One of the iconic tourist attractions in NYC or rather in the entire world, Lady Liberty is sure to find a place on your New York itinerary. Believe you me, despite being one of the main sights to see in NYC, it’s not easy to find out how to visit the Statue of Liberty in NY.
We researched the internet for days to plan our trip to the Statue of Liberty; the more we researched the more we found ourselves confused. There’s a sea of information available about Lady Liberty and half of it is unnecessary in fact.
So, having struggled to find the right way to visit the Statue of Liberty in NY, we decided to put together a complete guide that includes the desired information to make our fellow-travelers’ and readers’ life easy. We want to make sure that you have the best experience ever with kids at the world’s most famous monument, Statue of Liberty.
By the way, I’m sure you’d want to read our New York itinerary to know how to explore NYC like a pro.
What’s in it for kids? Well, it’s no less than a live history lesson mixed with fun. I am sure after visiting the Statue of Liberty with kids, they are gonna know some fun facts. New York is for sure one of the best places to visit in USA with kids.
For America, it’s not just a monument but an emotion. There’s a reason millions of people get to the island to see up close the world-renowned skyscraping Lady Liberty.
The iconic lady that stands tall in the cool waters of New York Harbor is a picture that symbolizes the United States of America.
The Statue of Liberty was gifted to Americans by people of France in 1886 to commemorate the centennial anniversary of America’s independence . The monument is made up of steel and copper and is around 305 ft tall from the ground to the flame of the torch.
The statue gets it’s green color from the oxidization of the copper.
Statue of Liberty is situated on Liberty Island and the only mode to reach is a ferry. The ferry can be boarded either from Battery Park in New York or Liberty State Park in New Jersey.
Plan to spend a day exploring the monument and museums while visiting the Statue of Liberty.
Note: Only ferries from State Cruises are authorized to sell tickets and halt at the Liberty and Ellis Island.
The Statue of Liberty ferry can be boarded from two points:
Battery Park is a 25-acre public park located at the southern tip of Manhattan with facing the New York Harbor. This is also where the Statue of Liberty cruises are boarded. The historic Castle Clinton Monument inside the park has the ticket counter for the ferries to Ellis Island and Liberty Island. The Castle Clinton Monument also has a small exhibit of old pictures that is worth checking.
The ferries ply from the Battery Park to the Liberty Island and then drop off and pick passengers for Ellis Island and then back to the Battery Park.
Pro Tip: Avoid Battery Park if traveling by own vehicle as there is no parking at battery Park. Though there are private parking garages around but are very expensive.
Liberty State Park is located by the Hudson River with spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline. Stroll at the liberty walk and enjoy the views.
Apart from other recreational activities, this is the place to board the ferry for Liberty Island.
The State Cruise ferries can be boarded near the historic Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal at the State Park. The ferries from Liberty Park stop at Ellis Island first before heading to the Liberty Island and back to Liberty Park.
The ferries do have a small snacks bar to buy from.
Parking: There is ample parking at Liberty State Park, but it gets busy during holidays and summer. The Ferry parking lot is the closest to the terminal.
Pro Tip: Plan to visit on a weekday to beat the crowd.
Pro Tip: Avoid staying till evening as there is a high wait time in the evening to catch ferries back to NYC or NY.
So what to do when we reach the Liberty Island or Ellis Island? There are many questions regarding how to explore Statue of Liberty and the island. There are many things to do in Statue of Liberty –
Pedestal is the huge stone base on which the statue is standing. The pedestal itself is 89 feet tall. The pedestal has a museum and can go to the top of the pedestal to the balcony to see the spectacular views of the harbor. There are steps and elevator both inside the pedestal.
You need to reserve the ticket for the Pedestal in advance. Kids below the age of 4 don’t require tickets.
Climbing the crown is special as you get some scintillating views of the New York skyline. But it requires planning well in advance for the tickets, sometimes even 4-6 months for summer visit.
The way to the crown is through the pedestal after a stringent security screening. There are 162 narrow stairs to climb from the pedestal to the crown. And all the effort to climb up is worth when you look at the mesmerizing views of Manhattan skyline.
Kids small than 4 feet are not allowed to climb the crown. Basically someone who can’t climb the stairs unassisted are not allowed.
Pro Tip: People with health issues and are not fit should not climb the crown.
There are free ranger tours at Liberty Island and Ellis Island that take you deep into the history and construction of these iconic monuments while telling some interesting facts. There are Junior Ranger programs for kids as well.
The tours last 30 – 45 minutes. The schedule of the tours can be found at the Visitor Center.
This a must do with kids aged 7 – 12 years. Most National Parks have this fun Junior Ranger Program. Kids get a Statue of Liberty Activity book with some fun facts about the statue and its history. They need to fill the activity book while exploring the museum and the statue. It is a great way for kids to learn about the history without getting bored.
Once completed, head over to the Park Ranger Office to get your badges and sworn in as a Junior Park Ranger.
There are self-guided tours included with the ferry ticket that are the best way to know about the Statue of Liberty while exploring the monument and the grounds. Audio tours are designed for children 6 years and older as well.
Audio tours are available at the Visitor Center in many different languages.
No one can beat the spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline and the Hudson River from the Statue of Liberty. Walk around the grounds around the statue or climb up the pedestal. Of course the views from the crown are unmatched for.
The museum is the newest attraction on that Liberty Island opened in 2019. There are exhibits of interesting artifacts and pictures that throw light on the history and grandeur of the monument.
Pro Tip: You get to see the original torch of the Lady Liberty displayed at the museum
Ellis Island museum is the place where immigrants entered the US. You can spend hours learning about the history.
Liberty Island, as well as Ellis Island, are maintained by the National Park Service (NPS) so there’s no entry fee but you need to pay for the ferry that takes you to both the islands.
You can buy the ferry tickets online and offline both. Statue Cruises is the only authorized official ferry operator that’s allowed to take you to the Statue of Liberty.
Pro Tip: We highly recommend buying tickets Online well in advance (2-3 months prior).
Make sure to book your Crown Reserve Tickets at least 4 to 6 months in advance as they sell out fast.
You can save 42% on Reserve Ticket with New York City Pass. You can choose from the New York City Flex Pass valid for 30 days or the New York City Day Pass valid for 10 days. The City Pass comes with many other benefits like free entry and skip-the-line tickets to many of the famous New York attractions. It certainly saves time and money. In short, a great way to explore more in less time.
The Statue of Liberty remains one of the most popular attractions and it can get overwhelming with the crowd. So, prefer a guided tour to the Statue of Liberty including the museums.
There are many sunset and dinner cruises that Give the best views of Lady Liberty with backdrops of beautiful New York Skyline. There are some best cruises on luxury yacht. Choose from the many tours:
Visiting the iconic monument of US would require strict screening that too twice.
The belongings of travelers are scanned before boarding the ferry and thereafter at the entrance of the statue before heading to the pedestal or the crown.
Note: You need to empty your pockets, take off belts and scan the bags through scanner belts.
Note: Big bags and luggage are not permitted on the ferry and monument.
If visiting the crown and the pedestal, then backpacks, food items, strollers, tablets and even tripods are not allowed.
There are lockers available at $2 per hour for a duration of 2 hours at the checkpoint to deposit the belongings that only accepts quarters (25 cents). There is a change machine available.
If you do want to spend dollars, then hop on to the free Staten Island Ferry from Staten Island to Lower Manhattan. This will give you an opportunity to view the torch bearing lady with beautiful views of Manhattan skyline.
The ferry takes around 15 mins to each island With halts at Liberty Island and Ellis Island, but the whole to and fro duration spans 1 hour 15 mins.
Plan to spend half – full day at the islands. Infact We did it is as a day trips from Philadelphia.
Pro Tip: There is a wait time including the screening and to board the ferry.
The Liberty Crown Cafe at Liberty Island is the best place to eat with many healthy options and beverages available.
Ellis Island Cafe at Ellis Island has options for meals and snacks to choose from.