San Francisco - Alcatratz Island

San Francisco - Alcatratz Island

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San Francisco offers its visitors plenty of options regarding things to see and do while in town. One site that really should not be missed while in the San Francisco area is the Alcatraz island that is steeped in fascinating history and legend.

Overview of Alcatraz

Tourists to San Francisco can take a step into history and visit the remains of the famous prison at Alcatraz. This site has acted as a fort and a military jail and then was occupied by American Indians in 1969 following the closure of the prison. Between the years of 1934 and 1963, Alcatraz acted as a prison. This prison is renowned around the world and has been the subject of a famous movie. However, although this aspect of Alcatraz is undoubtedly the most well-known, this island has more to offer. A factor that often surprises visitors to Alcatraz is that the island now hosts plants and flowers, birds and sea animals. Also considered today as a bird sanctuary, Alcatraz hosts thousands of seabirds, the most common of them being the Western gull and the Brandt's Comorant.

Visits to Alcatraz

Access to Alcatraz for visitors is enabled via a ferry trip across to the island. Tickets need to be purchased for the ferry ride from Alcatraz Cruises and then the ferry itself departs from Pier 33.

For the convenience of visitors, there is a choice of ferry trips that leave at different times of the day. There is an early bird tour that leaves at 9am and in most cases allows visitors to beat the rush. Day tours leave several times during the morning and afternoon, while an attractive night tour offers magnificent sunset views of San Francisco.

A guide brochure for Alcatraz is available at the dock in different languages and at a charge of $1. It is worthwhile noting that the island itself is hilly and visitors should be prepared for a steep walk. There is a shuttle service from the dock to the prison and is intended for visitors with restricted mobility. It should be taken into consideration that there are no food arrangements or services on the island itself.

Tourists planning to visit Alcatraz should probably allow around half a day for this fascinating location. This is a very popular attraction for travellers to San Francisco and it is therefore highly recommended to purchase tickets in advance in order to avoid disappointment.

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