I thought my stay at the Hollywood Tower Hotel in Orlando, Florida was bad. That was before I went to Alcatraz which at one point was home to some of history’s most notorious criminals, including Al Capone. I’ve always wanted to visit the Rock but it was sold out the last two times I visited San Francisco. This time I found availability because it was the middle of the first week of November. The cost was $37 for the tour and $20 for the souvenir photo.
I walked from the Hyatt Centric Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco to catch the quick ferry ride to Alcatraz. This is a nice way to see Fisherman’s Wharf including the fat seagulls, the noisy sea lions, and the Golden Gate Bridge.
The Ferry Ride
By far the best pictures of the Rock and San Francisco were taken from the ferry.
Upon arriving, there was a welcome speech to the group. After that, I went up the hill to begin the tour of the prison. As part of the cost of admission, each guest receives a set of headphones for an audio tour. Usually, I would pass, but this time I’m glad I did not. I learned quite a bit about Alcatraz from listening while still being able to explore the facility on my own.
Some interesting facts:
- The families of prison workers lived on the island. The kids would commute to school by boat.
- During New Years, the prisoners could hear the party from San Francisco.
- While most people have seen The Rock, Steven Seagal and Ja Rule have a movie that takes place on Alcatraz.
As Americans, we take many of the tourist attractions in our home for granted. Alcatraz is a must see for Americans and global travelers alike.