Statue of Liberty National Monument
Apple pie. The American flag. Fireworks on the Fourth of July. Freedom. These are all quintessential parts of what it means to be American, and The Statue of Liberty is no exception. The green colossus guards the Upper Bay with her undaunted, calm expression, and blazing torch held high for all to see.
For nearly 150 years, she has been an iconic emblem of freedom in this country, and a welcoming sight to immigrants arriving from across the ocean. Her visage is familiar to one and all, young and old—and she is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting the New York City area. Read on to see why—you’re bound to learn a thing or two in the process.
The History of the Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty was a collaborative sculpture by sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and French poet and antislavery activist Édouard de Laboulaye. Laboulaye wanted to celebrate new America's newfound democracy after the Civil War as well as the abolition of slavery. His idea was to create a statue that would reflect the shared bond between the two countries and their democratic ideals.
Laboulaye enlisted Bartholdi to breathe life into the idea. The two worked through several different plans before settling on the personification of Liberty through a female icon. Liberty, (or Libertas, the goddess of freedom), was worshipped in Rome for freeing slaves and was prominently portrayed on American coins of the time.
Bartholdi developed blueprints for the most massive sculpture in the world at that time. Structural engineering for the project was an enormous undertaking at the time, as the 151-foot statue weighs more than 200 tons.
Despite difficulties, France shipped the 350 pieces of the statue across the Atlantic Ocean, and workers began assembling The Statue of Liberty on Bedloe Island. Finally, on October 28, 1886, the statue was completed, and Manhattan celebrated with a ticker-tape parade.
While the Statue of Liberty is mostly unchanged from its original condition, one of the significant evolutions is the color. The light green statue was originally a dull copper color; this effect is a result of oxidation, as copper is a primary element of the composition.
Today, more than 4 million people visit The Statue of Liberty National Monument annually. Due to past incidents, visitors are unable to go into the crown of the statue or torch. People can go to the island for free, though, to visit the Statue of Liberty Museum and other features of Liberty Island.
Top Tours for the Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty Tickets
The tour provides ferry access to the grounds of Liberty Island starting in the morning until 3 p.m. Visitors can explore the island at their own pace as each trip is self-guided. There are also complimentary audio tours for customers.
People spend approximately three to five hours during the tour, which can be found at Statue of Liberty Tickets. This option also includes trips to Ellis Island. Prices are $16 for children under 12 and $25.50 for adults.
Statue Cruises offers several packages of famous New York City attractions, including an option to see Liberty and Ellis Island. The bundle includes a ticket to see the Statue of Liberty as well as the Ellis Island National Immigration Museum. People can start the tour from either New York or New Jersey.
Like its competitor above, Statue Cruises offers an audio tour with every ticket purchase. Visitors can listen to insightful guides in Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian, and Spanish. Ferries depart every 20-35 minutes and tickets start at $9 for children or $18.50 for adults.
Be Sure to Visit at Least Once
The sculpture by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi is something that every American should see at least once in their lives. It is an essential and iconic part of the fabric of this country, and in so many ways, represents the freedoms and ideals we strive to uphold to this day. Whether you live on the East Coast, West Coast, or somewhere in the middle, we promise it will be worth the trip. Liberty is one of those attractions that you just have to see in person—pictures don’t do her justice.
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