No longer a prison for some of America's most dangerous offenders, Alcatraz is part of the National Park Service and is a mus... More
No longer a prison for some of America's most dangerous offenders, Alcatraz is part of the National Park Service and is a must-see for visitors to the city. Once on the island, you will certainly be captivated by its history and its incredible beauty. Take your camera, because a photo opportunity awaits behind every corner. Also, dress in layers (even during the summer months) because the island can be breezy, and the inside of the prison is cold and damp. If you want to scare your kiddies into good behavior, there is a cellhouse audio tour of Alcatraz. Ferries to Alcatraz depart from Pier 33, and are run by Alcatraz Cruises. All tours start at 9a. See the website for up-to-date scheduling and complete visitation particulars.
I was very excited to see Alcatraz, with the history behind the prison seeming more like folklore. The visit however, was average at best. There aren't enough museum-like displays. The "Al Capone" cell was the most un-impressive sight on the island. As it is, an inaccessible 2nd story display, with simply a mugshot photo of Capone infront of the cell. Trying to see into the cell from the 1st floor, you can obtain a great view of the ceiling in his cell. Several other prison areas are blocked off, thus leaving the tour short on information. We spent $46 for 4 adult tickets over easter weekend and there are more than 100 better places in SF to spend that money.
If you need flashing lights,noises,and people dressed as mice to have a good time then stay away. This is a great place to visit I loved it, even though it is not at all what i expected. Semi-derelict it gives you a great sense of history. (If you can get the first ferry and enter the buildings from the exit, you will enter the cell block before the crowd and be totally alone in there ! you can then walk through and pick up your headset.)
Alcatraz, what can I say? I was so excited about this tour and when I got there I was definately disappointed. I'm not saying I didn't like it, just that it doesn't live up to the hype. The tour consists of a long walk up to the prison and a set of headphones to wear once you get in the building that tell you a very long story about some of the prisons history as remembered by ex-inmates and guards. The A&E story was just as informative and less expensive. The gift shoppe was very limited as far as souveniers went and overpriced to boot. I think the gift shoppe should offer thier guided tour fully narrated on DVD so people can watch it and remember what they saw and how much they paid for it. It was sort of an interesting experience to actually be walking the same halls as people such as Al Capone and actors such as Sean Connery. So if you just want to be able to say you've been there then go. If it's the history you're interested in, buy the DVD from A&E.