Scavenger Hunts at Ellis Island

  • private
  • adults
  • indoor

The Immigrant Experience Scavenger Hunt

A 19th-century adventure on an island in the harbor

Ellis Island was the first stop in America for millions of immigrants. On this whirlwind team-building tour of the main building, now a museum, you’ll uncover secrets about the immigrant experience in this majestic, moving place while enjoying jaw-dropping views of the harbor, the Statue of Liberty, and the Manhattan skyline.

Your team might…

  • Spot Scrooge while learning how people paid for their oceanic voyage
  • Decode the telltale knots that revealed someone’s nationality
  • Find out what was wrong with your face if you got an F on your medical exam
  • Learn how immigrants built the Brooklyn Bridge—and so much more
  • Roll your eyes at what single women had to do to get off the island
  • Ponder the men waiting at the dock who learned that their “picture brides” fell in love with fellow passengers
  • Try to pass the Feature Profile Test
  • See if the name of someone you know is on the American Immigration Wall of Honor

…and more! You don’t need to know anything about Ellis Island and its history to answer the questions: you just need sharp eyes and good teamwork.

Getting there: ferry facts

Ellis Island is accessible only by ferry. The ferry company does not give preferential treatment to groups and does not guarantee that you will be able to depart at a particular time. You may also encounter long lines to board the ferry during tourist season.


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  • private
  • kids
  • indoor

The Ellis Island Scavenger Hunt for Kids

Welcome to America!

Explore the historic buildings in New York Harbor that millions of immigrants—perhaps even your own ancestors—encountered on their first stop in America. As you and your team learn about the immigrant experience, you’ll get a sense of what it was like to arrive in a new land, bewildered by a different language and assorted inspections. You’ll also enjoy breathtaking views of the harbor, Lady Liberty, and the NYC skyline.

This scavenger hunt is a popular field-trip activity. Hundreds of school children have enjoyed this hunt! And teachers rave about how this is a great, fun way to introduce kids to the history of immigration and get them excited to learn more back in the classroom.

Getting there: ferry facts

The island is accessible only by ferry, and the ferry company does not give preferential treatment to groups and does not guarantee that you will be able to depart at a particular time. You may encounter long lines to board the ferry during tourist season.


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