Alcatraz Island

Before Alcatraz began operation as a federal prison in 1934 hosting residence to the likes of Al Capone and Robert Stroud (The Birdman of Alcatraz) it was a harbor defense post and military prison back in the nineteenth century. The lighthouse went into operation in 1954 and was the first American lighthouse in operation on the West Coast. It can be seen from 18 miles out to sea. Alcatraz was closed as a federal prison in 1963 when it became the site for an Indian protest movement. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area took over maintaining and preserving the island later on and reopened it as a park in 1973.
It is owned by the Federal Government and as a result is required to be maintained as is.

There have been various proposals to take down the prison and build hotels, spas and shopping complexes on the island but all of these proposals have been rejected by the government.
In 1973, the year it re-opened as a park and sight seeing attraction it hosted over fifty thousand visitors. From then on it has attracted over one million tourists each year. It is home to exotic plant and flower species as well as marine wildlife and various seabirds.

There are four tours available each day. There is the early bird tour which is perfect if you want to avoid all the crowds especially during the Summer months. There is also the day tour, the night tour and the Alcatraz with Angel Island tour. If you are traveling to San Francisco and plan on a cruise to Alcatraz it is better if you buy your tickets in advance, as the tours fill up quickly. You can find out more information including ticket prices and tours on the official Alcatraz website.


Icy BC said…
I have been in San Francisco twice, and have missed the Alcatraz both times. It is one of interesting places that I must see if given a chance..
Icy, it is really cool to see, especially the night tour though it can be a little spooky :)
Ashley said…
I agree, taking the tour of Alcatraz is definitely worth it! Great images and information.
WillOaks Studio said…
Ohhh! I did that tour in 1977, straight out of undergrad school because I did an art workshop there in S.F. I got amazing black and white photos of that eerie place (it was a misty, cloudy morning) and the tour was so memorable!
rainfield61 said…
Alcatraz Island and its prison is well known to me. Seems like it is beautiful enough to be a tourist center.
betchai said…
hi Jo, know what? for the 2 times i went to SF i ran out of luck going to Alcatraz, tickets were sold out, next time we go there, I guess I had to reserve online several days ahead.
Ashley, it really is cool.

WillOaks, you must have some fantastic shots. It can be eerie, especially at night.

rainfield, It is beautiful on the outside with all the flowers, foliage and seabirds.

betchai, it's so popular now that you have to get tickets at least a week in advance.
Dr. Lauren said…
It's just so eery, I would love to go.
Ratty said…
Tours of this place are the best thing in my opinion. This is the most famous prison in the world, so it should be remembered for what it has been for so long. A true historical monument.
Ayie said…
we still plan to go to alcatraz island, I haven't been there before. When do you think is the best season to go there?
Dr. Lauren, it is a bit eerie and creepy but a must if you are here.

Ratty, Exactly and I hope it stays that way. There are always people trying to build something on the land etc... but in order to do that they need federal approval which I don't think they will ever receive.

Ayie, The best time to visit here is basically now through the end of October. There are lass tourists and the weather is nice. You would need to buy tickets in advance however.

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