My family loves a good road trip. Give us (lots of) snacks, podcasts, good music and (no shame here) a few tablets loaded with movies and we’re ready to hit the road. For at least the past two years my daughter has been begging to visit the Statue of Liberty so we decided it was time this year. We worked our way through New England and ended our trip with a surprise stop in NYC.
We booked our tickets in advance through Statue Cruises, the only provider of tickets to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Their ferries leave from two destinations every 20-35 minutes: The Battery in New York and Liberty State Park in New Jersey. We caught the ferry in The Battery - the nearby parking garage made it so simple.
Thinking about visiting The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island with kids? Here’s a few tips from a family that has been there with three kids: ages three, five and nine.
Before you go:
- Prepare before you leave home.
Let your children watch a few videos about the significance of The Statue of Liberty. This is a great one here. To prepare them for visiting Ellis Island, check out this video here.
- Get your tickets in advance.
It’s no secret that kids don’t like to wait in line. You can easily skip the line by purchasing tickets in advance. We sailed right past all of the families waiting in line to purchase tickets and were through security in no time. Plus, reserving your tickets in advance is the only way to guarantee access to the interior of the Statue of Liberty.
- Let your kids pick the seats on the boat.
Kids love to think they’re in charge so let them decide if they want to feel the breeze on the top open deck or watch the ride from the inside of the lower decks.
- Plan for the weather.
Since we were there in November, I made sure to have hats and gloves with us. The boat ride can get chilly! You might not need them, but better safe than sorry!
- Don't forget the snacks.
There’s a snack station on the ferry and a full quick serve restaurant on each island, but when the ‘hangries’ hit, you’ll be glad to have a quick fix on hand.
- Going inside the Statue of Liberty is a must.
We chose to go with the Pedestal Reserve tickets which are perfect for families with kids under 48” tall. If you have kids over 48” then make the crown a ‘must’ during your NYC trip. I’ve been the whole way to the top and it’s incredible. I can’t wait to go back again with my kids when they are a bit older and take them to the crown.
- Take an audio tour.
Audio tours are free and included with every purchase. Simply pick up your audio guide when you get off the boat at the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island.
- Bring history alive.
My husband and daughter had a great time searching the records at Ellis Island for ancestors. Did you know that 100 million Americans can trace their ancestry to the immigrants who crossed this island before dispersing to points all over the country?
We had such a great conversation with the kids, imagining our ancestors at Ellis Island and talking about how their great-great grandparents might have been feeling as NYC came into sight. It’s definitely a trip my family will remember forever! To plan your family’s trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, click here.
While many travelers enjoy exploring the islands at their leisure, many travelers also like to enjoy a guided experience. One of the largest walking & experience tour companies in the United States is EXP1 – ExperienceFirst, offers authentic, immersive and memorable experiences in New York City and other major travel markets across the country including Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco. EXP1 also provides guided tours in Paris, France.
Voted the “#1 Cultural Experience Globally” by TripAdvisor and the Best Tour on Two Feet by Get Your Guide, EXP1 simply puts the “visitor’s experience first,” providing dozens of tours seven days a week based on three key pillars catering to any type of traveler, which include those who want to visit the city’s biggest attractions, those who want to explore the diversity of different neighborhoods and those who want to experience the highlights of their favorite city in one whirlwind day. Each EXP1 guided tour includes a knowledgeable, engaging and dynamic guide –a storyteller sharing their knowledge, history and passion of each city.
One of their most popular tours is the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Tour which includes a Statue Cruises ticket AND a friendly, knowledgeable guide to share the rich history with along the journey. To learn more about booking a tour for your next trip, click here.
We were provided with complimentary tickets by Statue Cruises for the purpose of this article. All opinions are 100% my own.