An Awesome Adventure to The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island on Statue Cruises
by Waverly W., Ahiri G., Gavin M., 9 years old and William M., 6 years old

Photo by Aranya G.

The Mom here!  Need a day out with the kids that will not only be super fun but also get them thinking about and appreciating important things like freedom, bravery, and acceptance of others?  Hop on board Statue Cruises and you’ll have all of that, and some amazing pictures! After learning all about Ellis Island in our fourth grade Social Studies textbook, we decided to go there in person and REALLY learn about the over 12 million immigrants who came here in search of freedom and a better life, and of course pay a visit to a certain Lady along the way.  One convenient ticket was all we needed to “cruise our way to Liberty.”  It felt like a perfect vacation – and I was home in time to make dinner! I’ll let the Kid Reporters take it from here.

Waverly here!  I usually like to sleep late on weekends but that day I was so excited that I got up at 8:21! I was ready for a day of fun and adventure and to see the beautiful Statue that the immigrants saw when they came into Ellis Island. It was a beautiful day out there and I couldn’t wait to get on that boat! I felt like getting there was going to be just as fun as being there, and I was right.  We went to the top of our Statue Cruises boat named “Lady Liberty” and saw very beautiful sights on the way there – sparkling water, a blue sky, old and new buildings on the coastline, and even some cute little ducks! Gavin here! Before we even got onto the boat, it was fun. While we were waiting to go through security, I felt like I was already on the water so I asked a Visitor Assistant if the floor was over water and he said yes.  When we got onto the boat, it was rocking a little and for me that made it even more fun! Ahiri here!  I noticed that there were life jackets on the ceiling so I felt safe and really liked being on the boat.

Photo by Aranya G.
Photo by Aranya G.

William here! That boat ride was FUN! We were all hungry when we got off so we went to The Crown Cafe.  (*Momterruption:  I was so surprised with all the options there – way more choices than I expected. Something for everyone!) Waverly: We got these cool little devices that told you all about what you were seeing.  Do you see that beautiful torch? Well, guess what? That is the original torch and the gold part is real gold!  Even though it’s beautiful, it wasn’t bright enough and water kept getting into the cracks.  Also, the man who created it, Frederic Bartholdi, said it “looked like a glow worm.”  That is why it is not used anymore, but I think it’s awesome that anyone can see it right up close like we did! Another fact I learned is that the statue was not originally green! It was copper but being exposed to air for all those years made it turn green.  I still think she is beautiful! Don’t you?

Photo: Aranya G.

We went up the steps to the pedestal – well, SOME of us did, and some of us (hi, mom) took the elevator.  Ahiri here! I asked her if she thought the stairs would be scary, dark and steep and creepy, and reminded her that this is the 21st Century! These are modern times and the stairs are not scary at all! (OK, yes, I was scared, plus I much prefer walking DOWN stairs…so yeah, I took the elevator!)
Gavin here! The view from up there not he pedestal was awesome! The down there looked like little lego ships.  William:  We even saw a rainbow!

Photo by Aranya G.

Waverly again! Everyone should visit the Statue of Liberty!  It is a worldwide symbol of freedom! Also, it encourages people to face their fear of heights (hi again, mom).  My favorite part was looking through my binoculars up to the top of the statue – if you have binoculars, you should definitely bring them! I also liked the museum a lot.  Here’s the cast of her face! It was so cool to be so close, and even be able to touch it!

Ahiri here!  I also liked looking through my binoculars and the museum, but my favorite part was the view!  You have to visit The Statue of Liberty!

Listen to us – go visit The Statue of Liberty today!

Gavin:  We even had fun running around on the grass – this was a great day!  I want to go back. You will definitely have fun taking a Statue Cruise to the Statue of Liberty, I guarantee it!

Photo by Aranya G.

And the day was only half over! Next stop: Ellis Island!

Ahiri here! We learned all about The Immigrant Experience during our visit to Ellis Island.  Did you know that everyone coming into America had to get examined? Travelers who could afford first and second class tickets had it way easier, though.  They got to skip the crowded and scary examinations.
Wave here! When we took our Statue Cruise Boat called “Miss New York” over to Ellis Island, I imagined I was coming into America from Europe for the first time and I could feel the excitement! The building looked just like it does in my Social Studies book, but there it was right in front of our eyes, for real!

Photo by Aranya G.

Did you know that immigrants weren’t even called immigrants back then? They were called “aliens!” That surprised me very much.  We have been reading about Ellis Island in school but this trip made me really learn by being there, seeing actual artifacts, sitting on actual original benches in the Registry room where kids like us sat over a hundred years ago, and – this was my favorite part – picking up telephones and hearing actual immigrants speak about their experiences! Waaay better than reading about it in school!  You can pick up a phone there and hear all about how excited they were (and also scared) to be coming into a new land of freedom.  You can even see where they slept when they were detained (a new word I learned, meaning “kept there for a while.”)

There were 300 people sleeping in one room! We were like, OMG.  So if you share a room with your baby brother or sister, I guess you shouldn’t complain!  As I walked through the rooms, I wondered how they must have felt and also how they carried all their stuff! I also thought about how lucky I am to be born right here in NYC and to be free.  It wasn’t all bad for them, though, there were ways to buy candy and lemonade and also they were fed nicely in a dining hall.  Here are some pictures of actual artifacts that we loved seeing!

Look at those fancy forks! And here’s a cool old-fashioned cash register that probably collected lots of money during those times! My mom said she used to work at a place like a million years ago that had the same kind of cash register.  Wow, just…wow. 

Gavin:  It was really interesting to see all those things and also to see actual graffiti that was discovered all over the walls from people who were either excited or scared and wanted to leave their mark. Here’s an example:

And did you know that you had to prove you weren’t crazy to get into America by taking tests, like “Can you draw a diamond?” Also they had to do little puzzles like this one – I am pretty sure I would have passed!

Waverly here! It was definitely an AWESOME adventure going to the place where millions of adventures began. I think everyone should visit because they should know about their ancestors’ history and what they did while they were waiting to be let into NYC.  It also helps you understand how lucky you are to be born free and able to live wherever you want.  Taking a Statue Cruise into Ellis Island will bring you face to face with important history and help you know, understand, and honor all the people that came here before us looking for a better life, and it will help you appreciate yours! There’s still lots more to see there, so we will be back to report more someday, I’m sure!

Hear their stories and walk in their footsteps…

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