All Information about San Francisco
Alcatraz Island is one of the most popular attractions in San Francisco. The island is located 1.5 miles from the shores of San Francisco and is the site of the famous penitentiary prison where were held some of the country's mostnotorious criminals such as Al Capone.
Alcatraz Islandwhich was declared as a National Historic Landmark in 1986 has a rich and colorful history which has made it one of the most interesting places to visit in San Francisco. The islandwas first discovered by Spanish explorer, Juan Manuel Ayala in 1775. He named the island, "La Isla de los Alcatraces," after the great number of pelicans on the island.
During the 19th Century, the island was used to detain Civil War inmates thanks to its isolation from the mainland, and became a military prison. In 1933 the prison was turned over to the Department of Justice and became a federal prison.During the 29 years that ensued, the prison became one of the most well-known prisons in the country with prisoners such as Robert Franklin Shroud, also known as the birdman of Alcatraz, George Machine Gun Kelly, and of course Al Capone.
The Alcatraz Prison claims that no prisoner ever successfully escaped from there, although 36 inmates tried to escape 14 times. Most of them were caught; others were shot and killed during their escape while the rest died at sea. The penitentiary cost a lot to operate and many San Francisco residents were complaining about the sewage waste in the waters from the prison, therefore Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy ordered it to close in 1963.
In 1969, Alcatraz made headlines for another reason beside its famous prison; but because a number of American Indian students called the United Tribes of All Indians took over the island as a protest federal policies about their community. The occupation lasted two years and attracted many other Native American groups around the country. The government responded to many of the group's demands which inspired many other Native American movements in years to come. Throughout the two years, many buildings on the island were destroyed, and remnants can be seen to this day.
Over a million people make the trip from San Francisco to Alcatraz Island. If you want to visit it, then you should know that all access to the island is conducted through the private ferry company, Alcatraz Cruises LLC. Note that places get filled up quickly so you should always book your tickets a few days to a week in advance to guarantee a spot. This is especially true during the summer season. Tickets can be purchased through the Alcatraz Cruises website.
You can visit Alcatraz Island during the day or night. During the day, you will be able to explore the island mostly on your own thanks to a self-guided audio tour. Allow at least two to three hours to visit everything. Once on the island you can take as much or as little time as you want and ferries depart back to San Francisco every half an hour. Tickets for day tours cost $26 for adults, $24.50 for seniors and $16 for children from 5 to 11.If you plan on going as a family, save some cash by getting family tickets which cost $79 for two adults and two children.
At night, there are guided tours that provide a lot of information regarding the island's history. Night tours cost $33 for adults, $30.50 for seniors and $19.50 for children. Evening tours can also include Angel Island, and tickets cost $58 for adults, $56.50 for seniors and $40 for children. The first tour departs at 9:10 am and the last ferry comes back at 9:45 pm.
Alcatraz Island is located off Pier 33 in San Francisco.