Hit the Road
Five one-tank road trips to satisfy your wanderlust.
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The Ultimate Summer Adventure: Missouri National Parks Passport Challenge
Missouri is home to six national parks: Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis; Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site in St. Louis; Ozark National Scenic Riverways in Van Buren, Eminence, Salem and Winona; Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield in Republic; George Washington Carver National Monument in Diamond; and the Harry S. Truman National Historic Site in Independence. Whether you soar to the top of the Gateway Arch, float down a cool, spring-fed stream or walk in the steps of Civil War soldiers, Missouri’s national parks offer many things to do, learn, experience and enjoy.
This year, the Missouri National Parks are offering a Passport Challenge. You and your family will be rewarded for experiencing adventures at our state’s national parks. Get your passport stamped at three parks and receive a free Missouri National Parks Passport Challenge water bottle. Stamp your passport at all six parks and receive a commemorative “Challenge Accomplished” Passport Challenge drawstring backpack.
Two of these parks have more in common than you’d think. Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site both honor past U.S. presidents and are located in St. Louis, making a national parks-centric trip to St. Louis as easy as ever. Here’s what you need to know about each of these sites.
Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site
Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site educates the public on the lives and legacies of Civil War general and 18th president of the United States Ulysses S. Grant and his wife, Julia Dent Grant, as well as the enslaved African-Americans and other residents of White Haven, a sprawling former farming plantation where Julia grew up.
The White Haven property was a focal point in Grant's and Julia's lives for four decades. The Grants lived there off and on during the 1850s. Although the family moved to Galena, Illinois, in 1860, the Grants continued to think of White Haven as their family home. By 1870, President Grant owned nearly 650 acres of the White Haven farm and began readying the property for a relaxing retirement. Although circumstances caused him to abandon those retirement plans, Grant retained ownership of the property until a few months before his death in 1885.
Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site is anchored by the restored White Haven home and includes a visitor center and a museum. It showcases Grant’s humble beginnings and links them with his future and the state of our country today.
For more information, visit nps.gov/ulsg.
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
Located in downtown St. Louis, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial is a 90.96-acre national historic site comprising the Gateway Arch and Old Courthouse. The vision of renowned architect Eero Saarinen, the Gateway Arch reflects St. Louis’ role in the westward expansion of the United States. The park is a memorial to Thomas Jefferson’s role in opening the West and to Dred Scott, who sued for his freedom in the Old Courthouse.
America’s tallest man-made monument at 630 feet, the Gateway Arch has beckoned visitors for more than 50 years with its iconic, awe-inspiring shape. The CityArchRiver Foundation, a public-private partnership, is leading a $380 million plan to enhance the Arch visitor experience. The plan includes new exhibits at the Old Courthouse and the Arch, a new accessible westward-facing entrance, renovated park grounds and new bike trails along the riverfront, and the construction of a Park Over the Highway that will connect the Arch ground with the Old Courthouse.
The Old Courthouse stands as a prominent architectural landmark and was the backdrop for some of America’s pivotal early legal cases. It was the site of Dred and Harriet Scott’s suit for freedom in 1847 and Virginia Minor's case for a woman's right to vote in 1873. Today, the Old Courthouse features restored courtrooms and exhibit galleries on the Dred Scott case and westward expansion.