TAPinto Travels recommends a trip to the Statue of Liberty this autumn.  

Getting to and from Ellis Island is extremely different than what our ancestor’s experienced when they came from faraway lands. Even though the island is no longer used as an entry port for new immigrants, two ferries make it easy for anyone to see both Liberty Island and Ellis Island; one from Battery Park in New York City and the other from Liberty State Park in New Jersey.

Statue Cruises is the company that operates the ferries to and from the islands. They have Statue Cruises painted on the side of their boats in large print, but it is also helpful to know that there are signs that will lead you to their docks located to the right of the building where the Staten Island ferry leaves from Battery Park. If you are coming from New Jersey, ride the Hudson Bergen Light Rail to the Liberty State Park station, but be prepared to walk the one mile distance between the station and the ferry. Once you have your ticket, you must go through airport style security checkpoints to board, but security personnel is good about moving everyone through the line quickly.

Sign Up for E-News

When the boat leaves Manhattan, Liberty Island will be the first stop. When the boat docks, everyone is told what time to be back at the boat to sail to Ellis Island. In the meantime, enjoy taking group shots and selfies with Lady Liberty and enjoying the nature and views. For an extra charge, there is a Statue of Liberty museum so you can learn about her history.

On Ellis Island, there are two main attractions; the Ellis Island Museum and the large wall that has been built with everyone's name that has been processed throughout the duration of the island's use. The wall is a special place for many who happen to find an ancestors’ name. The museum has breathtaking views of Manhattan as you walk through the building learning about the different stages of immigration throughout American history and the harsh climate that the new immigrants faced when they thought they had left all the hard times of war, famine, and persecution behind. Once you enter the waiting room, the nostalgic thought of "The Statue of Liberty is what they saw" is replaced with the reality of the last trial before being let into the country. Like the scene depicted in the movie, Brooklyn, the museum tells a story about how death and disease were so rampant on the overcrowded boats that many people ended up so sick by the time they got to this equally overcrowded room that immigration officials denied them entry, and they were forced back on the next boat home.

The line back to the Manhattan or New Jersey bound ferry is long, but the view is good. If you are lucky, it will be a sunny day without a cloud in the sky, and you may even get to see a whirlpool with a rainbow in it as the ferry docks back home.

For more Manhattan adventures, see our story on Family Friendly Ideas in the City.  If you prefer more of New York maritime experiences, see our article on City Island.