Welcome to New York (Road Trip Day 3)!
While planning our road trip (click HERE for our previous stop), we hadn’t considered visiting anywhere further north than Pennsylvania. But, as it got closer, the idea to pop up to NYC occurred to us, and we knew we just had to make it happen!
The kids had been obsessed with the Statue of Liberty ever since Bubs came home from school one day talking about it… nonstop. Being as it’s extremely easy to hop on a train from Trenton (super close to Bensalem where we were staying) to New York City, we figured why not! Let’s fit it in!
So, Day 3 of our road trip consisted of a visit to the Big Apple!
Troy and I have both been to NYC before (at different times), and we’d already done all of the touristy things. So, we thought with the kids let’s just hit the Statue of Liberty and one or two other things we can all enjoy as a family. A quick day trip to the big city!
Monday morning we woke up, got ready, ate breakfast, and left my brother’s house for the Trenton Transit Center in Trenton, NJ to board the train to New York City. It was super easy to find parking right across the street from the station, buy tickets, and get all four of us on the train along with our two umbrella strollers.
Can you tell the two in our family who like to wake up early and the two who could probably sleep a little longer???
The train ride took just about an hour with about 5 stops before we reached our stop at Pennsylvania Station in NYC. The kids loved the ride, and enjoyed looking out the window, eating snacks, and playing with a few things we brought in our backpack. As we neared the city, the excitement level was off the charts, and I kind of felt bad for our fellow commuters… kind of. It was super cute how excited the kids were!
Once we reached the station and got off of our train, we briefly took in the Pennsylvania Station as we figured out where to go next. We boarded the subway to get off near Battery Park so we could visit the Statue of Liberty first thing.
After reaching our stop and leaving the subway, we were at Battery Park and able to show the kids the entire reason for our visit to NYC…
The Statue of Liberty!
We had bought tickets in advance for the ferry, and our ferry time was for 1pm. You can find all the info you need for your own visit HERE.
Tip #1: Get your tickets in advance! The further in advance the better, too. Unfortunately for us, we were unable to get tickets to enter the statue or any of the upper platforms because we had made plans for our visit to NYC too late.
After walking around Battery Park for a few minutes and being as we were already there, we decided to get in the line to pick up our tickets. It was just about 11:15am and the line was enormous!
Tip #2: As soon as you get to the park, get in the line! If you haven’t already gotten tickets, the line will be outrageous and you will wait for a very long time. If you have reserved tickets, the line will still be a good wait, but not nearly as long. Think 20 minutes compared to 3 hours!
When we finally reached the ranger to pick up our reserved tickets, we were told if we wanted to go up to the ferry line we might be able to get on earlier than our allotted time. So, why not, we gave it a shot, and it paid off!
We were on the 12pm ferry instead of waiting until 1pm!
Tip #3: There will be security before boarding the ferry. The less you take with you, the better! The lines through security are long, but quick, and it is VERY crowded on the ferry boats. Make it easier on yourself by taking a small, foldable stroller and small pack for your things.
While on the ferry, we ate soft pretzels for our snack/lunch (concessions are provided on the boats), and drank plenty of water. It was a hot, sunny day so we made sure to hydrate everyone! We found a spot toward the front of the boat to take in the views and enjoy the breeze off of the bay. The ride takes about 20 minutes, which gives plenty of time to enjoy the scenery.
One of the biggest highlight of our entire road trip, was the moment the kids stood in front of this iconic American symbol with pure joy and excitement on their faces!
After admiring, we made our way around the island, explored the gift shop (we may have bought the kids Statue of Liberty souvenirs ;)), and then got in the seemingly never ending line to get back on the ferry boat. Surprisingly, the line moved very quickly considering how many people there were. We were probably in line for 45 minutes.
As we waited, we treated ourselves to some of the most delicious lemonade I’ve ever had! When you visit Liberty Island, you HAVE to get one of these drinks from Bill’s!
On the ferry ride back, we found a seat next to the windows and both kids fell asleep! We didn’t get off the ferry at Ellis Island because both Troy and I had been before and we didn’t think the kids would care if we skipped it this time. We ended up getting back to Battery Park around 2pm and started for our next stop,
the National September 11 Memorial.
We decided to walk from Battery Park to the memorial because it was only a 10 minute walk. It gave us a chance to see some of the New York bustle and buildings, and allowed Sis to keep sleeping in her stroller since we wouldn’t have to take her out to go down the stairs for the subway.
Neither Troy or I had been to the 9/11 Memorial yet. We had both visited NYC post September 11th, 2001, but the memorial and museum had not been finished yet.
It was BEAUTIFUL! I cried. It was emotional and powerful, and we were able to take the time to explain to Bubs the significance of the memorial and why it was there. It was hard for him to grasp what had happened, but he sensed the gravity of it and was very reverent.
We didn’t visit the museum on this visit. We didn’t get tickets early enough in advance and the line was out of control, but we spent time walking around the fountains and admiring the tower before hopping back onto the subway.
Next stop, a brief visit to the Manhattan New York Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you know that we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the temples are very sacred places for us. Being able to visit the different temples as we travel has been a fun and special family occurrence. The New York temple is amazing because it’s just squished in with all the other buildings of this busy city, but once you step inside it’s peaceful and quiet!
We didn’t spend long here and hopped right back on the subway headed to
We walked around, took a selfie, and took in the sights and sounds, but the main reason for heading into Times Square was to visit
We didn’t tell the kids about this stop, and making them stand here before going in to take a pic just about killed them! And, to be honest, I was just as excited as they were!!
We spent WAY too much money on M&M’s, but YOLO, haha! We went to every floor (there are 3), and took the M&M color mood test.
Bubs got orange, one of his favorite colors, and when it was Sis’s turn she was hoping for pink (her favorite), but instead she got the complete opposite… brown, haha! We let her eat some more M&M’s to cheer her up, don’t worry 😉
Before heading to the train station for our commute back to Bensalem, we ate dinner at Five Guys in Times Square. We don’t have one at home, so we had to take advantage being as it’s one of our favorites!
It had been a busy, fun-filled day, and we were all tired but filled with lots of new memories… and M&M’s!
Granted, we didn’t do a lot of the iconic/touristy attractions that NYC has to offer, but for the time we had, the ages of our kids, and the fact that we had been before, our visit was a great day trip on our extensive road trip. The kids had so much fun, and both said the Statue of Liberty was probably their favorite part of the whole vacation!
If you haven’t seen my previous posts about our epic Summer 2018 road trip, start at my post all about Day 1 in Gettysburg to get you caught up on our adventures!