I am embarrassed to admit that I have lived in New Jersey for 35 years and until recently had never visited the Statue of Liberty. It was definitely something I had wanted to do but it just never happened. Maybe my mom was like other parents and thought a visit to the Statue of Liberty with kids would be too overwhelming. Until recently, I have to admit I felt the same way.
This past summer I had the realization that my unlimited free time with my boys actually has a limit. With my first born headed to high school, I knew his future summers could be spent working summer jobs or hanging out more with friends and less with his mom. I started being even more intentional about making plans to do all the things and give my kids the experiences I still wanted to have with them.
We started visiting as many New Jersey state parks as we could. In 2019, we visited 11! It was during our visit to the Liberty State Park that I realized just how close we were to the Statue of Liberty. Sure we had seen the Statue of Liberty many times from the Liberty Science Center, but I didn’t realize you could get to the Statue from New Jersey. It was then that I determined that my boys needed to visit the Statue of Liberty.
As luck would have it a few weeks after our visit to Liberty State Park, the team at Statue Cruises invited us to take a ferry cruise to see the Statue of Liberty. There was no saying no! This was a trip we all wanted to make. Our thanks to Statue Cruises for providing us with Statue of Liberty tickets that included the ferry ride, access to both Liberty Island and Ellis Island and pedestal access to the Statue of Liberty.
We are so fortunate in New Jersey that we get to live so close to one of our country’s treasures. Visiting the Statue of Liberty with kids is doable. It doesn’t need to be overwhelming. I’ve taken what I’ve learned from our experience and all the things I wish I would have known and put them together here to help you plan your trip to the Statue of Liberty.
I’ve also included Amazon affiliate links to products I think will enhance your Statue of Liberty experience. If you make a purchase using those links, we earn a small commission that’s invested back into Jersey Family Fun.
Now let’s get started on helping you plan your visit to the Statue of Liberty with kids.
Tips for planning your visit to the Statue of Liberty with Kids
When is the best time to visit the Statue of Liberty?
We visited during Columbus Day weekend in the middle of the day. I had hoped it would not have been too busy. Unfortunately, I was wrong. It was very crowded. We still had a good experience, but it definitely left me feeling like we need to go back. There was so much we didn’t get to explore.
My recommendation would be to book your Statue of Liberty tickets for a midweek visit and for the first available cruise time of the day. If you can plan your visit for fall, winter, or spring on a day when school is regularly in schedule you’ll probably find the smallest crowds. Find a day that either your school is closed (and other districts are in session) or plan an educational hooky day.
How much time do you need to visit?
Between Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty there is so much to explore. Taking the first Statue Cruise of the day will give you the most time to explore everything that’s included with your tickets. The first ferry typically departs at 8:30 am.
Since our visit was later in the day and Ellis Island had so much to offer, we were not able to fit everything into one day. Ellis Island offers two floors of interactive exhibits. There are guided and self guided tours. We’ll have to elaborate on the Ellis Island experience at a later date because we were not able to fully explore it. Depending on your children’s interest I’d plan for 2-4 hours for a visit to the Statue of Liberty.
How much time you need for your Statue of Liberty visit depends on the type of ticket you purchase.
- The ferry ride from Liberty State Park to Ellis Island is 15-20 minutes.
- The ferry ride from Ellis Island to Liberty Island is 15-20 minutes.
- The ferry ride from Liberty Island back to Liberty State Park is 15 minutes.
Once at the Statue of Liberty, you could probably do the visit in an hour if you have a basic reserve ticket that just includes walking around Liberty Island. With an upgraded ticket that includes climbing to the pedestal or crown, you’ll need more time, potentially an hour or two.
There are two museums to explore at the Statue of Liberty. Each of them could potentially take 45 minutes to an hour to explore. Again timing would be dependent on your child’s interest and the crowds.
What can you do at the Statue of Liberty?
At the Statue of Liberty itself there are multiple activities you can take advantage of that don’t have an additional cost.
Statue of Liberty National Monument Museum
This museum is located inside the Statue of Liberty at the base. You can access it from the entrance of the Statue, just follow the signs.
This museum focuses on the history behind the Statue of Liberty, its significance in American history, and how the Statue of Liberty has become a symbol both in art and other forms of media.
The exhibits are featured along a long hallway. Most are in display cases on both sides. I don’t recall any interactive features, but there are spots where you can watch videos about the Statue of Liberty’s history.
There’s also a few spots to get a great photo opportunity. We found this museum to be easy to explore. I think, given its location, at the base of the statue, many people don’t realize it’s there. There were no crowds at all when we walked through it.
Statue of Liberty Museum
Across from the Statue of Liberty, with glass walls marking its entrance, is the Statue of Liberty Museum. This is the newer of the two museums to explore on Liberty Island. It opened in May of 2019.
The Statue of Liberty Museum offers a few not-to-be missed photo opportunities. Pose with the original torch and a bronzed Statue of Liberty face.
Housed within the Statue of Liberty Museum are three interactive galleries that tell the statue’s history in thought-provoking ways. Guests can learn at the Engagement Gallery through multimedia displays. Visitors can also have a 10 minute immersive theater experience at the ESI Design Immersive Theater.
Interactive exhibits are part of the Inspiration Gallery. In this space, visitors can document their visit and express their views by adding a self-portrait to a digital collage called Becoming Liberty. Liberty’s most iconic symbol, the original torch, is housed inside this gallery. Through the glass walls that surround the gallery, visitors can also enjoy panoramic views of Lady Liberty and the New York City skyline.
The museum offers a roof deck that is open when the weather permits. Learn more about the Statue of Liberty museum at the National Park Service website.
Park Ranger Tours
Liberty Island Ranger Tours are free outdoor tours which provide the opportunity to learn more about the history of Liberty Island and the Statue.
Earn Junior Ranger badges
Liberty Island Junior Ranger Programs are self-paced activities documented in a book on both Ellis Island and Liberty Island. Young visitors can request the workbook at the National Park Service desk. Junior Rangers receive a Junior Ranger badge upon completion.
Listen as you tour
Audio tours for the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island are included with your ticket. They make for a great way to engage with what you’re seeing and learn more than you might from just reading exhibit signage. A special children’s tour features animal characters as guides. Audio tours for both islands come in 12 languages. ASL Tours are available.
What is there to do near the Statue of Liberty?
We recommend visiting the Statue of Liberty from the New Jersey side at Liberty State Park. This is a fabulous state park that offers playgrounds, walking trails, a science/nature center to explore and more.
Within minutes of the Liberty State Park is the Liberty Science Center. While a visit to the Statue of Liberty can take a full day these two local attractions can help round out the day if you find you have time to spare or you are staying overnight in the area.
Tips for buying tickets to the Statue of Liberty
Tickets to the Statue of Liberty can sell out far in advance, especially those that allow guests to climb to the top areas of the statue such as the pedestal or the crown. While there are many cruise ships that can take you around the islands to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, only Statue Cruises can take you to the islands for a visit. Statue Cruises is the ONLY authorized official provider of tickets and tours to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island.
Which Statue of Liberty ticket should you buy?
There are four types of Statue of Liberty tickets available for purchase. All ticket types are limited due to safety and security standards. Take a look at the details below to determine which is right for you. Children up to four years of age are free and they do not need a ticket to board the ferry.
Statue of Liberty Ticket type 1 – Reserve Ticket
While it’s recommended that you purchase all Statue of Liberty tickets in advance, same day Reserve Tickets are generally available at the ticket booth. A Reserve Ticket provides grounds access to the Statue of Liberty National Monument, Liberty Island, and Ellis Island. It does not allow you to climb any portion of the Statue of Liberty. Pricing starts at $9.
Statue of Liberty Ticket type 2 – Reserve with Pedestal Access
This ticket allows visitors to climb the stairs through the statue’s pedestal with balcony access. Ticket includes access to the Fort Wood section of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, the rest of Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Tickets may be available the day of, but it’s best to purchase them in advance. Pricing starts at $9.
Statue of Liberty Ticket type 3 – Reserve with Crown Ticket
Crown Tickets includes access to the Crown and Pedestal of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. Those wishing to visit the Crown must be able to walk approximately 10 floors of stairs, 162 narrow and tight steps, from the top of the pedestal to the crown. This includes a narrow spiral staircase inside the Statue’s body. There are 393 steps in all from the base of the Statue of the Liberty to the crown. Pricing starts at $12.
- Crown tickets are available by reservation only and generally sell out 3-4 months in advance. For safety considerations, only 6 groups (of 10 people or less) may ascend to the crown per hour.
- Only four tickets will be allowed per household (or card holder). Names on the tickets are non-transferable at any time. The credit card holder and all ticket holders must be present to pick up tickets. Only one reservation is allowed per 6-month period, per card holder.
- Crown ticket holders will be issued a wrist band that indicates access to the crown.
- There is no elevator access from the pedestal to the crown platform – the distance from the Statue’s feet to the Statue’s head. Children must be at least 4-feet tall and able to climb the stairs on their own.
Statue of Liberty Ticket type 4 – Hard Hat Tour of Ellis Island
Your ticket includes: Round trip ferry transportation and access to the grounds of Liberty Island and Ellis Island, an Audio Tour of Liberty and Ellis Island and a 90-minute guided tour of the South Side of Ellis Island – exclusive only to the Hard Hat Tour where you will experience “Unframed – Ellis Island“, an Art Exhibit by French Artist JR. Pricing starts at $58.50.
- All participants must be 13 years of age or older. Participants under the age 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian at all times during the tour.
- The unrestored buildings do not comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements at this time. Participants must be able to climb stairs. We regret that visitors with wheelchairs or scooters are not permitted on the tour at this time.
Access to the torch is no longer allowed.
Which port should I catch the Statue of Liberty ferry?
Ferries depart from Battery Park in New York City, and from Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey. We favor getting the Statue Cruises from the New Jersey side at Liberty State Park. Not only is it beautiful, but the crowds are smaller and parking is less of a hassle and less expensive.
How do you buy tickets to the Statue of Liberty?
When should you buy your tickets?
Depending on the type of ticket you are looking for it’s best to buy your tickets 3-4 months in advance. Tickets for crown access to the Statue of Liberty are the most popular and book well in advance. Check the Statue Cruises website for departure times by date. During peak seasons extended hours are available.
Special note if you have 2:00 pm tickets or later, you will only have adequate time to go to one of the two islands, whichever you choose. If you are interested in seeing both locations I strongly recommend taking a morning ferry.
What is included with the Statue of Liberty tickets?
All Statue Cruises tickets include the ferry ride with one stop at Ellis Island and one stop at Liberty Island before the return visit to where you started. Admission into Ellis Island and Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty museums is also included. Climbing the Statue of Liberty will be limited based on your ticket. Audio tours and guided tours of Ellis Island are also included with all tickets.
What is not included with the Statue of Liberty tickets?
Souvenir, food, locker rental, and parking are not included with the Statue of Liberty tickets.
Tips for before your visit to the Statue of Liberty
You got your tickets, now what? Visiting the Statue of Liberty is something your kids and you will remember for a long time. You may have these grand ideas for how you expect the experience to go and the memories you want to make. With some preparation you can make the day everything you want it to be.
2-3 Weeks before you visit the Statue of Liberty with kids
Now is the time to think about what you and your kids will need to have a great day. In particular, let’s plan NOW for how you will keep your kids busy LATER should there be crowds, lines, or just time when they have to wait. Bored kids get cranky. Cranky kids make for not-so-fun memories.
To make things easier for you we’ve found all these items on Amazon and are providing you with our affiliate links that take you directly to the products.
- Statue of Liberty coloring books and activity books
- Larger lunch bag/small cooler, but note large coolers are not allowed.
- Small to midsize backpack (You can carry this everywhere except inside the Statue of Liberty. There will be lockers you can rent for storing your items.)
- Single use sunscreen packets if visiting during spring and summer months.
1 Week before your Statue of Liberty visit
Here are a few things we recommend you take care of 1 week before your visit to the Statue of Liberty.
- Plan your travel route. Use the address, Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal, 1 Audrey Zapp Drive, Jersey City, NJ, in your GPS. Test it out. Does your GPS recognize it? Do you need to print directions?
- Have your toll money ready. If you are coming from any distance your route could involve time on the Garden State Parkway and the New Jersey Turnpike. Put money on your E-Z Pass or pick up a roll of quarters or two at the bank.
- Grab easy to eat snacks: fruit snacks, trail mix, granola bars.
- Make sure the kids and you have comfortable shoes. Between the ferry and the Statue of Liberty you will be climbing lots of stairs. You will be on your feet for most of your visit and that you will be traveling by boat. Boat decks also can sometimes be wet and you will have to walk along a gangplank to board and disembark from the boat. Please consider appropriate footwear during your visit to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Statue Cruises recommends against wearing open-toe footwear and flip flops for safety reasons.
- Sweatshirts – It can be chilly on the ferry and outdoors, but you might get warm climbing the stairs. Packing sweatshirts is an easy way to add or remove layers.
- Determine which stroller to bring? Do you want the light and easy to use umbrella stroller or the more durable one with storage? Keep in mind, you’ll need to bring the stroller on and off the ferry. Strollers are also not permitted inside the Statue of Liberty. There is stroller parking near the lockers.
- Pack $2 in quarters to use with the Statue of Liberty lockers. Purses and backpacks are not permitted in the Statue of Liberty monument.
1-2 Days before you visit the Statue of Liberty with kids
The day for your Statue of Liberty visit is just about here. Time to make those final arrangements.
- Load up the backpack with the activities, souvenirs, and other items you bought.
- Fully charge portable chargers.
- Pack the snack bag and cooler with anything that doesn’t need to be prechilled.
- Have cash and charge cards in your wallet. Make sure you put aside a $10 bill for parking. (Rates may vary and so may the wait times. On some of our visits there were cash only and credit only lanes for paying for parking.)
- Put the change purse with coins for tolls and lockers into your bag for the trip.
- If you are bringing a baby carrier or stroller, put them in the car.
- Plan what you will wear. If you and your family can avoid wearing belts that will make the security check go quicker. Belts will have to be removed when you go through security.
The morning of your Statue of Liberty visit
The big day is here!
- Pack the ice in the cooler and any items that need to stay cool.
- Grab the portable charger and charging cords.
- Make sure you have your backpack, stroller, baby carrier, and any of the items you bought for the trip.
How early should you get to the Statue of Liberty?
The time on your ticket is for entrance to the Security Screening Facility for the ferry. You want to be in line for the Screening Facility before that time so you can enter at the time on your ticket. If you have printed etickets go directly to the security check in tent. If you need to pick up your tickets at will call allow yourself an additional 15-20 minutes for that, longer during peak season.
At Battery Park or Liberty State Park you will pass through the screening facility, similar to airport security procedures. You will need your tickets and id. All visitors boarding any Statue Cruises ferry to Liberty Island and/or Ellis Island must pass through a screening facility before boarding. Give yourself enough time and be flexible with your schedule to allow for time for boarding the ferry and security screening. Wait time can be several hours, particularly during peak seasons, including summer, weekends and holidays.
After passing through screening, you will board the next available ferry to Liberty Island and Ellis Island.
Tips for during your visit to the Statue of Liberty with kids
We’ve got you excited. You’re almost ready to take the kids to see the Statue of Liberty, but you still have a few questions. We know. That’s why we still have more tips to share with you. From where to park to where can you buy food and everything in between, we tried to think about everything we wish we would have known. Then, we included that advice and additional information below.
How do I get to the Statue of Liberty in New Jersey?
I recommend using this address, Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal, 1 Audrey Zapp Drive, Jersey City, New Jersey. It will get you to the ferry terminal to catch the Statue of Liberty ferry from New Jersey.
Where do I park?
When visiting the Statue of Liberty from Liberty State Park, there are paid parking options and free parking options.
For free parking for the Statue of Liberty ferry, you can park at nearly any parking lot at the Liberty State Park. The downside is that you will need to walk a considerable distance from those parking lots to the ferry terminal.
The nearest parking lot is a paid parking lot. Be careful, do not park in the other small free lot. That has a two hour parking limit. Your visit to the Statue of Liberty will be over 2 hours.
The paid parking lot will be on your right as you approach the ferry terminal. The parking fee is based on the length of your visit. For most visitors it will be about $10. We paid on the way out. Cash, credit, or debit cards are accepted as payment.
Where do I check in?
If you are taking the Statue Cruises to the Statue of Liberty from the New Jersey side you will catch the ferry from Liberty State Park.
If you printed your e-tickets you can go straight to the security check in line that is located in a white tent to the right of the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal.
If you need to go to will-call, follow signs to the pre-paid (will-call) window and pick up your tickets inside the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal. There is a special window for those who have preordered their tickets.
The security process for visiting the Statue of Liberty is very similar to an airport screening process, except there is no TSA precheck here. Everyone goes through the same process. There are no locker storage areas at the screening facilities in either Battery Park or Liberty State Park. Make sure anything you leave anything in your car that could be problematic and allow yourself plenty of time for the screening process.
You will only need to go through security once, but it can take an hour or longer depending on the crowd. Have those activities ready to keep kids busy.
Bags must be checked. Coats, jackets, and belts removed. Learn more about the Statue of Liberty security check in.
Can I bring food?
Yes, you can bring food with you. Food or drinks are not allowed in the Statue of Liberty, but you can place them in your locker or leave them in your stroller. Large coolers are not allowed.
Where can I buy food?
There are a few places you can buy food.
- On the Statue Cruise ferry (TIP – To avoid having a long wait in line, send one member of your family to get in line for food while the rest of your family finds seating on the ferry.) The ferry sold chips, pretzels, hot dogs, and drinks. You can purchase food on either level of the boat.
- At the coffee shop at Ellis Island. We did not buy food there but did notice the shop.
- In the restaurant/cafe at the Statue of Liberty (On our visit, there were extremely long lines. If you don’t pack food and do not want to eat on the ferry allow additional time if it’s a crowded day.)
How does the ferry work? How much time do I have to explore Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty?
The Statue Cruises ferry runs throughout the day. The first stop from New Jersey is always Ellis Island. The second stop is always the Statue of Liberty. The final stop is where you got on the ferry to start your trip.
Always make sure you grab a copy or take a picture of the ferry schedule before departing. The ferries typically run every 25-30 minutes. While you can catch any of the ferries from Ellis Island to the Statue of Liberty, you can not go back to Ellis Island after visiting the Statue of Liberty. That’s where it gets tricky. If you want to make the most of your visit by seeing both locations, you want to allow yourself enough time to fully explore both locations. Visiting early in the day is the best way to do that.
Regardless of how much time you spend at Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty make sure you catch the last ferry headed back to your starting location.
The lines for the ferry start forming 30 minutes or so in advance of departure time or as soon as the previous one has left. While each Statue Cruises ferry can accommodate 437 to 800 riders, if you are on a strict schedule plan to get in line early.
The Statue Cruises ferry has three levels. The upper deck is all outside and provides the best views of the harbor. Bench seating is available.
The main level of the ferry has indoor seating and is handicap accessible with plenty of room for wheelchairs and strollers. The middle, second level, has indoor seating as well.
The ferry does have bathrooms on the main level and is equipped with life jackets.
What is there to do at the Statue of Liberty?
Please scroll back towards the beginning of this article where we talk about the two museums you can visit and other activities to do during your trip to the Statue of Liberty with kids. Also visit the National Park Service website to learn how your kids can earn a Junior Ranger badge at the Statue of Liberty.
Is there anything to see inside the Statue of Liberty?
Yes, besides looking at the stairs there are some interesting details to notice while climbing the Statue of Liberty.
- Signage shows how many steps are left till you reach the top of the pedestal and fun Statue of Liberty facts.
- If you don’t have a ticket to the crown, you can see look up and see it from the top of the pedestal.
- Look for the bolts that help hold the Statue onto the pedestal.
- At the base of the Statue is a scale model of the Statue of Liberty island.
- Don’t forget to explore the museum at the base of the Statue.
What if I can’t climb any more stairs? What if I can’t make it to the top?
There are 231 steps from the base of the Statue of Liberty to the top of the pedestal. Climbing to the top of the pedestal can be a workout in itself. There are elevators located at different levels for those who are no longer able to climb. The elevator can take you back to the base of the Statue of Liberty.
Is the Statue of Liberty handicap accessible, wheelchair accessible?
Yes, there are elevators that can provide access to different levels. Learn more at the National Park Service website.
Where can I buy souvenirs?
On our visit we came across at least 4 gift shops where you can buy Statue of Liberty souvenirs
- Statue Cruises ferry
- Ellis Island
- 2 on the Statue of Liberty grounds
If you want to save time and avoid the lines I’d recommend purchasing one or two souvenirs in advance. Pack them in your bag. Then, if the lines look long try this trick. Have one adult in the group take the kids to the bathroom or elsewhere while the other one ‘pretends’ to shop in the gift shop. The ‘shopper’ can then meet back up with the kids and surprise them with the souvenirs.
The best Statue of Liberty souvenirs for kids
I’m including Amazon links below, just in case you want to pre-buy your souvenirs or do some price comparison shopping.
Where is the best spot for family photos at the Statue of Liberty?
You can’t visit the Statue of Liberty with kids WITHOUT taking pictures with your kids. There are lots of great spots and angles to get a family picture. Here’s a few of our favorite ones.
5 Great spots for Instagram-worthy family photos at the Statue of Liberty
At the Statue of Liberty
- Base/platform with the Statue of Liberty behind you.
- The balcony/outside area at the pedestal with the New York City skyline or New Jersey skyline behind you.
At the Statue of Liberty museum
- At the original Statue of Liberty torch, just make sure to angle it right so that no one else photo bombs your picture.
- With the bronze face
On the dock with the Statue Cruises ferry behind you.
What should we do after our visit to the Statue of Liberty with kids?
Nearby activities for kids
- Liberty State Park
- Liberty Science Center
Nearby places to eat
- Coming soon
Share your pictures
- Post your pictures online to encourage others to make their own visit to the Statue of Liberty with kids. We’d love if you would tag us @Jerseyfamilyfun #JerseyFamilyFun so we can feature your photos on our channels.
A visit to the Statue of Liberty is one you’re going to want to remember. Don’t just keep that photo on your phone, print it. We found a few Statue of Liberty photo frames on Amazon.
- New York Souvenir Metal Pewter Picture Frame with Statue of Liberty Empire State Building Freedom Tower 4×6 vertical photo frame
- New York Souvenir Metal Pewter Picture Frame with Statue of Liberty Empire State Building Freedom Tower NYC Skyline Fits horizontal 7×5 photo frame
Have you visited the Statue of Liberty with kids? What advice or tips should we add to our story? Tell us about your experiences.