Updated: May 21, 2015
Your Guide to Planning a Visit to the Statue of Liberty:Visiting New York and the Statue of Liberty - New York has one of the most instantly recognizable skylines in the world; even people who have never been there can tell that they're looking at the Big Apple. It's the city of dreams, the toughest city on Earth, the grittiest, and the most beautiful all rolled into one. One of this city's most iconic landmarks is, without a doubt, the Statue of Liberty. The regal guardian of New York Harbor, Lady Liberty is more than just a New York treasure: she is a symbol for the freedom and ideals of the entire country. The inscription is famous throughout the world: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free...." She represents not so much of what the United States is, but what it can be - and what one person can become. Visiting the Statue of Liberty is an experience you will never forget. This guide will help you make the most of every minute.
Where is the Statue of Liberty? - One of the world's most famous statues and America's most beloved monuments resides on Liberty Island in the New York Harbor. The 305-foot statue was a gift to the U.S. from France for the country's centennial, symbolizing the unity and friendship between the United States and France that was forged during the American Revolution. Early immigrants to the U.S. were greeted by the statue, the first landmark in their new country. Liberty Island is located off the southern tip of Manhattan and is considered part of that borough. Just to the northwest of Liberty Island is Ellis Island, most famous for being the processing point for immigrants to the U.S. See the map below for a general idea.
Getting There: How Do You Get to the Statue of Liberty? - If you're in New York or New Jersey, why not take a day and visit? You can enter via ferry through New York and New Jersey. If you are in New York, take FDR Drive south to Battery Park and State Street. You can also go to the West Side Highway/West Street/Route 9A south to Battery Place. You can then get on the ferry for your short trip to the island. If you are in New Jersey, take the New Jersey Turnpike to exit 14B to get to Liberty State Park. Here you can catch the ferry as well. Battery Park will have limited, private (and expensive!) parking so it is a good idea to take a subway or bus and then get on the ferry. Liberty State Park has a lot of good paid parking, so that should be far easier, and easier on your pocketbook.
Statue of Liberty Tickets:Before you set sail, however, you will want to make sure you do a few things so you can get into the park and enjoy your day. The most important thing is to purchase tickets. You can purchase tickets for the ferry at the Castle Clinton National Monument in New York's Battery Park or at the Railroad Terminal Building and Museum in Liberty State Park, New Jersey. Another option is to purchase your tickets online from StateCruises.com. Here you choose your departure point and select the type of tickets you'd like. You can choose from the following:
*Reserve ticket. These are the basic tickets that will get you to Liberty Island and Ellis Island (all of the excursions include a visit to both islands, though you do not have to de-board at Ellis Island if you don't want to). This costs $12 for adults, $10 for seniors (age 62 and up), and $5 for children (age 4-12). You can opt to have an audio tour. This costs $20, $17.25, and $12.25, respectively.
*Reserve ticket with Pedestal/Museum ticket. The Reserve ticket allows you access only to the grounds of Liberty and Ellis Islands. You can choose to get a ticket with Pedestal/Museum access for the same price as the Reserve ticket. Audio tours are also the same price as with the Reserve ticket. This ticket will not give you access to the crown, and there is a second security checkpoint prior to entry to the Statue.
*For crown access, you will need the Reserve with Crown Ticket. The costs for this are the same as for the Reserve ticket, with a $3 charge if you would like a crown ticket. You will get priority entry into the Security Screening Facility. There is another screening checkpoint before you enter the Statue of Liberty. You can go into the Museum at the Statue's base and the Pedestal Observation Deck and then on to the crown. Again, audio tours are available for $20, $17.25, or $12.25, respectively, with the extra $3 fee if you choose to go to the crown.
*3-Day Flex Ticket. These can be used for any one day within a 3-day period. This is a good option if you are planning a trip to New York and would like to visit the Statue of Liberty but do not know which day you will be able to make it. You will need to have an exact date when you order your ticket, but then you may use it within a 3-day period of that date. This is a basic ticket, only allowing access to the grounds of Liberty and Ellis Islands. Costs are the same as with the Reserve ticket.
You can also plan group tours for your school or community. Fill out the online request form here (http://www.statuecruises.com/ferry-service/groups-tour-travel.aspx).