What to know before you go
Gates will open both days at 9 a.m., and close at 5 p.m. The STEM Expo, static displays, Camp Spirit and food vendors will be open throughout those hours.
The air show takes place from 11:15 a.m.-3:30 p.m. each day. The same aviation acts are scheduled to perform both days with the exception of the B-1 and B-2 bombers, which are scheduled to fly on Saturday only. To allow enough time to find a great viewing spot, visitors are encouraged to arrive between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
General admission tickets are $25. Children ages 6 and younger, along with active members of the military, are free for general admission.
FlightLine Club tickets, which provide premium reserved seating along the show line, private access to food and beverages for purchase and private portable restroom facilities along with general admission, are $40 per person, while tickets remain. Children as well as adults must have a ticket for the FlightLine Club.
Parking is free for all visitors.
For those visitors who need assistance getting around the grounds, attendants driving golf carts will be on hand to provide shuttle service inside the gates. Wheelchairs also will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Plenty of restroom facilities will be located at various spots throughout the grounds.
What to bring, what not to bring
Folding chairs are welcome for viewing the air show. Cameras and sun block also are a great idea. In case of rain, however, do not bring your umbrella. Since umbrellas can obstruct another’s view of the air show, they will not be permitted. In the event of rain, a hooded raincoat or rain poncho is a good option.
Food and beverages will be available for purchase. No coolers, picnic items or other food may be brought in from outside the event grounds.
No oversize bags will be permitted. All handbags and other personal items will be searched at the entrance.
No pets, except service animals, are allowed. Concealed weapons are not permitted. For a more detailed list of items not permitted on the show grounds, visit the event website at www.spirit-airshow.com.
Directions and parking
Plenty of free parking will be provided on the property located to the north of the event grounds, with available shuttle service to and from the gate on both days.
In case of inclement or severe weather, parking locations may change and air show times may be impacted, so it will be important to check www.spirit-airshow.com before leaving home if conditions are rainy.
Parking for visitors with disabilities should be accessed via Chesterfield Airport Road to Spirit of St. Louis Boulevard, where they will be directed to accessible parking.
From the east, visitors should take I-64 west and exit at Chesterfield Parkway West, Boone’s Crossing or Long Road. Turn west on Chesterfield Airport Road to Spirit of St. Louis Boulevard. Turn south and follow the signs to Wings of Hope Boulevard. Drivers will be directed into the parking area.
From the west, visitors should take I-64 east to the Chesterfield Airport Road exit just past the Daniel Boone Bridge. Follow the signs to Old Olive and turn south. Drivers will be directed into the parking area.
Very heavy traffic is expected in and around the Chesterfield Valley on May 14 and 15, so visitors should expect delays.
“We have been working with the local police and highway patrol, and a professional parking company, to ensure the lessons learned in 2014 translate into a better experience for all our guests this year,” said Mark Sutherland, spokesperson for the air show. “However, there will be traffic and people should plan ahead and expect an hour to get in and an hour to get out [of the grounds].
“Additionally, the closer we get to the 11:15 a.m. start of the air show, the more congested the traffic will be, and again immediately after the end of the air show guests will experience the heaviest traffic. Come early, stay late and plan ahead.”
The no-parking policy for streets in and around the airport will be strictly enforced, so drivers will not be allowed to pull over on area roadsides to watch the air show.
Volunteers are needed to help with this event in a variety of ways. Individuals interested in volunteering can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
STEM Expo returns to the Air Show
By BONNIE KRUEGER
If you love all things STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics], the place to be May 14-15 is the 2016 Spirit of St. Louis Air Show & STEM Expo. There, you’ll witness STEM in action through the flight of the Canadian Snowbirds and the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels. Then, come back to earth and explore the STEM Expo’s 26 interactive exhibits.
Ashley McMichael, a chemistry teacher at Gateway STEM High in the St. Louis Public School District, is the volunteer Expo coordinator. This is the second year for the STEM Expo, sponsored by MasterCard, after its inaugural appearance in 2014.
“In 2014 there was a tent for each of the letters in STEM. So one tent was designated as a science tent, one was a technology tent, one was engineering, and one was mathematics,” McMichael explained. “This year we are not separating these disciplines. Instead, we are showing how STEM is integrated and science, technology, engineering and math are all related.”
McMichael went on to explain that this year’s Expo focus is on how STEM is used in everyday ways. Ameren will have an energy display to show what it does on a daily basis, while Image Technologies Corporation, a signage and banner company, will bring its equipment to show how math and engineering is regularly used in its business.
A LEGO Mindstorms® robotics exhibit and sensory exploration table from Ready Readers will draw young visitors, while the First Robotics and Wilbur Wright presentations will draw in teenagers and adults.
Twenty local schools will visit the STEM Expo in a private event the day before the Expo is open to the public.
“Our aim is to provide a meaningful experience for our fifth- through eighth-grade students. We want them to think about STEM in both the traditional career pursuits and through various daily experiences,” McMichael said.
While visiting the Expo, guests should be sure to check out the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, whose members will be teaching how STEM relates to the game of chess. Guests also can visit the rocket building exhibit or the always popular flight simulator, sponsored by Boeing Co.