Tour Of Alcatraz Island Prison in San Francisco
Taking a tour of Alcatraz Island Prison definitely should be included in your travel plans when visiting beautiful San Francisco, California. If you’re looking for some popular San Francisco Attractions, then a Tour of Alcatraz Island should certainly be at the top of your To Do list! This mysterious and world renowned historical landmark looming in the San Francisco Bay, is definitely a major attraction in the city!
Alcatraz Islands history takes you back in time when it served as a Maximum Security Federal Penitentiary during the days of Al Capone and the Birdman of Alcatraz .
Check out this short, but informative and entertaining video on the History of Alcatraz Island.
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Take an Historic Tour of Alcatraz Island Prison
If yo’re looking for a complete tour of Alcatraz, they run continuous throughout the year and reservations are strongly recommended. This is especially true during the high season or summer months. Trust me, get your tickets early or you may have a tough time getting a tour date to suit you!
Tours Depart from Pier 33
I have included a handy website link below for Alcatraz Cruises for your convenience. Here you can get complete details on tour reservations, schedules, prices and much more.
Step Back in Time as You Walk Around Alcatraz Prison
Old Alcatraz Prison Photo
Take a step back in time as you stroll along one of the United States most fascinating National Park Sites. It’s an amazing experience as you begin your walk on the islands grounds.
Alcatraz Prison Tour Length
You should allow at least 2 ½ hours for the cruise to the island, taking the Cell House Audio Tour, exploring the rest of the island and its historic exhibits, and then the boat cruise back to the City. Feel free to stay on Alcatraz as long as you wish. 🙂
Making Our Way Out to Alcatraz
Departures back to Pier 33, Alcatraz Landing are about every 30 minutes. Be sure to check for last departure times back to the mainland. A favorite part of the tour is the Audio portion. This is an award winning 45 minute self – guided tour throughout the grounds. The audio tour literally takes you back in time, with commentary from former inmates, correctional officers and island residents, along with realistic audio backdrop sounds, to heighten the realistic experience!
I strongly recommend the audio tour experience when visiting this mysterious island.
Top 10 Questions Asked of Visitors to Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Inmates Historic Photo
Here are some interesting Alcatraz Island History questions most asked of the National Park Service of those people embarking on a tour, I thought were quite interesting and worth passing on to you.
1) When and why did the prison close?
The last inmate left the island in March of 1963, as a result of deteriorating conditions, high operating costs, punishment to rehabilitation changes and other factors.
2) How many prisoners did Alcatraz hold?
The prison was never at full capacity. The average number of prisoners was about 260, the highest recorded was 320.
3) How many cells are there?
There are 4 cell blocks in the prison. A thru D. B and C blocks have 336 cells for general population. D block was kept for “unruly inmates” with 42 cells.
4) Which cells did Al Capone and Robert “Birdman” Stroud occupy?
Prisoners were often moved around from cell to cell during their stay at Alcatraz. Capone was no exception and also spent a little time in D block for fighting. ‘Stroud’ was mostly in D block and then transferred to a hospital wing on site.
5) How many correctional officers worked on the Island?
90 officers for 3 shifts for the most part and then reduced in 1950 for budget cuts.
Alcatraz Prison Cells
6) Where did the officers live?
Many lived on the island as well as off. Building 64 included a number of apartments , as well 3 apartment buildings, 4 separate homes and a duplex. The warden lived in a large separate home near the prison building.
7) Did anyone ever escape?
In the 29 years as a federal prison, 36 prisoners tried to escape from the “Rock”. All but 5 were recaptured or unaccounted for. The unaccounted made for the movie ‘Escape from Alcatraz’, starring Clint Eastwood.
8) Does Alcatraz have a Gas Chamber?
No. Federal executions were carried mostly on the mainland at San Quentin State Prison.
9) How many prisoners died on Alcatraz?
8 inmates were murdered, 5 suicides and 15 of natural causes.
10) Does the Federal Government plan to re-open Alcatraz as a prison?
Alcatraz Island Prison Is a National Historic Park Site
Just a very brief look at the infamous “ Rock ” or Alcatraz Island National Park. The Alcatraz tour is simply a must do on your list of things to see and do while visiting San Francisco. The spectacular view when crossing to the Island of the City of San Francisco and the Bay is worth the price of admission alone! 😉
Alcatraz is now a part of the National Park Service and will remain this way for the distant future. Be sure to view some more of our Alcatraz Island Prison Photos taken while on our tour and while enjoying our wonderful vacation in San Francisco!
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Did You Know …
“Alcatraz was named after sea birds.”