The Statue of Liberty: Symbol of Freedom

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The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of light and freedom to all who see it and dream of a new life in America. Built in France and shipped to New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty officially opened for visitors in 1886. Since then, it has been a beacon for immigrants the world over and a destination for tourists from all over the U.S.

The Statue stretches 306 feet in the air, from the bottom of the pedestal to the top of the torch. Of that 306 feet, almost exactly half (152 feet) is the statue itself. This is one big statue! "Lady Liberty" wears sandals that are 25 feet long. That translates to a size 879 foot! Her index finger alone is eight feet long. On her head is a crown that has seven points, representing the world's seven oceans and also the world's seven continents. The crown has 25 windows, out which visitors used to be able get a (small) view of New York Harbor and New York City. To get up there, visitors had to walk 354 steps up a series of narrow, circular staircases. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the crown and torch are closed to the public.

The statue depicts a woman and has been called "Lady Liberty." The right hand of the statue holds a torch; the left hand holds a tablet (which is 23 feet long and 13 feet wide) containing the inscription July 4, 1776 (the year that the United States was born).

The statue is made of many things, primarily steel and copper. The total weight of the statue is 450,000 pounds. Steel makes up 250,000 pounds of that, and copper makes up 179,200 pounds. The remaining 20,000+ pounds are shared between various other materials.

The Statue of Liberty is on Liberty Island, in New York Harbor. To get there, visitors take a ferry boat to the island. The ferry boat costs, as does entering the Statue; you can walk around the island for free. (Click here for a map of the area.) Visitors have the two options for tours of the Statue: a Promenade Tour and an Observatory Tour; only the Observatory Tour incorporates walking up or riding an elevator to the base of the statue. (Click here for more about tours.)

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David White