131st Bomb Wing – Missouri ANG Community
St. Louis, one of the largest cities in Missouri, sprawls across the west bank of the Mississippi River just below its junction with the Missouri River. It’s home to Jefferson Barracks Air National Guard Base in South County, as well the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency on the banks of the Mississippi River in the Soulard district, the city’s oldest neighborhood. The metropolitan area encompasses 12 counties — seven in Missouri and five in Illinois. In 2015, the population of the city was approximately 315,000, with about 1 million people in surrounding St. Louis County. Because of its historic role in the nation’s westward expansion, St. Louis is known as the “Gateway to the West,” and its 630-foot stainless steel Gateway Arch, the nation’s loftiest man-made monument, commemorates this role.
St. Louis supports internationally recognized institutions and organizations, and cultural and informational opportunities abound. Residents and visitors young and old enjoy the zoo, science center, opera, theater, art museum, symphony and more; and five-star restaurants and corner bistros offer fine dining and casual dinners alike. St. Louis has great fairs and festivals with themes that reflect the area’s cultural heritage and traditions: A sampling would include Fair St. Louis, St. Louis Strassenfest, the Blues Festival, Taste of St. Louis, the Greek Festival and the Great Forest Park Balloon Race and Festival.
Downtown St. Louis features some of the city’s biggest attractions, among them the Scottrade Center, Busch Stadium and Union Station, a redeveloped train station packed with shopping and restaurants.
St. Louis ranks high for medical institutions, universities and quality of life and is a hub for industrial and corporate headquarters. Lambert-St. Louis International Airport was the longtime home of the 131st Fighter Wing and continues to support Army and Air National Guard agencies while also serving more than 12 million air passengers each year.
EVENTS & ATTRACTIONS
750 N. 16th St.
St. Louis, MO 63103
Named one of the “great public spaces” by the Project for Public Spaces, this museum/play house is cobbled together from repurposed architectural and industrial objects in the historic Washington Avenue Loft District. The surreal site, popular among both tourists and residents, encourages visitors to touch, climb and play on the oddball exhibits — not to worry, there are safety docents on each of its many floors. Visit the website for information about hours, admission, educational programs and more.
5595 Grand Drive
St. Louis, MO 63112
One of the largest urban parks in the U.S., Forest Park attracts about 12 million visitors annually with its world-class walking and biking trails, greenhouse of incredible floral displays, golf courses and more. Home to the 1904 World’s Fair, this expansive green spot is perfect for large parties or your own picnic. Visit the website for park maps, attractions, special events and more.
The Gateway Arch
100 Washington Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63102
Celebrating the westward expansion of the United States, the 630-foot tall Gateway Arch monument sits at the site of St. Louis’ founding on the west bank of the Mississippi River. The international symbol of the city opened in 1967 and is the world’s tallest arch. Take a ride up to the top of the inside of the arch, and visit the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial at its base. The website has hours, admission prices and more.
Saint Louis Science Center
5050 Oakland Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63110
This complex includes a science museum and planetarium on the southeastern corner of Forest Park. With more than 750 exhibits, it is among the largest of its type in the country and has been named one of the Top 5 science centers in the nation. Best of all — it’s free. The facility is one of only two science centers in the United States that offers free general admission.
Saint Louis Zoological Park
One Government Drive
St. Louis, MO 63110
Have a wild time with the creatures at what is commonly called the Saint Louis Zoo. Another of the city’s amazing free attractions, the zoo has been named one of the leading zoological parks. View big cats, penguins, stingrays and more; then enjoy the children’s petting zoo. The Emerson Zooline Railroad carries you on a guided tour, while boutiques and restaurants throughout the park give places for rest and refreshment. Visit the website for zoo hours, special event schedules and more.
St. Louis Blues
1401 Clark Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63103
Taking the ice in downtown’s Scottrade Center, the St. Louis Blues heat up the Central Division of the National Hockey League. Founded in 1967, the Blues are unfortunately the oldest NHL team never to have won the Stanley Cup, but every season is a new chance to change that. Visit the website for schedules, ticket prices, stats and more.
St. Louis Cardinals
700 Clark Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63102
Take me out to see one of the most successful franchises in Major League Baseball history, with 11 World Series championships, second only to the New York Yankees. The Cards — National League, Central Division favorites — are known for their fan loyalty, often filling Busch Stadium with the league’s highest attendances, especially against the rival Chicago Cubs. Visit the website for schedules, ticket prices, special events, statistics and more.
Just across the river from St. Louis in St. Clair County’s Collinsville, a mysterious people known as the Mississippians built a mighty city including at least 120 earthen mounds that was, at its peak, the largest urban center north of Central America and Mexico. Founded around A.D. 600, it grew to embrace 6,000 to 40,000 residents but declined and was abandoned around A.D. 1300 for unknown reasons. Scholars have blamed its collapse on causes ranging from bad sanitation to disease, exhaustion of food supplies to deforestation and flooding, or even conquest. The award-winning Cahokia Museum and Interpretive Center gives fascinating insights into this cultivated, artistic people. The site is a National Historic Landmark, on the National Register of Historic Places and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Gateway Geyser at Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park
185 W. Trendley Ave.
East St. Louis, IL 62201
This tremendous fountain is directly east across the Mississippi riverfront from St. Louis’ Gateway Arch. The second tallest fountain in the world, it lifts water more than 600 feet high. Four smaller fountains nearby represent the four rivers, which converge in St. Louis and East St. Louis. The geyser has three scheduled 10-minute eruptions daily at noon, 3 and 6 p.m., from April 15 to Oct. 15. No eruptions are scheduled from Oct. 16 through April 14.
The Gateway Grizzlies are a top-performing professional minor league team, part of the Frontier League’s West Division, based in the St. Louis suburb of Sauget, Illinois, just across the river. They play at GCS Ballpark against East and West Division rivals, the Evansville Otters, the Florence Freedom, the Lake Erie Crushers, the traveling Frontier Greys, the Southern Illinois Miners, the Traverse City Beach Bums, the Washington Wild Things, the Joliet Slammers, the Normal CornBelters, the River City Rascals, the Rockford Aviators, the Schaumburg Boomers and the Windy City ThunderBolts.
Gateway Motorsports Park
700 Raceway Blvd.
Madison, IL 62060
This motor racetrack just east of St. Louis hosts NASCAR events, drag races, car club shows and more. Visit the website for schedules, ticket prices, racer bios and more.