9/11 Memorial Pools: National September 11th Memorial Museum

On that fateful day of September 11, 2001, the world stood still, our hearts shattered as the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center crumbled before our eyes. The indelible images of despair and devastation linger in the collective memory of those who bore witness to this tragic event.

Out of the ashes, a city and nation unified in grief, resilience, and determination, honoring the lost lives through memorials that embody the unyielding strength of the human spirit.

A visit to these sacred sites and the museum offers an unforgettable journey of remembrance and education. By delving into the stories of those affected and paying tribute to their memory, we ensure their legacy remains unforgotten.

9 11 Memorial Pools Things To Do

What happened on 9/11?

The haunting echoes of 9/11 reverberate through the tale of 19 terrorists, members of the extremist group al-Qaeda, who orchestrated a series of synchronized attacks on American soil. With chilling precision, they hijacked four commercial airplanes, weaponizing them against iconic landmarks.

  • As the planes pierced the heart of New York City’s Twin Towers, almost 3,000 innocent lives perished, including civilians, first responders, and those aboard the flights.
  • Another aircraft struck the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, extinguishing the lives of 125 souls inside the building and 64 passengers.
  • The final plane, United Airlines Flight 93, met its demise in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, as valiant passengers thwarted the hijackers’ intentions.

The harrowing events of 9/11 etched themselves into history as the deadliest terrorist act ever committed, provoking worldwide changes in security and policy.

The aftermath saw the birth of the War on Terror, leading to military interventions across the globe. The legacy of 9/11 endures, shaping both the fight against terrorism and the remembrance of those who suffered that day.

9/11 Memorial Pools / Ground Zero

At the heart of Ground Zero lies the National September 11 Memorial, encompassing two vast reflecting pools nestled within the very footprints of the fallen Twin Towers. Each pool, almost an acre in size, boasts North America’s largest man-made waterfalls.

9 11 Memorial Pools Must See

How many names are on the 9/11 Memorial?

The poignant memorial immortalizes the names of nearly 3,000 souls lost in the 2001 attacks and the six victims of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, etched into bronze panels encircling the pools.

9 11 Memorial Pools Rose Name New York
Alicia Fdez
9 11 Memorial Pools Name Rose New York
Jin S Lee

Organized by their location during the tragedy, the names feature symbols to recognize the courageous first responders who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Design of the pools

The visionary design of architects Michael Arad and Peter Walker graced the memorial after triumphing over 5,000 entries from 63 countries. The serene pools, clad in synthetic granite, whisper the somber beauty of the cascading waterfalls, drowning out the city’s clamor and offering solace to those who come to reflect and pay their respects.

Why is it called Ground Zero?

The phrase “Ground Zero” paints a haunting picture of a place once vibrant but now reduced to its core. Originally coined during the Manhattan Project to describe the epicenter of a nuclear explosion, this term found new life after the tragic events of September 11, 2001. As the Twin Towers crumbled, Ground Zero emerged as a symbol of loss and resilience, forever etching itself into the heart of New York City.

Though some argue that using “Ground Zero” in this context may seem insensitive due to its association with nuclear devastation, the phrase has persisted, transforming into an emblem of hope that commemorates the events of that fateful day.

National September 11th Memorial Museum

Anchored in memory, the 9/11 Museum weaves together personal stories, artifacts, and exhibits, forming a tapestry of tragedy and triumph. Discover the museum’s highlights below.

  • Twin Tower Tridents: Rising like phoenixes from the ashes, these steel giants once supported the weight of the iconic Twin Towers. Rescued from the wreckage, they now stand as enduring symbols of resilience and strength, connecting visitors to the lost towers with their steely embrace.

9 11 Memorial Museum Twin Tower Tridents New York
Twin Tower Tridents Jin S Lee
9 11 Memorial Museum Last Column New York
Slurry Wall and Last Column Chris Roberts
  • Slurry Wall: More than just concrete, this massive structure laid the foundation for the original World Trade Center complex. Defending against the relentless Hudson River, its unwavering strength held firm during the towers’ collapse, preventing further catastrophe. Today, the Slurry Wall’s steadfast presence forms part of the Memorial Pools, testifying to the engineering marvels that made the World Trade Center possible.
  • Last Column: This lone steel column, etched with messages of love, gratitude, and remembrance, offered a glimmer of hope amidst the ruins. As the last steel sentinel to be removed from Ground Zero in May 2002, it now stands in the museum, honoring the tireless efforts of those who toiled in the wreckage.
  • Survivors’ Staircase: More than just steps, this staircase bore witness to the indomitable spirit of those who fled the World Trade Center on 9/11. Despite the towers’ collapse, the Survivors’ Staircase endured, and now stands as a testament to human courage and determination within the museum’s walls.
  • Ladder Company 3: Among the first to arrive at the smoldering scene, Ladder Company 3’s fire truck epitomizes the bravery and sacrifice of first responders on that fateful day. Though battered and scarred, it remains a stirring symbol of selflessness and duty.
9 11 Memorial Museum Ladder Company 3 New York
Randy Scherkenbach
  • Elevator Motor: Unearthed from the rubble, this relic of the North Tower’s elevator system bears witness to the immense scale of the World Trade Center complex. Now on display in the museum, the Elevator Motor pays homage to the indispensable role these machines played in connecting the lives of workers and visitors in the towers.

Do you have to pay to see the 9/11 Memorial pools?

As you approach the serene 9/11 Memorial Pools, you’ll find that entry is free of charge, allowing all to reflect and remember. However, next door lies the National September 11th Memorial Museum, where a modest fee is required to explore its profound exhibits.

The museum’s admission fees vary based on age and other factors, with discounts available for select groups. To secure a spot in this popular destination, especially during the bustling tourist season, visitors are encouraged to book their tickets in advance.

What to see nearby

The Memorial Glade

In New York City’s 9/11 Memorial, the Memorial Glade stands as a poignant tribute, dedicated on May 30, 2019. This powerful addition honors the ongoing sacrifices of rescue and recovery workers, as well as survivors who continue to grapple with health issues stemming from their time at the World Trade Center site.

9 11 Ground Zero Memorial Glade New York
Jin S Lee

The Glade’s design features a pathway lined by six imposing stone monoliths, each weighing between 13 and 18 tons. These mighty stones embody the strength and determination of the countless heroes who toiled in the aftermath of the attacks.

Visitors to the 9/11 Memorial will find the Memorial Glade a place for contemplation and remembrance, reflecting on the resilience and fortitude of those forever marked by the events of 9/11.

The Survivor Tree

Amidst the September 11 Memorial Plaza, the Survivor Tree stands as a living emblem of hope and resilience. This Callery pear tree, discovered amidst the World Trade Center’s rubble, bore the scars of the attacks—its roots severed, its branches charred and broken.

9 11 Memorial Museum Survivor Tree New York
Monika Graff

Determined horticulturists from the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation carefully tended to the tree, restoring its vitality. Two years later, it was replanted in the Memorial Plaza, where it now stands tall, symbolizing the indomitable human spirit.

9/11 Tribute Museum

Once located near the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan, the 9/11 Tribute Museum—previously known as the 9/11 Tribute Center—served as a testament to the events of September 11, 2001.

This sacred space preserved memories, educated visitors, and showcased the personal stories of survivors, first responders, and victims’ family members. Regrettably, the 9/11 Tribute Museum closed its doors in March 2020, a casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Koenig’s Sphere

A poignant relic of a time before tragedy, Koenig’s Sphere once adorned the World Trade Center plaza in New York City. This large metallic sculpture, crafted by Fritz Koenig and commissioned in 1969, originally symbolized world peace through world trade.

9 11 Memorial Museum Koenigs Sphere New York
Monika Graff

In the wake of 9/11, Koenig’s Sphere was unearthed from the ruins of the World Trade Center and has since found a new home in Lower Manhattan’s Battery Park. Bearing the scars of the attacks, this partially restored sculpture now serves as a memorial to the victims, a quiet reminder of a world forever changed.


Why was the 9/11 memorial built?

Shortly after September 11, 2001’s dreadful acts of terror came under scrutiny worldwide. A permanent testament was thus necessitated such that future generations could pay tributes and remember innocents whose lives were lost during these catastrophic events.

In New York City, designers created what is today known as the remarkable ‘9/11 Memorial.’ This memorial not only eulogizes those who passed away but also provides a serene space for contemplation where visitors can honor them with knowledge.

When did 9/11 museum open?

May 15th,2014 witnessed a magnificent ceremony commemorating the official inauguration of The Museum. This event was attended by eminent personalities such as President Barack Obama and survivors of September11 attacks who shared the stage with several notables. Keeping in line with these festivities, The Museum welcomed its first batch of visitors on May 21st.

The opening of the museum marked an important milestone in the ongoing effort to honor and remember the victims of the September 11 attacks, as well as the many others who risked their lives in the rescue and recovery efforts.

How many pools are at the 911 Memorial?

Located in the heart of New York City, the September 11 Memorial is a site of serious beauty and reflection. Its twin pools, each spanning nearly an acre, are set in the footsteps of the once majestic Twin Towers.

As waterfalls gently cascade into the central chasm, a serene atmosphere surrounds the memorial, allowing visitors to pause and remember.

How deep is the memorial?

These poignant pools plunge 30 feet (9 meters) deep, echoing the depth of the original Twin Towers’ foundations that reached 70 feet (21 meters) below the surface. Lined with a specially designed material to prevent leakage, the pools are eco-conscious, recirculating water to minimize waste.

How long to visit the memorial and museum?

When visiting this hallowed ground, expect to spend anywhere between one and three hours, as the museum and memorial invite you to linger, explore, and pay your respects.

The simplicity of the Memorial Pools belies their emotional impact, drawing visitors to stroll along the perimeter, absorb the names inscribed on bronze panels, and contemplate the mesmerizing waterfalls.

The museum, on the other hand, offers a comprehensive and deeply affecting experience, encouraging guests to explore artifacts and exhibits at their leisure, or even join a guided tour for added insight and context.

Tours of the 9/11 Memorial

Within the museum and monument, several tour options are available to enhance your experience:

  • 9/11 Memorial Guided Tour: Immerse yourself in the history and significance of the 9/11 Memorial Pools during this 60-minute journey led by a knowledgeable staff member. Delve into the design, the name placements on bronze panels, and the symbolism behind the trees and waterfalls.
  • 9/11 Memorial and Museum Guided Tour: For a more extensive exploration, this 2-hour tour encompasses both the 9/11 Memorial Museum and the Memorial Pools. Under the guidance of a trained expert, uncover the stories of 9/11, the artifacts housed within the museum, and the memorial’s intricate design.

How to get to 9/11 Memorials in NY?

Situated at the World Trade Center site, the 9/11 Memorials are accessible via several modes of transportation:

  • Subway: Nearby stations such as Cortlandt Street Station, World Trade Center Station, and Fulton Street Station offer convenient access to the Memorial.
  • Bus: The M5, M20, and M22 buses stop close to the Memorial, making it easily reachable.
  • Ferry: From the Staten Island Ferry at Battery Park to the World Financial Center Ferry Terminal, a variety of ferry options lead to the Memorial.
  • Walking: For those staying in Lower Manhattan, a leisurely stroll will take you to the Memorial nestled in the bustling Financial District.


Driving to the 9/11 Memorials? Although parking can be scarce and pricey in this part of the city, there are options to consider:

  • Brookfield Place Parking Garage: Just a few blocks from the Memorial, rates start at $25 for up to 3 hours.
  • Battery Parking Garage: A 10-minute walk from the Memorial, rates begin at $10 for up to 1 hour.
  • Icon Parking: Several garages are located throughout Lower Manhattan, with varying rates and availability.
  • Street Parking: There is limited street parking available in the area, though it can be difficult to find and may be subject to restrictions and time limits.

However, be sure to do your own research before using these parking lots.


A visit to the 9/11 Memorial in New York City is a profoundly moving experience, inviting guests to honor the memories of those lost during the September 11 attacks and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

The National September 11th Memorial Museum delves even deeper, offering an emotional journey through the events of that fateful day, which may take several hours to fully absorb.

As you navigate the 9/11 Memorial, you’ll be reminded not only of the heartache and loss, but also of the indomitable human spirit and the power of unity in the face of tragedy.