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Good For Kids
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Alcatraz Island is the island with the white building on the hill. The larger island in the distance is Angel Island.
Closest available address
Address for the ferry is Pier 33, San Francisco, CA 94111
Park opens at 9:00am. Last day tour returns at 6:10pm. Last night tour returns at 9:25pm.
Best time to visit
Alcatraz Island is a 22 acre improved island in San Francisco Bay. It has a long history of occupation beginning as a US military base and later as a federal penitentiary. The island, which is accessible from San Francisco via a short ferry, is now an extremely popular tourist attraction.
Alcatraz was once an uninhabited island covered by sparse vegetation. In the 1850s the military built a fort on it to defend the city of San Francisco. Civil War prisoners were kept on the island. Modernization and expansion took place over time and the focus shifted from defense to incarceration. A federal prison was established in 1934. Incorrigible prisoners were then brought to Alcatraz and several escape attempts took place. The prison was closed in 1963 due to its age and cost. After the US abandoned the facility, Indian protestors seeking recognition and rights briefly occupied it in 1969. Alcatraz became a park in 1972.
A park ranger meets each new tour group at the island dock and provides an overview of Alcatraz. There is an orientation film as well. The old penitentiary is interesting and is the main attraction here. It is located at the top of a moderately sized hill. An audio player is included in the price of the ferry ticket and it significantly improves the jail tour which takes an hour. Other parts of the island are less accessible; most of the historic buildings are gone or in ruins. The island gardens have been restored, and spring is a good time to see the flowers. This is a useful link
. Buy a ferry ticket in advance because they often sell out. The ferry website is at
. Alcatraz will have wide appeal both for its scenery and distinctiveness.
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Angel Island State Park
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9/12/2012 6:10:04 AM
Good tour....I will never forget being locked in solitary confinement
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