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Ellis Island (New York Harbor)
New York, NY
(1) 212-363-3200 | www.nps.gov/elis
HOURS/TIMESVaries by season; visit www.statuecruises.com for ferry schedule
PRICEFerry tickets: Adults: USD 17; Seniors: USD 14; Children (4-12): USD 9; Young Children (Under 4): Free; Ellis Island: Free
POPULAR TIMESSummer; weekends
RESERVE IN ADVANCEYes - reserve ferry and audio tour online
WAIT TIME WITHOUT RESERVATION30 min.-2 hours at ferry terminal (during peak season)
HIGHLIGHTS"New arrival" immigrant experience; American Family Immigration History Center
SUBWAYBowling Green (4, 5); Whitehall St.-South Ferry (1, R); Rector St. (1); Broad St. (J, Z)
Over one in three Americans have an ancestor somewhere in their family tree who first set foot in the US at Ellis Island, a statistic that isn’t that surprising when you consider that approximately 12 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island between the 1890s and 1950s. Though these new arrivals’ stay on the 27.5-acre island was usually quite brief, it was often a powerful, life-changing experience, one that the living history museum housed in the former Ellis Island immigration complex recreates. Besides being able to take in the thousands of artifacts, photos, and oral histories on display, visitors themselves are treated to an experience as a “new arrival,” being led by a tear-jerking audio tour from the Baggage Room to the Registry Room. Also on the island are the American Family Immigration History Center (opened in 2001), which provides assistance on genealogical research, and the American Immigrant Wall of Honor, a memorial wall inscribed with the names of approximately 600,000 immigrants.
GO HERE WITH
Family; genealogy researchers; history buffs; kids
WHY WE LIKE IT
It’s a moving way to connect with the country’s multicultural history, especially if you have a relative who arrived here. We also love the views of the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline that Ellis Island offers.
WHAT WE WOULD CHANGE
The long lines at ferry security. (It can take up to two hours to clear security at peak times.)
GOOD TO KNOW
To get to Ellis Island, you’ll need to take a Statue Cruise ferry (www.statuecruises.com). Ferries leave from Battery Park in Manhattan and Liberty State Park in New Jersey and run from 9:30am-3:30pm daily (with extended hours in summer). Tickets can be purchased online or at the ferry terminal, and you can also book the Ellis Island audio tour with your ticket. It’s a good idea to get to the ferry terminal 45 minutes to one hour before your departure because there are now airport-style security stations which you will need to pass through before you can board the boat. (Security lines are especially long during the summer.) We recommend visiting Ellis Island early in the day because if you board the ferry before 3:00pm, you’ll be able to make a stop at the Statue of Liberty too. (And also, if you arrive at Ellis Island after 3:00pm, your access to the island’s exhibitions will be somewhat limited.) A visit to Ellis Island will take four to five hours (tack on an extra hour if you’re going to the Statue of Liberty as well). The audio tour is available in nine languages, and there’s also a children’s tour available in five languages. For geneology researchers who can’t make the trip, know that you can also research the records of the American Family Immigration History Center through the Ellis Island website.
Statue of Liberty (New York)
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