||San Francisco, CA|
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Visiting Alcatraz is much better than you'd expect! I thought it would be too creepy or touristy, but actually the self-guided audio tour is fascinating, and the views from the island are spectacular!
First there's the ferry ride, with its views of the bay and the San Francisco skyline. I thought it would be freezing cold but the day I went in November it was warm and sunny on the ferry and we sat outside to enjoy the sea air. My son loved watching a bird that flew alongside us and kept speed with the boat!
Once at the island, it's amazing to see the strange historical signs that are still up, where the ferries dock. Here, American Indians squatted on the island from 1969 to 1971 and gained rights of self-determination, changing the course of U.S. history. You can watch a video about it called "We Hold The Rock," in the exhibit near the dock.
Next, it's wonderful to walk up to the prison and enjoy the delightful views of blue-green waters below and Monterey cypress grasping the cliffs where you stand.
At the prison, you are given an audio device which you listen to as you take a self-guided tour. Older kids can follow along with it too. It's fun to learn about the different escapes that took place at the prison, and my son still remembers the one where the men made faces to look like theirs and placed them on their pillows so the guards would think they were still there sleeping. You can see these faces in one of the cells. The tour talks about the birdman of Alcatraz, and the cold, damp conditions of the cells where misbehaving prisoners were isolated. Also, it's interesting to learn about the fiascos that took place in the dining hall, where the guards often couldn't keep the prisoners under control, especially on days when the food sucked!
It's very beautiful on Alcatraz Island, and you can imagine that it would have been difficult to be a prisoner there- to look out and see the yachts cruising by, the big-city skyline, and all you were missing out in the world.
Don't miss out on a visit to Alcatraz- it's not just a tourist attraction- it's far more.
When you're done with your tour, grab an icecream at Fisherman's Wharf and see the amazing seals sunning themselves on the pier. Afterwards, take a cable car ride from Embarcadero. You can go to Powell Street and then take the N line to Inner Sunset District for a fantastic meat pie (see entry) and a walk around Golden Gate Park.
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You take a ferry from the Fisherman's Wharf area to get to Alcatraz, specifically from Pier 41. Buy tickets at the booth. If you're smart, you will book ahead because we've missed out on going several times when it's been booked out. You can reserve your tickets ahead of time online.
It costs $19 per adult and $11 per child and that includes the audio tour and the ferry ride. There is only one company contracted to take you out to the island: Blue and Gold Ferries, call (415) 705-5555. Click here to reserve your tickets.
This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.
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|i am doing areport on alcatraz ghost in the jail it is a very insteresting report.o|