Located in Jersey City, New Jersey, Liberty State Park is situated across from the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. In 1976, the park was first opened to coincide with the bicentennial celebrations going on in the country. It is run by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry and can be found at their website at www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/parks/liberty2. The park opens daily at 6 A.M..
With the Manhatten skyline as a backdrop, this scenic park is one of the most beautiful in New Jersey. A ferry depot is located in the park and offers visitors a ride to both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. There are picnic areas located throughout the park and the historic Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal is situated at the north end of the park.
The Liberty Walk, a two mile promenade, joins the picnic areas, Interpretive Center and the Railroad together. The northern section of the park also has a new outdoor performance center and the western part of the park is home to the Liberty Science Center.
<b>The Interpretive Center</b>
The Interpretive Center is an educational facility focusing on history and the environment. It is located on Freedom Way in the park and is open year round from Monday through Saturday, 9 A.M. to 4 P.M.. From Memorial Day through Labor Day they are also open on Sunday’s. They are closed most major holidays. You can get more information by calling them at (201) 915-3409.
Exhibits here focus on the natural beauty of the Hudson River Estuary. They offer school programs for children, but, they are also open to the general public. They will sometimes offer professional development workshops for educators.
Located right next to the Interpretive Center is a 36 acre Natural Area which consists of salt marshes mainly. There is a self guided nature path where visitors can observe many natural wildlife habitats.
<b>Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal</b>
The central railroad of New Jersey terminal was a gateway for immigrants coming into this country through Ellis Island from 1892 through 1954. After processing at Ellis Island, many of them would board trains at the terminal that took them throughout the United States to their new homes.
The terminal today holds many educational seminars throughout the year, focusing on immigration into the United States and travel.
<b>Liberty Science Center</b>
Liberty Science Center is a wonderful interactive museum with three floors of exhibits. Science is the main focus of the museum and includes inventions, health technology and the environment. An IMAX dome screen located in the Kodak Omni Theatre is the largest in the country. There are many hands on exhibits located throughout where visitors can dig in and get involved.
The Science Center is open from Tuesday through Sunday. They are closed on Monday’s except for some major holidays, such as Martin Luther King Day in January. Hours of operation are different from summer to winter. Visitors can contact the center at (201) 200-1000. They can also visit Liberty Science Center’s website at www.lsc.org for more information.
<b>Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Ferry</b>
For more educational and historic information, visitors to Liberty State Park can take an optional trip on the ferry and visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The ferry is available throughout the year. For more information and for rates and schedules, you can contact the ferry service at (201) 435-9499.
Liberty State Park has something for everyone. Miles and miles of walkways and nature trails where you can walk, jog, bicycle or even rollerblade. If you plan a visit to the park, make sure you wear comfortable shoes and clothing and bring along your binoculars for a close up look at the many species of birds living in the park. Take advantage of the picnic areas and bring along your lunch while your children enjoy the playgrounds. You can even boat or kayak in the water. Don’t forget to bring your camera, you wouldn’t want to miss anything.
There is also a boat dock called the Liberty Landing Marina where you can dock your boat while you visit the park. You can contact them at (201) 985-8000 or visit their website at www.libertylandingmarina.com. This is a full service marine which has 200 berths.