by Micaela Williamson
Growing up outside of New York City, I was rarely a tourist in my hometown. I have been to the top of the Empire State Building once, and never have set foot inside the Statue of Liberty (blame the chicken pox in the 4th grade for missing out on that field trip!) My time in Manhattan was always about seeing Broadway shows, meeting up with friends, and going out to dinner. Now that I have my own family in Washington D.C., I enjoy visiting New York City and discovering the destination through the eyes of my own children. My son is obsessed with the Statue of Liberty, and we decided to check out the highly acclaimed Circle Line Sightseeing Boat Cruises.
Circle Line Sightseeing offers 5 different cruise options ranging in length from the 30 Minute Beast Speedboat Ride (must be 40 inches to ride) to the 3 hour Full Island Cruise. With my children, ages 4 and 6, we found the 75 minute Liberty Cruise to be the most appealing for our family. It covered so many of the big sights and was just the perfect length that little ones (and older ones) didn't get too bored or grumpy.
Our tour description: Liberty Cruise (1 hour, offered year round) Sail down the Hudson River to the Statue of Liberty and back, viewing such sights as Ellis Island, the historic immigration center, Jersey City, the rising Freedom Tower, and the World Financial Center along the way.
Things to Know:
* There is a restroom and snack stand onboard, but food options are pretty limited. However, it isn't overly expensive to get a cold drink.
* Even if you buy your tickets ahead of time online, you are unable to select a reserved date and time. We found that the early bird catches the worm. Our Liberty Cruise was scheduled for 11 AM. We arrived at 10:15, bought our tickets, and were among the first 30 people to board the ship. We visited in mid-August.
* The boat turns around at the Statue of Liberty so it doesn't matter which side you sit on. Circle Line is the ONLY cruise that goes around the entire island.
* There is a parking garage right next to the ship. Rates vary based on time and day.
* The cruise is walking distance from Times Square, which offers the closest subway options. Closer bus options are available. See the directions page.
* If you are looking for other attractions in the area, check out the Intreprid Museum, an interactive and amazing museum focused on military and maritime history museum. Climb aboard the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid which fought in World War II, visit the space shuttle pavilion which showcases the space shuttle Enterprise, check out the submarine Growler the only American strategic missile submarine open to the public and see the The British Airways Concorde that boasts the fastest Atlantic crossing.
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