Celebrating the National Parks’ 100th in NYC
On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Organic Act creating the National Park Service (NPS), a new federal bureau in the Department of the Interior responsible for protecting the then 35 national parks and monuments.
On August 25, 2016, everyone across the country in now over 400 national parks will be celebrating the National Parks Service Centennial. When I think of our U.S. National Parks, I imagine Yosemite or a massive forest filled with natural beauty and history.
Like me, many people may be surprised that New York City holds four National Parks and Central Park is not one of them. More surprising, both Ellis Island, which includes the National Museum of Immigration Museum, and Liberty Island, which holds the iconic Statue of Liberty, are both National Parks!
Tips for visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
- There is no entrance fee to visit either island, but you must purchase a ticket for a Statue Cruises ferry that stops at both islands for every person in your family. Base ticket prices range from $9 to $18, depending on age.
- Purchase your ferry tickets online to save time as the Statue of Liberty is a very popular destination that gets very busy and sometimes sells out during the summer and holidays.
- Tickets to the Statue of Liberty’s Crown are sold out months in advance (and require an additional fee). However, the view from the pedestal (which is included with admission) is breathtaking and definitely worth the six flights of stairs (5-minute walk) or the elevator ride wait (15 minutes plus). Both of these special types of tickets must be specified in advance when booking with Statue Cruises.
- Arrive earlier in the day so you have plenty of time to visit both islands along with Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. The last ferry from Battery Park to the islands leaves at 3:30 pm.
- Be prepared for an airport-like security check prior to stepping onto the ferry. Also, no backpacks or outside food are allowed if visiting the pedestal so bring $2 in cash to rent a locker for two hours so you can enjoy the panoramic view and the respite from NYC summer heat.
- Bring sunblock, bug repellent, sunglasses and a hat so you can enjoy the grounds. Water, lemonade and concessions are available for purchase on the islands.
- Stop by the Information Center for a map. All maps and information signs are only in English, but take advantage of the self-guided audio handheld tours that come in multiple languages and are included with your ticket.
- There is an official app, but cell phone service on the islands is spotty at best so I would stick to the map and handhelds.
Lastly, get the kids involved by chatting with a friendly Park Ranger and joining the Junior Rangers with this fun booklet. (Print it before you go because no hard copies are available in the parks.) Then, snap a selfie or family pic using the new Share Your Park site and use hashtag #FindYourPark or #EncuentraTuParque to share.
Celebrate the National Park Service’s Big 100 Indoors in NYC
The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) has a beautiful new film, National Parks Adventure, narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Robert Redford that takes you and the family on the ultimate off-trail adventure with amazing red rock canyons, mountain peaks, ice climbing and endless beauty.
Lastly, take advantage of affordable sightseeing travel packages like Go City Card – New York which allows you and the family to visit several NYC attractions like the Statue of Liberty and the AMNH with less wait time in line.
Millenium Hilton is a great location from which to explore the Statue of Liberty and downtown NYC. New York Hilton Midtown and Hilton Times Square are centrally-located in New York City close to AMNH.
You may also enjoy:
- Biking in Central Park With Kids
- New York Water Taxi – A Great Way to Explore NYC
- Exploring Lower Manhattan with #MilleniumMemories
- Visiting the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City with Kids
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Divina was born in Asuncion, Paraguay and moved to the United States when she was 5-years old. Since then she has become a wife, a mommy of…