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Daytripper: Travel to past in thrilling San Francisco Dungeon tour

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Posted: Monday, March 13, 2017 8:00 am

This spring break, make an exhilarating escape at the San Francisco Dungeon.

The dungeon is a first-of-its-kind attraction for North America, providing a 60-minute, live-action journey through 200 years’ worth of the Bay Area’s most riveting — and sinister — history.

Located in Fisherman’s Wharf, the experience begins with a suspense-filled descent in a rickety mine-shaft elevator to a realm where theatrical actors, captivating storytelling, special effects and spectacular stages offer up a dark, atmospheric — and often hilarious — interpretation of the city’s deepest, darkest historical moments.

From the Gold Rush to the Chinatown Plague to Alcatraz, interact with 10 distinct shows inspired by actual events from the city’s history. As visitors pass from one show to the next, professional actors transform into various shady characters such as Sam Roberts, the leader of the Gangs of San Francisco, or infamous bar owner and “crimper” Miss Piggott and her partner-in-crime, Shanghai Kelly.

Highlights include:

The Descent: Begin the journey in an old mine shaft elevator, complete with creaking floors and rattling chains, all while trying to suppress a creeping sense of dread. All seems well — or does it? — when colorful showman Jack greets visitors upon arrival at the bottom.

Gold Rush Greed: Meet the spectral incarnation of Father Francisco Palou, who expounds upon the sinful antics of gamblers, harlots and corrupt politicians who defiled the once-peaceful lands.

Lost Mines of Sutter’s Mill: Enter this disorienting maze of a mine, where the first traces of gold were discovered, at your peril. Recommended only for those with a keen sense of direction.

Gangs of San Francisco: An encounter with Sam Roberts, the leader of the Hounds, just might leave you poorer than when you came — unless you’re careful. Extortion and particularly painful means of persuasion were this gang’s calling cards.

The Court Room of San Francisco: Crime and punishment in old-time San Francisco comes to life in Judge Alcalde Meade’s court room, where you might wind up accused and convicted of hilarious “crimes.”

Miss Piggott’s Saloon: That creepy-crawly sensation you feel when sitting down for a drink in this joint is no joke. Be wary of drinking just anything Miss Piggott offers, or you might be shanghaied.

Shanghai Kelly: Unsuspecting patrons of Miss Piggott’s soon find they have been sold off to this infamous crimper. Navigate back waterways to meet you fate as a crewman aboard a ship — or worse yet, be declared unfit to work.

Chinatown Plague: Meet the Rat Catcher along the back alleys of 1900 Chinatown, where quarantined streets hide something even more shocking than infected rats and rotting bodies. This cure really might be worse than the disease.

The Ghosts of Alcatraz: In the 1800s, Alcatraz was a brick jailhouse housing the most dangerous military prisoners. This is not a place for the faint of heart.

Escape Alcatraz Drop Ride: Experience Alcatraz’s dark past in San Francisco’s first-ever underground drop ride.

With a full theatrical cast, special effects, gripping storytelling, 360-degree sets, an underground boat ride and the brand new Escape Alcatraz Drop Ride, the San Francisco Dungeon is the ultimate live action journey through the Bay Area’s murky past.

Merlin Entertainments operates the San Francisco Dungeon and 25 other attractions across North America, including two Legoland Resorts, Madame Tussauds in several major U.S. cities, the Mall of America in Minneapolis and others.

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