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Visiting Tips for the Statue of Liberty

Post 9-11-2001

Since 9-11, visiting the Statue of Liberty has new rules to be followed.  You can still walk up and get a ticket for the ferry but pre-purchasing your ticket online is strongly recommended.  After clearing security, you are on your way.  Once on the island, you can walk around.  If you want to go inside, planning in advance is required.  It takes 5-6 hours to fully experience both islands.

The tour choices are:

Statue of Liberty Tour Descriptions - Crown Access with Pedestal/Museum Access, Pedestal/Museum Access only or Ground Audio Tour

Crown & Monument Pass (A): This Reserve Pass with Crown Ticket allows access up to the Crown of the Statue of Liberty. This Reserve Ticket allows you priority entry into the Security Screening Facility which saves you wait time at the departure point. The Reserve with Crown Ticket allows access to the Museum at the base of the Statue and the Pedestal Observation Deck. Audio Tours are available for an additional fee. Prior to entering the Statue of Liberty, there is a second security screening.

(Area B included with all passes): This area houses the original Statue of Liberty torch and will help you experience the story behind this colossal sculpture.  The monument access tour also includes a visit to Ft. Wood at the base of the monument with plenty of time for interpretive programs, photo opportunities and superb views of the Statue, NY Harbor, and Manhattan skyline.

Add-On Audio Tour (C): Listen to voices of generations past as they recall their voyages to America, hear the story behind the Statue and learn what it really was like to pass through immigration on Ellis Island.  Designed to allow you to go at your own pace and walk the grounds. Available in multiple languages including English, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish & French.

How do I get ferry tickets and tour passes when departing from New York?

Begin at Battery Park on the tip of Manhattan at the circular fortress called Castle Clinton. Built in 1811 to defend against British attacks, it now serves as the ticket and information center for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island ferry rides.

Inside Castle Clinton, the circular structure to your right houses the ticket booth. Visiting the statue does not require an admission fee. This ticket is for the ferry which is the only way to get to the island. Currently, the ferry fee is $17.00 adults, $14.00 seniors (62+) and $9.00 children (4-12), 3 and under are free.  Audio tours are included with every ticket purchase. The Reserve Ticket allows you priority entry to security check-in which saves you wait time at the departure point. Crown passes cost a few more dollars for the extra scurity check and the wristband.

Statue Cruises is the new carrier replacing Circle Line and has online ticket sales.

Passing through Castle Clinton takes us to the water's edge where you wait in line for the ferry. Don't let the rain keep you away in the winter, lines are much shorter and you never know when you'll be back to visit.

The Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island ferries run about every 45 minutes beginning at 8:00 am (times may change, check web site). If you are planning to include this in your itinerary, try to do it earlier, especially in the summer months. You'll find the crowds to be smaller giving you more time to spend here or elsewhere.

Boarding the ferry, there are 2 levels on it. If you're into taking photos or home video, then try and be on the right side of the boat going and the left side coming back. This will put you on the statue side both directions.

Liberty Island, until 1956, was called Bedloe's Island. When you debark the ferry, you'll walk past the concession and gift center building and towards a circular area with a flagpole in the center. Now, you could just take time to walk around the island but go right to security. Use the lockers just before security to store anything larger than a small camera bag.

Upon entering the base there are donation boxes. Why not toss in a few dollars to keep the statue in tip-top shape? Inside you'll immediately notice the torch. The was the original, which was replaced during the statue's major renovation in the mid-1980's. The base's insides were also redesigned at that time and serves as the museum. Visit that on your way down.

Start your ascent inside the pedestal. A staircase wraps its way along the sides while an elevator is located in the center. The elevator takes people to the top of the pedestal which has exits to outside platforms on several levels. This is best for people who may have trouble climbing or for people who do not want to wait in the long line.

The corkscrew up the middle is a double staircase and you've got to watch your footing when you slowly climb on these small, triangular steps. It's definitely a good idea to wear sneakers or rubber-soled shoes on this excursion.

Look around at the fantastic iron skeleton which holds together the 100 tons of copper sheeting. Does it remind you of another famous large metal structure? It was designed by Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, famous for his Tower which is in Paris!

At the top! Peering out the windows at the top of Liberty's 10-foot wide head, you have a view of over 180 degrees! Looking up towards the arm, it's amazing to think the public was allowed up there at one time. Inside the arm is a ladder which goes to the small doorway of the torch.

On the other side, you can look straight down and get a glimpse of the book Liberty's holding. It says "July 4th 1776" in roman numerals.

Get your picture taken by a friend in the crown.

At the end of that crazy spiral staircase, you can go outside for a breather and see some more awesome views. On the opposite side, you can see the walkway you had originally come in on. There are 3 outdoor levels to the base where you can take photos of the statue at very interesting angles.

The museum chronicles the epic story of how the Statue of Liberty was built. The financial difficulties, design problems, etc. The museum also exhibits the variety of ways Liberty has been exploited on post cards, war bonds, magazine ads, etc.

The newly built (2010) gift store is out next to the cafeteria.

Ready to go? The ferry goes from Liberty Island to Ellis Island where there is an historic museum relating to the millions of 19th century European immigrants who passed through this facility when they reached America's shores. You can stay on and go back to the City or disembark to see Ellis Island.

An Evening With Miss Liberty
Public night tours of Americas most iconic national monument! On eight Thursday nights during June, July and August, the Statue of Liberty National Monument will be open to the general public. Check Statue Cruises web site.

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