No trip to San Francisco would be complete without a visit to the wonderful Alcatraz islands! The Alcatraz Island in San Francisco has played a vital role in the history of US. It is located in the middle of San Francisco Bay in California. Listed as a historic landmark, Alcatraz was formerly used as a military stockade and later as a maximum-security prison. Popularized by the Hollywood Movie the Rock (1996 cast -Nicolas Cage, Sean Connery and Ed Harris) today the island is a historic site supervised by the National Park Services as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation and is open for tourists. Find out about Alcatraz tours and how you can procure tickets ...
Take either a day tour or evening tour of Alcatraz Island. You can book your Alcatraz tour tickets prior to your day of visit to avoid delays and make for a memorable experience. The ferry ride will take you across to the Alcatraz Island. Soak in the spectacular view of the Bay area and the Golden Gate from the Agave trail. A walking tour of the Alcatraz will lead you through the protected bird sanctuary within the National Park. The night tour of Alcatraz can give you the eerie feeling of this dark and dank prison. This unique program is restricted to a few hundred visitors every evening.
Those who are unable to walk the steep and uneven pavement leading to the Alcatraz Cell House can avail of SEAT - Sustainable Easy Access Transport. Alcatraz tickets are best bought in advance. You can buy them online or at Fisherman's wharf. The ticket for the day tour of the Alcatraz costs $16 for adults. You can choose to avail of the Audio tour too. Tickets for children and senior persons are available for less.
The history of the Alcatraz can be traced to 1775 when the Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala named this tiny island as La Isla de los Alcatraces (Land of the Pelicans). This rocky and rough terrain was worked upon by U.S. Army engineers in 1853 to make it a military fortress. This led to the construction of the Alcatraz prison - with long range iron cannons and Rodman guns. But after a few years, its importance as a military fortress reduced considerably. It then became an ideal location to house law offending soldiers. Alcatraz prison was the army's first long-term prison and became a formidable detention facility. Hardcore criminals were housed at the Alcatraz prison in cramped cells under regimented and tough disciplinary conditions. The Alcatraz island is also home to one of the oldest operating lighthouse on the West Coast of the United. Visitors to the island cannot only explore the remnants of the prison, but can also learn about the Indian Occupation of 1969-1971.
The Alcatraz Island of San Francisco became a federal prison in 1934. This famous prison has held notable criminals such as Al Capone, Robert Franklin Stroud, Birdman of Alcatraz and Alvin Karpis, who served more time at Alcatraz than any other inmate. The prison was closed because it was far more expensive to operate than other prisons of the time. The penitentiary has never logged any official successful escapees and in all attempts escapees were either shot dead or believed to be drowned in the freezing San Francisco Bay waters.