Feathered friends and sturdy steel (weekends Jan. 19 until Feb. 24)

January 16, 2008

The bald eagle is all over the news these days thanks to its wintertime presence across Missouri. Whenever I hear about the eagle-watching events, like the one this coming weekend at the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, I feel like I should go — after all, good friends of ours travel the country each spring on massive bird-watching expeditions. We, on the other hand, have special birds here for most of the winter, and I can’t even drive across town?

I wish I were more of a bird person. However, I am a man-made-wonder person, and I can really appreciate the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge. My family’s been going there since M. was a toddler, and the recent upgrades (potties, yay!) have only made the experience better. Do your best to ignore the hassles you might get in the Missouri-side parking lot, pay the fee (or park on the Illinois side for free, or, during the Eagle Days events Jan. 19, 20 and 21, take the free shuttle from North Riverfront Park) and climb aboard. It really feels as if you’re taking a voyage just by walking onto the span; within minutes you’re above the treetops and over the rolling water.

Don’t worry about kids falling off, but do keep them off the chain link fence for your own peace of mind. We’ve never encountered anyone who was scared of the height — and I say that as someone who hates driving over bridges across water. I think the freedom of walking on the bridge actually helps keep me calm. And the structure itself is more like a building than a walkway; it’s been on the National Register of Historic Places for more than a year now.

S o there are two good excuses to visit the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge during the next five weekends: the eagles and the bridge. Eagle Days’ educational programs run 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Jan. 19 and 20, but the bridge is open longer. For complete hours, see the homepage of Trailnet, an organization that promotes active living (although you may know it best as a bicycling advocacy group). It manages the bridge and has been working with a host of partners to upgrade it into a true visitors’ destination.

And now, a photo from our first visit back in 2004 … Old Chain of Rocks Bridge in 2004

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One Response to “Feathered friends and sturdy steel (weekends Jan. 19 until Feb. 24)”

  1. Becky Says:

    Hey Amy, this blog is a great resource! I’ll be checking back often. Thanks for the heads up about the eagle-watching. I AM a bird person, (and a non-man-made wonder person), so I’ll definitely get out there and try to catch a glimpse of these birds while they’re here.

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