The Statue of Liberty is one of the city's most-visited attractions. A gift to The United States by the French to commemorate the 1876 Centennial, the Statue of Liberty stands, both literally and figuratively, as a beacon of hope and freedom from oppression.
Sculpted from copper by French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the Statue of Liberty was completed, after a rocky start and a few refinancings, in 1884. It was shipped nearly a year later to New York Harbor, and the dedication ceremony took place in 1886 in front of thousands of attendees. The Statue of Liberty has been featured in countless movies and mainstream culture venues, and offers her many visitors a glimpse into United States history.
The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are both accessible by the Statue of Liberty ferry. During the Statue of Liberty ferry ride, visitors learn pertinent Statue of Liberty facts, and are treated to stunning views of Lady Liberty and adjacent grounds. Since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, access to The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is much more secure, and visitors are subject to search, much like searches encountered at airports and major ballparks. A limited number of daily Statue of Liberty tickets are available to purchase on a walk-in basis, and space fills up quickly.
The Statue of Liberty is open 364 days out of the year, closing only on Christmas Day. Taking a Statue of Liberty tour is a favorite New York City visitor activity. Established tours include the Promenade Tour, led by a park ranger with stops at the Statue of Liberty museum—which houses the original Statue of Liberty torch—and Fort Wood at the monument's base, the Observatory Tour that includes both the Promenade Tour along with a stop at the observation balcony. Both include incredible views of New York Harbor and the Manhattan skyline.
There is also an antenna audio tour, complete with additional history on the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, along with recordings of past generations' recounting of their voyage to America. The audio tour is designed so that visitors may go at their own pace, and create their own Statue of Liberty tour. The Statue's crown is not accessible to visitors, and the torch was officially closed July 1916.
The Statue of Liberty tour, in part or as a comprehensive tour package, is well worth the trip and potential waiting lines to purchase ferry tickets. Both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island together provide the visitor a valuable lesson in American history, and an experience they'll remember for a lifetime.