On October 28, the Statue of Liberty will celebrate her 131st birthday! Majestic and strong, she stands tall at the converging point of the East and Hudson Rivers, and has been a symbol of hope and freedom for more than a century.
If you’ve never seen the statue in real life, consider visiting this fall to help her commemorate another year on our shores. Here are some suggestions for making the most of your visit.
Did you know that the statue’s proper name is Liberty Enlightening the World? If not, you’re not alone—and you’re sure to learn a lot more during your visit.
A gift from France to America at the end of the 19th century, the Statue of Liberty once served as a lighthouse, once had her torch-bearing arm damaged by saboteurs, and is believed to be struck by lightning about 600 times every year!
Tickets for tours sell out quickly so skip the long lines (and avoid disappointment) by reserving your tickets in advance. The best way to do this is through the National Park Service website, which warns against buying from unauthorized ticket sellers.
Keep in mind that to get to the Statue of Liberty you must take a ferry (which requires airport-style security checks before boarding) at an additional cost, so plan your trip accordingly.
Know the Rules
There is no cost to visit the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, but visiting the crown can require an additional fee. You cannot reserve more than four crown tickets at a time, and children must meet specific height requirements.
If you plan to go up to the crown, the NPS website lists the items that cannot be carried with you (lockers are available if you need to store items). Also, and this is a big deal, there is no elevator connecting the top of the pedestal to the crown platform so be sure to use the bathroom before you climb the 377 steps!
Visit the Ellis Island Immigration Museum
While you are on Ellis Island, head over to the Immigration Museum to hear the stories of the 12 million immigrants who landed on Ellis Island, and whose descendants account for half of US citizens today.
A 45-minute tour will take you back in time and help you relive the experience of these “new arrivals” in search of a better life. For those who want to learn more, tour options include exhibits and interviews with historians, archeologists, and architects. Young visitors will enjoy the children’s audio tour, suitable for ages 6-10.
Consider a CityPASS
New York City is one of the most popular destinations in the world. There is so much to see and do but it can get expensive. Fortunately, there are some great ways to save money and still have a great time.
The New York CityPASS provides a 42 percent discount on many popular attractions, including the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, as well as other must-see sites like the Empire State Building, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the 9/11 Memorial and Museum.
This fall, before the crazy holiday travel season begins, visit the Statue of Liberty on her birthday and remember all of the hope and promise she represents. Then, let those loving, warm feelings carry you through to the New Year!