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New York - Statue of Liberty & Lower Manhattan

Statue of Liberty
  Statue of Liberty – The Statue of Liberty is a gift from the French, designed by Frederic-August Bartholdi and built to commemorate America’s 100th birthday. It was unveiled in 1886, and it’s been a big hit ever since. It’s not just size, 305 ft. tall, but she’s very green (the statue is covered with a copper skin). And that’s mom’s face up there – Bartholdi used his mother’s face as inspiration for the statue.

    To visit the Statue of Liberty, you’ll take the boat from Battery Park, near Castle Clinton, to Liberty Island. In the past, climbing up the inside of the Statue of Liberty on a hot summer’s day was a rite of passage for kids, and now it's back (although on a lottery basis). With a timed reservation, families can visit the 10th floor observation pedestal and other museum exhibits (including a full-size replica of Liberty’s face). Click here to reserve your time pass in advance. A reservation isn’t required just to wander around Liberty Island.
      Tip: Even with your time pass reservation, you’ll need to take the ferry to Liberty Island, and the lines can get long, so allow plenty of time for the boat ride, so you don’t miss your time slot.
      While gazing up at the Statue of Liberty, here’s some things to look for. Liberty’s crown has seven rays, which symbolize the seven seas and seven continents. The tablet she is holding is inscribed with July 4, 1776 (the 1776 is in Roman numerals). Liberty’s nose is 4 feet, 6 inches long, her mouth is 3 feet wide.
      And for fun, check out our collection of Statues of Liberty Souvenirs.
  Ellis Island – In your family, perhaps your ancestors came through Ellis Island to America. Starting in 1892, twelve million people arrived at Ellis Island, their first step on United States soil, where the fate of immigrants was decided.
Ellis Island
    After you've entered the main building, stop into theater for a 45 min. presentation, “Island of Hope, Island of Tears,” with a 30 min. documentary. Inside the museum, kids can see the Registry Room where immigrants were processed, a dormitory room, clothing and items people brought from their homelands, models of Ellis Island, and most impressive, the Stairs of Separation, three different stairs. The left stair led to the New York ferry, right to the railroad office, and the center stair was for people who were detained (waiting for other relatives to arrive or medical inspections).
    American Family Immigration History Center – Search to find if your family records are at Ellis Island (1892 –1924). The information to bring with you – name and approximate age at arrival, date of arrival and port of departure.
      There are loads of picnic tables outside, so if the weather’s nice, bring a picnic. Also, nice views of the Statue of Liberty from Ellis Island.
  The Battery Park – One of our favorite areas in Manhattan, it's much more than spot to pick up the ferries to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. A long promenade goes up the Hudson River, perfect for walking or biking, plenty of playgrounds and grass to run around for little ones. Lovely shade, benches, flowers in summer, and it's cooler along the river.
    At Castle Clinton, buy your ferry tickets to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island (one boat goes to both destinations).
      Around the Castle is a nice shady garden with benches, and a fun water play area, a water fountain where in summer, the kids can cool off.
      Rent bikes – Rent bikes at Bike and Roll and bike up the Esplanade (on the west side) all the way to Hudson River Park. With older kids or teens, bike up the east side to South Street Seaport and over the Brooklyn Bridge.
      Kids will have fun riding the unique SeaGlass carousel, like being a fish under the water!
Rockefeller Park
  Rockefeller Park - Esplanade (Battery Park City) – Head over to Battery Park City and one of our favorite parks, Rockefeller Park. This park has an excellent playground, with oodles of climbing structures, sand play area, picnic tables, and chess tables, and bunches of whimsical bronze sculptures (our favorite is the big toe with the little guy).
      Or you can just sit on the soft green lawn (North and South Meadows) and watch the ferries, tugs and barges out on the Hudson River.
  Hudson River Park (North Moore St. and Pier 25) – Mini-golf with eighteen holes, snack bar, and large water-play area and playground.
    Ferry to Staten Island – The ferry to Staten Island is a super boat ride around New York harbor, and it’s free! Pick up the ferry at the Whitehall Terminal, and ride to Staten Island, you don’t need to get off, just ride back. The ferry runs every half hour, a one hour ride round trip. Avoid taking the ferry at rush hour, as commuters do use the ferry to get to and from Staten Island.
    Tall Ship Clipper City – 1 ½ hours on a sailing ship around the harbor (hardy sailors can help with sails), late April to October. Ship departs from Slip 2.
    National Museum of the American Indian (One Bowling Green, Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House) – An outpost of the Smithsonian, this museum is a treasure trove of art of the Americas – masks from the Northwest, amazing clothing from all over the United States, Navajo weavings, jade from Mexico and gold from Peru. The exhibitions (with goodies from the collections) change each year, but there’s always something fascinating to see. The museum is free and open daily. (If the weather is bad, this is a good place to stop after you’ve visited the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island.)
kids books statue liberty ellis island new york city
her right foot  
Her Right Foot
Dave Eggers, Shawn Harris

The Statue of Liberty, iconic symbol of freedom, has welcomed millions of visitors and immigrants to the United States. How can she stand still? Look at her immense right foot, taking a big step to meet "the poor, the tired, the struggling to breathe free." (Picture book)


What Is the Statue of Liberty?
Joan Holub, John Hinderliter

Excellent history of the Statue of Liberty, from 1865 to present day – how the French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi came up with the design, built the hand holding the torch separately, shipped the statue to America, and the statue became a symbol of the nation, with photos and drawings. (Illustrated chapter book)


what is the statue of liberty
what was ellis island
What Was Ellis Island?
Patricia Brennan Demuth, David Groff

Starting in 1892, immigrants from Europe to the United States arrived at Ellis Island. Read this comprehensive history of Ellis Island, now the museum, where immigrants landed by boat, were interviewed, fed and treated for sickness, given landing cards, and a new life in America. (Illustrated chapter book)


The Statue of Liberty
Lucille Recht Penner, Jada Rowland

Kids can read for themselves about the lady – it was first designed as small statues, then bigger ones, 214 crates were used to ship it to the United States, a special pedestal had to be built before the statue was finished. (Easy reader)


The Statue of Liberty easy reader kids
kids books history Ellis Island  
Ellis Island
Raymond Bial

Good introduction to the museum, with explanations of the exhibits, photos of immigrants and family heirlooms – the story of Ellis Island itself and the people who came to this country. (Picture book)


At Ellis Island
Louise Peacock, Walter Lyon Krudop

A young Armenian girl travels alone from to America, but arriving at Ellis Island, since she is under sixteen, she cannot enter the United States. Will her papa come in time to pick her up? Ellis Island experiences comes alive with first person stories, historical photographs and illustrations, like a scrapbook. (Picture book)


At Ellis Island childrens books immigrants
ellis island  
Ellis Island (National Geographic Kids)
Elizabeth Carney

Kids can read for themselves about seventeen year old Annie Moore (and her two brothers) from Ireland – she was the first immigrant to go through Ellis Island in 1892. (Easy reader)


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