Here is the Part 3 of my recent roadtrip to America. This blog post is just on Alcatraz Island, an infamous and yet very popular former prison landmark in San Francisco. To this day, Alcatraz is best known as one of the world's most legendary prisons. If you have a chance to visit San Francisco, you must go and experience the beauty, history and infamy of Alcatraz on the San Francisco Bay. You'll be astounded by what you learn and see. Today Alcatraz swarms with tourists - about a million a year!!
Alcatraz Island is an island located in the San Francisco Bay. Often referred to as "The Rock", the small island was developed with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fortification and a military prison in the 1960s.
Reached the island by ferry ride from Pier 33, near Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. The ferry across the San Francisco Bay takes about 10 minutes. Alcatraz has been featured in many movies, TV shows, cartoons, books, comics, and games.
Many people, though, are unaware of the wealth of other stories to be learned on the island. Alcatraz is now home to rare flowers and plants, marine wildlife, and thousands of roosting and nesting sea birds. Civil War-era buildings dotting the island give insight into the 19th century when the island served as both a harbor defense fort and a military prison.
Due to its isolation from the outside by the cold, strong, hazardous currents of the waters of San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz was used to house Civil War prisoners as early as 1860s.
Alcatraz was really interesting. Visitors will have audio guides that lead us around the cellblock, and walk around the grounds. During the tour, you will hear stories from former inmates and prison guards as you walk through the cellblock. You'll hear chilling accounts of harrowing escape attempts by Alcatraz's notorious criminals, as well as their descriptions of brutality of life on the island. I learnt all about the infamous prisoners (like Al Capone) and some of the escape attempts by the prisoners.
Some of you may know that Alcatraz Island has appeared many times in popular culture, most notably "The Rock" movie, a 1996 movie starring Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage. I watched that movie in my schooldays and i remember its appeal as a film setting derives from its isolation and its history as a prison from which, officially, no prisoner ever successfully escaped.
I think everyone would enjoy Alcatraz but more so if you have seen the movies so you can judge for yourself if they actually made it across the bay with its strong currents.
So for those who plan to visit Alcatraz Island, i strongly suggest that you watch the movies featuring this historic prison first!! :-)
Ferries depart approximately every half-hour back to San Francisco. We got some great views on the ferry going back to San Francisco from Alcatraz Island. That's bonus with good view of San Francisco and golden gate bridge on the boat ride over.
The visit to this infamous and yet popular Alcatraz Island was so AWESOME. With all the history, its a must-see place when you visit San Francisco.
No trip to San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf is complete without a trip to Alcatraz Island. From the many vantage points along the piers at The Wharf, you’ll be able to see some remarkable views of this 22 acre island.
My advice: Alcatraz Island is one of San Francisco's most popular attractions and tours frequently sell out a week or more in advance. Tickets are rarely available for same-day sailings, so plan ahead!
I am so glad that i made it to this historic prison finally, after all what i have watched, read and learnt about this place since young from movies and books etc. I don't think I would take the time to do it again but sure glad I did it once! :-)
A Roadtrip to America - Part 4 - To be continued....
A freelance Singapore-based travel photographer / photojournalist. I seek the extraordinary, but finds beauty in the everyday. Life is interesting, capture it.
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