After seeing the ‘The Rock’ and ‘Escape from Alcatraz’ Sanjay’s always had a bit of a fascination with Alcatraz and its history. So when the opportunity came along for us to go to San Fran it was a must see for him!
Alcatraz Island is located about 2km offshore from San Francisco. The federal penitentiary was operated from 1934 to 1963 and was once home to some of the most notorious criminals in America including Al Capone & Robert Stroud.
We’d bought our tickets online a couple of months prior to arriving in San Francisco, as they do tend to sell out quite quickly. Our tickets included the ferry to & from the island (which is only about a 15 minute ride) and an audio tour of the cellhouse. The audio tour was quite captivating as we were hearing the voices of actual Alcatraz correctional officers and previous inmates telling us about the history of the prison.
I thought the penitentiary itself had a somewhat eerie feel to it, even though there were a lot of people in the cellhouse at the time, barely anyone spoke and if they did it was only a whisper. Evidence of how the inmates lived and what went on in the prison was very apparent and really set the scene. We were able to walk into the cells themselves and there were no restrictions on taking photos either.
We went on the daytime tour and found it really interesting and worthwhile, I’ve heard people say that the night tour is better though – I thought it was spooky enough during the day so personally I’m glad we opted not to do the night tour!
During the penitentiary era, resident s gardened around the island, it was a welcome distraction to sombre prison environment and the families of correctional officers would often enjoy tea parties in the gardens. After the prison closed in 1963, many of the plants survived without care and you can still walk around the beautiful gardens today as you tour the island.
(You might even see a cute little family of ducks like we did!)
The view of San – Francisco from Alcatraz is quite amazing and the island itself is really pretty, it’s a little strange at the same time, considering you’re standing on the site of what was one of the most legendary prisons in the world!
Happy Travels, Priti x