We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls. ~Robert J. McCracken
For Mother's Day, we took a daytrip to Liberty State Park in New Jersey. From there, we hopped the ferry to Ellis Island, and then on to the Statue of Liberty. It had been years and years since I saw the statue up close - some long-since-filed memory from a forgettable middle school trip, I'm sure. This time, combined with the wonder of Ellis Island and the exuberance of my children it was much more meaningful and exciting. Our 6 year old really got into the trip - as she was able to read all the signs and descriptions in the museum on Ellis Island. Our nearly 4 year old wasn't nearly as jazzed about the museum as he was about the ferry rides and climbing all the stairs inside the statue. There are a few things available to younger guests - phones to pick up & listen to people talk about their experiences arriving on Ellis Island, and a gift shop with wooden whirly birds for sale, as an example. But on the whole, I'd say being reading age makes this trip much more interesting for children. We also got to see, relatively close, the new Freedom Tower under construction. While the skyline looked a bit strange, as it always does, without the World Trade Center towers standing, seeing new construction was inspiring. In all, we had a fabulous time. It was amazing to me to see all the old photographs and artifacts, and with taking a ferry to & fro, I really could imagine what it would have been like arriving in America for the very first time. Amazing. For a history of Ellis Island & the mass immigration that took place there from 1892 - 1924, visit the EllisIsland.org Some photos from our trip:
Sign on the way to the ferries.
My son's favorite part of the trip.
Lady liberty from afar.
Walking around Ellis Island - checking out some of the names inscribed on the "Immigrant Wall of Honor".
Babywearing - nearly 100 years ago! :)
The restored great hall where immigrants were first greeted & divided into groups for health, intelligence, legal processing, and other screenings. Here's a "then & now" photo gallery.
Looking out over Ellis Island - the statue is off in the background.
A list of the food available for purchase by immigrants. CANDY! :)
A wall of postcards illustrating the various ships that brought passengers to the USA.
Walking outside the main building, on the way to the ferry.
The Manhattan skyline from the ferry. Missing the World Trade Towers.
The statue from the ferry... getting closer!
Preservation of the old torch.
Odd art from the museum.
Yes, there are elevators, but we walked!
La Liberté éclairant le monde
Family pic! (6 year old is making faces & 3 year old is bored)