Saturday, March 31, 2007

St. Louis - Arches and Historic Buildings

No trip to St. Louis is complete without viewing the Gateway Arch. The arch and Mississippi Riverfront park were just across the freeway from my hotel. While my room wasn't perfectly aligned to the arch (I could only see half of it from my hotel room) there were spectacular views from the hotel bar.

Before the rain moved in, I was able to spend a couple hours at the end of the day relaxing at the park and under the arch. I thought about taking the tram to the top, but the scheduling didn't work. Also, it was easier to view the St. Louis skyline from the rotating restaurant/bar at the top of the Millennium hotel.

Under the arch is the Museum of Westward Expansion. There is a fairly large Lewis and Clark display in this museum. The obligatory gift shop is also under the arch.

A series of bridges crossed the Mississippi River to the Illinois side. There were many other tourist attractions near the arch - riverboat cruises and horse drawn carriages.

Near the southwest edge of the riverfront park is the Old Historic Cathedral.

To the west of the arch is the Historic Courthouse, which was built in 1828 and was the site of the early Dred Scott hearings.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Missouri Botanical Gardens

What better way to end a long day of talking science education policy than finding a monument to honor American Science. We found such a monument at the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

After our conference ended for the day, we piled onto a bus and headed to the gardens. We had about an hour and a half to explore the gardens. We couldn't have picked a better time to visit. Most of the bulbs were in full bloom, as were many of the flowering trees.

The star magnolias were just finishing their blooms, but the saucer magnolias were spectacular.
My favorite area was the Japanese Gardens. The weeping higan cherries were blooming all around the lake.
The area around the lake was very peaceful and relaxing. On the far side of the lake, the Yoshino Cherries were in full bloom. I'm not sure what this tree is but the bright pink blooms along the branches were quite unusual.

After touring the grounds, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner in the Spink Pavillion that consisted of grilled chicken breast and grilled beef tenderloin with roasted garlic sauce accompanied with cabernet gorgonzola whipped potatoes and roasted mixed vegetables. Yum!

After dinner, it was back to the hotel to catch up on some work.