Okay, so we’re one cycle late on this field trip to Ellis Island. It was on our short list of places nearby to visit over the summer, but we never quite made it. We kept pushing it back, but still wanted to make it there before it became too cold. So, this past Friday, my husband took the day off and we made a day trip out of it.
We rode the ferry from Liberty Park in New Jersey. The ferry trip was one of the boys’ favorite parts. Before we departed on the ferry, we were able to spend some time at the Empty Sky: New Jersey September 11th Memorial. A great time to spend talking about that painful day in recent American history.
During our round trip ferry ride we enjoyed some beautiful views of the New York City skyline and The Statue of Liberty. If you arrived early enough, you could certainly visit both Ellis Island and The Statue of Liberty in one day, as the ferry makes stops at both locations. We had a few hours and we spent them touring Ellis Island.
Both my husband and I have family that passed through Ellis Island to enter America many years ago. Sharing those stories of not only America’s heritage, but our personal heritage as well with our children was really meaningful for us.
Our children most appreciated 1) the interactive exhibits where they could move things or listen to stories, 2) the artifacts on display, and 3) the photographs of immigrants and their families. As they get older, there is much more they will understand and appreciate about this trip. But, for now, we kept to the basics and had a great time!
What about you? What cool field trips have you taken near you?
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UPDATE: Go here to search Ellis Island Passenger records for free. Additional links added throughout.