What’s the attraction: Located one and a half miles off the banks of San Francisco lies Alcatraz Island, also known as “The Rock.” The island was a federal prison from 1933-63 and at the end of 1969, it was home to Native American Indians for two years. In 1976, the island was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was then declared a landmark in 1986. It’s now open for tourists to tour and learn about the island’s rich history.
Learn about the prison’s history: To get to the island, there is a ferry that leaves Pier 33 every half hour. While on the ferry, you can take in the view of the Bay and the city while enjoying refreshments that may be purchased on the main deck. Upon arrival at the island, a National Park Service representative provides guests with a brief orientation about the various tours and other information about special activities for the day. Included in the ferry ride ticket is a cellhouse audio tour. The hour and-a-half-long tour features voices of the correctional officers and inmates from the Federal Penitentiary era. While on the tour, you will learn about the famous inmates who were housed there such as Al Capone and Robert Stroud (Birdman). It will also tell about famous events such as escape attempts, food riots and what it was like to live in solitary confinement.
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