Visiting Alcatraz Island, San Francisco is mostly an independently directed experience that you can do however you wish to. National Park Service staff provides various free programs for the duration of the day on an assortment of themes: American Indian occupation, escapes, natural history, military history and so on.
You can remain as long as you wish on the island. The ferry is available and departs in every thirty minutes and return back on any ferry to San Francisco. We recommend three hours at minimum for fully visiting the island.
There are many videos and displays on the island, and also the cell house sound tour which is incorporated into the cost of your ferry ticket.
On landing at Alcatraz dock visitors will be welcomed by a representative who will provide you with a brief introduction including information on any particular activities for the day.
The evening tours vary from daytime tours in a few ways. Evening ferry ride circles the island and Alcatraz’s history is live narrated. Upon entry on the dock, visitors
will get a guided tour to the cell house level and furthermore have the chance to participate in various other special tours, fun activities, and cell door displays all through the night. A few areas open during the daytime will not be open at night because of safety concerns.
For the most part, daytime visits are for the ones who would like to explore on their own and nighttime visits for who prefer a guided experience.
There’s more to see in Alcatraz Island, San Francisco than just the prison and the building.
D Block is the prison’s darkest part, which is also called the hole” by prisoners. Only the most dangerous persons were sent to the D Block. It was the most secure place and was under control throughout the day and night. For the most part, D block was a place to punish undisciplined ones. The D Block’s cells were different.
They were small with no windows or lights and prisoners were to sleep on concrete floor.
The island wasn’t only the prison island. When the high prison maintenance costs couldn’t be afforded they were shut down. The Indians began to live on the island self-sufficing their own independent life. They grew vegetables and thus the vegetable gardens all over the island. Because of these little gardens, we can analyze how Indians survived and what they did to maintain self-sufficient lifestyle. Some of these gardens were devoted to decorative purposes. Those plants still grow now even it’s over a long time since Indians left.
Cells of Refugees
Escape from Alcatraz was legendary. Three prisoners escaped only using spoons and were never seen again. Visitors can take a tour of these famous cells or read about
this famous escape. The cells are furnished and the holes are opened with the fake heads still lying on the bed. For those who have heard and read about the escape, it will be a real treat. Those bank robbers who escaped are still living somewhere in the world. Think about that.
San Francisco Skyline
The panorama everyone keeps talking about is extremely breathtaking. To think of it, prisoners must be actually tortured by the view but the visitors can appreciate
as much as they like. For this, visitors are recommended to visit the island around noon and not during the morning because the morning fog can block the view. This way, you can enjoy the sun as well as appreciate San Francisco’s awesome views. However, keep in mind to bring a warm jacket as the winds go crazy. You can easily spot the Golden Gate Bridge and famous Transamerica Tower from the island as well.
Morgue and Indian’s Sights
There is also an old morgue that was built in 1910. On the record, it was utilized just once, when the dead prisoner’s body was laid for the night. Autopsy table was
never utilized, and now it is covered with moss. After the prison was shut down, what the Indians did as an occupation can still be traced down to numerous things existent on the island. Among them, there is a sign saying “Indians welcome” and there is a water tower, also which has been empty for 50 years. There is no water supply in the island of its own. Hence Indians used to store the fresh water in the water tower which is situated in the northwest part of Alcatraz Island. Moreover, visitors can see the painted sign on the tower which states “Home of the free Indian land”.