippi River.
And here's the West side view-St. Louis. That tan building next to the highway is our hotel, the Hyatt Regency.
 See there's the Cardinal's Stadium.

 The signs by the windows tell you it's the very top! You can see there's a pretty good group of people looking around. You can stay as long as you want, then prepare to catch the next ride down.
This is the group of folks waiting to go down. You need to stand to the right side, on the yellow section of the steps to stay out of the way of the getting out of the cars. I liked the sign at the top of the steps when you get out of the car. It's lit up here, so you can't see it in the picture, but it says Welcome to the Top.

 Here's a short video I tried to take of the car going down. I was in with a family and we were chatting as we went, you can see the inside walls of the arch and the stairs used by maintenance workers.
When we got done it was pouring rain! So we spent a little extra time at the Museum of the Westward Expansion. It details the Louis & Clark Expedtion.
 These manikins or models or whatever you call them, talk and move-it's pretty cool.

 The museum is free so you can hang around there as long as you like.

This is a pretty cool wall mural-it's made to look like it all carved stone but it's actually a flat painting. Well except for the arch model part.
There;s also a little candy/snack shop and the souvenir store too. We didn't buy any thing at the souvenir shop because we couldn't find anything in there that was made in the USA. SO the rain had pretty much stopped so we thought we would be able to make it to the hotel fairly dry-boy were we wrong!!

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