November 20, 2017

Statue of Liberty: 6 Tips for a Fun-Filled Day with Lady Liberty

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If a visit to the Statue of Liberty is on your bucket list, you have until October 28 to pay homage to Lady Liberty, or at least to access the crown, pedestal and museum. The next day, all three shut down for up to a year to make way for a renovation project to make the Statue of Liberty’s interior safer and more accessible for everyone.

But don’t worry, you can still cruise with your family to Liberty Island and Ellis Island, visit the Ellis Island Immigration Museum (free admission), and enjoy photo opps in front of Lady Liberty. So if you decide to pay a visit to the Statue of Liberty, whether before or after the end of October, here are a few tips to ensure a fun-filled visit:

  • Know Your Cruising Options. If you want to step off on Ellis Island or at the Statue of Liberty, you can only get there with Statue Cruises. You can depart from Liberty State Park (New Jersey) or Battery Park (New York). If you just want to sail by, consider the Staten Island Ferry or the one-hour Statue of Liberty Express Cruise, which pauses briefly in front of the Statue of Liberty for guests to take photos.
  • Learn More with an Audio Tour. For $8, you can get two self-guided audio tours, a 30-minute tour of Liberty Island, which explores the outside of the Statue, as well as a 45-minute overview tour of the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Look for the Antenna International booths on both islands to pick up your rental. Ask about audio tours for children ages 6-10, which feature animal characters as guides. Or, save a few dollars and download a handful of short, free audio tour podcasts on iTunes.
  • Enjoy a Free Ranger Tour. Meet at the Liberty Island Flagpole for a free 30-minute outdoor tour around the grounds of the Statue of Liberty with a park ranger. You’ll learn about the conception, construction and restoration of one of the world’s most famous monuments.
  • Buy Your Tickets Online. If you choose to ferry over to Liberty Island and Ellis Island, it’s best to buy your tickets well in advance to avoid the extra hassle on the day of your visit. It’s too late to get tickets to access the crown before it closes in late-October, but once it re-opens, you’ll need to book at least three months in advance. Book your tickets to go inside to the pedestal level at least a week or so in advance.
  • Visit Early in the Morning. Avoid the lines by buying your tickets in advance and by arriving early in the morning. The first ferry leaves Battery Park and Liberty State Park at 8:30, but you’ll want to arrive at least 30 to 45 minutes in advance to get through airport-like security. If you visit either before or after the renovation and choose to tour inside the Statue of Liberty, add in an extra 20-30 minutes since a second security screening is required.
  • Get a Junior Ranger Badge. Your kids can become Junior Rangers at both Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty if they are between 7 and 12 years of age. Pick up a Junior Ranger Booklet for the State of Liberty at the Liberty Island Information Center (or download the 12-page activity book). Complete seven activities in the booklet (takes one to two hours), then bring the completed activities to the Information Center to show a ranger and take the Junior Ranger Pledge to receive a certificate and badge on the spot. For Ellis Island, download the 8-page activity booklet (takes about an hour) and show a ranger on the island for your child to get his or her badge.

Before you go, be sure to follow the Statue of Liberty on Twitter for more history and facts about the Statue of Liberty. Look out for “125 Tweets in 125 Days” as they tweet out fun facts every day from late-June through October 28 to mark the Statue of Liberty’s 125th Anniversary.

Have you ever visited the Statue of Liberty with your family? I’d love to hear about your trip and what tips and advice you may have for those visiting Liberty Island and Ellis Island.

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