Ellis Island (National Museum of Immigration)

Between 1892 and 1954, the immigration station at Ellis Island processed 12 million immigrants. Half of the people living in the United States of America can trace their roots to a descendant who passed through America’s largest immigration station of the time.

Not everyone wanting to enter the United States of America was able to during the operating period of Ellis Island. For this reason, it came to be known as “The Island of Tears.”  Those denied entry were separated from their friends and family.  To those who became legal immigrants, it came to be known as “The Island of Hope.”  Nowadays, the island itself belongs to the states of New York and New Jersey.  It is a national museum full of history and stories of hardship.

Meet a ranger at the information desk on the hour for a guided tour. No ticket is needed for this; an audio tour is free as well.  Pick up a device at the Antenna Audio desk to experience the 45-minute audio tour.  Five languages are available, and so is a version for children.

The current building was created in 1900 and is in the Renaissance Revival/Beaux Arts design. It replaced the original following a fire.  The main building of the immigration complex will show you a bit of the process one undertook to start a new life in the country.  Multimedia exhibits are displayed throughout.  If you are interested in touring the hospital complex to see a few of its facilities, get a ticket for the tour called Hard Hat Tours of Hospital Complex.  They cost $25 and are recommended for ages 13 and up.  Call Statue Cruises at 877.523.9849 for more information on this tour.  A ferry ticket is required for your passage to Ellis Island.  See www.nps.gov/elis for ferry schedules.  They usually begin transporting people at 8:30 or 9:30 in the morning.  Ellis Island begins closing at 4:45.