Our 13 year old was excited to go to Alcatraz, admittedly I was not. I really did not understand what the appeal of going and looking at a bunch of old jail cells was going to have. Thankfully I was wrong! When you first enter onto Alcatraz Island you have several different locations that you can go to, one of them of course being the prison, but there are other locations that you can go to as well. We tend to forget that Alcatraz wasn't just a prison it was an entire community of people who lived on the island. There are Gardens there that will blow your mind and lots of wildlife to see. The views of the San Francisco Bay and City are absolutely breathtaking too.
Once you enter the actual prison you are given an headset with an audio tour attached. This particular audio tour actually tells you what direction to go in as it navigates you through the different stories of Alcatraz. I have to say I was absolutely fascinated by the history that was explained.im the tour. There were many things that occurred at the prison that I was unaware of including a time when the prisoners actually overthrew the armed guards and had Alcatraz under their control. The the audio tour also points out artifacts that are still visible today and takes you through what the functions of each room in the prison were including the nicknames that the prisoners actually had for certain areas. The entire audio tour only lasts about 45 minutes which is plenty. There is a gift shop on the island as well as multiple areas of restrooms. You are not allowed to bring anything with you excepy a bottle of water which we definitely recommend you take.
Things to know: buy your tickets ahead of time and get there at least half an hour early. On the ferry to the island itself if you are standing outside on the decks you will get wet. The ferrys leave every half hour. You do have to take your scheduled ticket time ferry but on the way back you can jump on any ferry that you want. If you take the actual Alcatraz tour that leaves from Alcatraz Landing there are also a lot of restaurants and quick places to eat nearby. They have an area of tables that have umbrellas over them for shade so it's a perfect spot to just hang out before you get on the ferry.
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