Alcatraz Island is a must see when you are visiting San Francisco.
Alcatraz Island has had multiple identities throughout the years. Lighthouse (1854), Civil War Fort (1861-65), U.S. Army Military Prison (1907-33), Federal Penitentiary (1934-63), Indian Occupation (1969-71), and National Park (1973-present).
Go to Pier 33 to Alcatraz Cruises to check out the various tours to Alcatraz Island – range from $26 to $58. We went over in the day to do the Cellhouse Audio Tour. I would love to go back and do a Night Tour. The place is spooky enough in the daylight cannot imagine how creepy the place would be at night.
We were on the island for about two hours – enjoying the audio tour and exploring the island. I would have to say the creepiest place in the penitentiary was the shower room – just felt a not so good vibe down there. We did the tourist thing by getting in a cell and taking a picture. The audio tours gives you some idea of what life was like for the prisoners – no thank you!
Alcatraz was once home to some of America’s most notorious criminals – check out Al “Scarface” Capone’s cell. In 1934 the military prison was turned in to a maximum-security penitentiary and would shortly become the most famous federal prison in United States history. A “Super Max” Institution – the prisoners were held under the most secure and regimented conditions – a virtually escape-proof environment on an island in the San Francisco Bay! There were 36 prisoners that were involved in 14 separate escape attempts – some were caught, some were shot & killed and some drowned.
Fun Fact: Courts could not sentence anyone to Alcatraz – prisoners were sent there when they were transferred from other federal prisons. Average stay at Alcatraz was five years.
The island is home and nesting ground for sea birds. The gardens are being maintained and the former prison buildings are being conserved and upgraded.