Visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

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Visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Reading Time: ( Word Count: )

Visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

Reading Time: ( Word Count: )

Karrie Diffenderfer

New York Teacher

Hidden within the masses, of nearly 8 million people, you will find an indescribable plethora of culture, adventure, and history.  Immersing students in the world they live in to study history is one of the best ways to help them make meaning of a lesson.  The United States is full of amazing historical sites that can provide an immersive experience to your students. 

New York City has a remarkable historical presence that begs to be explored by all ages and walks of life. Two of the most popular educational tours that are steeped in history are The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

In this article, you will learn about visiting the historic Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island with your students.

Statue of Liberty 

When visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, you will be transported back to the arrival of the 1st immigrant, which happened to be a 15-year-old girl from Ireland, in 1892. Finding yourself face to face with Lady Liberty herself will likely leave you awestruck in amazement, much like the people arriving from other countries all that time ago. 

An educational tour of The Statue of Liberty could take up to half a day. During this tour, you will be able to explore the statue itself, as well as a museum which details the exact history of the statue, beginning in 1886, when she was presented as a gift from France. 

Know Before You Go

Before visiting, there are some things both you and your students need to be aware of. 

  • To visit the top of the statue, you will need to climb 20 stories or a total of 354 steps.  From the top of the statue, you will be able to look out from the crown, which is a rather cathartic experience. 
  • Refurbishments have been made to the statue to ensure it stays safe for visitors and future generations for many years to come.  Because of this, some parts have been replaced.  In the museum, you will be able to catch a glimpse of the original torch, that has been retired. 

Tickets

You need to plan this trip well ahead of time, especially if you want to go into the statue to the top of the crown.  There are a limited number of tickets provided each day, so while you will be able to visit the museum, without a ticket you will not be able to enter the statue. 

Ellis Island

Visiting Ellis Island will likely take at least a half-day.  Combining this with a tour of The Statue of Liberty would be an ideal field trip experience for a range of ages.  Ellis Island is an amazing historical site to take an educational tour of and provides a complement to American history. 

Visiting

The arrival at Ellis Island is surely not one that will be forgotten.  The only way to access the island is by ferry boat, either leaving from Manhattan or New Jersey. As the ferry approaches the island, you will first notice the Statue of Liberty and the Ellis Island Museum. 

This is where you will be able to step back into history and see where life “truly began” for nearly 12 million immigrants.  You will learn the process that all immigrants had to go through to secure their United States Citizenship, and the stress they may have been feeling during the process. 

Process Once Reaching Ellis Island

Students may think that once an individual arrived at Ellis Island from their home country, they were ready to start their new life, but arriving was just one part of the lengthy journey.  The tour through Ellis Island will take you into the intake process, which included.

  • Medical exams
  • Interrogation
  • Retrieval of Belongings
  • Ticket off the island

The amount of time it took an individual to go through this process was different for everyone.  For some, it took hours, while others spent days, weeks or even years waiting.  The tour provided allows students to see firsthand what people were willing to go through to build a better life for themselves and their family. 

Know Before You Go

Before you plan a trip to Ellis Island with your students, you need to make sure you allot enough time to soak in all the history this location offers.  If you do not allow enough time, the deep understanding of the sacrifices people made to build our country may be lost.  

Not only will you want to make sure there is enough time to tour the site, but you will also make sure there is the availability of tickets for the day and time you wish to go.  Although it is a hugely popular destination, there are limits on the number of people allowed throughout the day. 

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New York City has a remarkable historical presence that begs to be explored by all ages and walks of life. Two of the most popular educational tours that are steeped in history are The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island: Additional Information

As you can see, there is a tremendous amount of walking that will take place on your visit to The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  Because of this, you need to see what accessibility features your group may need to access and plan. 

Tours

When touring these locations, you will have two options.  You will be able to access a guided tour, but you will also be able to take a self-guided tour.  Unless you are a complete expert on the location and know all the history, it would likely be beneficial to your students if you took a guided tour.  This will also provide opportunities for questions to be answered.

Educational Materials

Before heading on the trip, reach out to both museums to gain access to materials you can use to introduce your students to the location they will be traveling to.  This is also a great way to get the students thinking and asking questions about their destination.  Often, you can use the museum website or even obtain printed materials if needed. 

Check the Crowds

Because this is such a popular destination, you will want to check for the best time to take a school group to the island.  It will likely always be crowded, but there may be days and times of the week that are a little less busy.  The best way to determine this is to either check out the website or contact the site directly. 

Prices

Because the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are national monuments, there is no charge to visit the museums on the ground, however, there is a charge for extras, like going to the top of the statue.  You will also need to pay for the ferry access to the island.  This is typically between $12-$24.  If taking a large group, you will want to plan the dates carefully to ensure ferry access is available and you may be able to get a group rate. 

Final Thoughts

If you want to take your students on a historical field trip they will not soon forget, The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island should be at the top of your list.  Not only will they see the majesty of the statue, but they will be able to glean an understanding of how important and sacrificial the search for a better life was to millions of people. 

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