Authors Note: Warning – Another great “tourist day” with lots of pictures … as a matter-of-fact I had to split Sunday up into two separate posts to accommodate all the pics. This is post 1 of 2.
We got up early (Sunday) to make sure we made it to San Francisco’s Pier 33 in time for our 10 AM ferry ride to Alcatraz. We gave ourselves a 2 -1/2 hour headstart in case we had trouble finding a parking spot. We left little “Coach” in the Coach for the day.
It was wet and drizzling by the time we completed the ~50 mile trip. We arrived with only a half hour to 45 minute cushion to board our ferry. We found a covered parking area just a block away from the pier but saw it was an outrageous $30 per day (Weekend Rate). So we drove around to find a cheaper parking lot. We found another lot that was farther away, but it was also $30 per day because we were “over-sized” per the attendant… so we went back to the first parking area and grudgingly paid the fee 🙁
We parked and made the short walk to the pier to pick up our tickets at ‘Will-Call’ that we had reserved before we left my brother’s house in Westley, CA last Thursday. The tickets for the tour were $31 per person.
I took pictures of the informational placards on the pier as we waited to board the ferry:
And here comes our ferry (below). We boarded and found a seat inside to stay dry.
Our first views of the Golden Gate Bridge. The clouds receded a bit and it quit drizzling. It looks like we got lucky for once with the weather 🙂
Our first view of “The Rock”.
Looking back at the San Francisco skyline.
Here’s a little history of Alcatraz Island that was posted on the wall in the ferry.
And here’s some info on the ferry itself that was displayed on the flat-screen TV.
We pulled into the dock and disembarked. The ferry ride was short and smooth. We were also able to get a quick breakfast onboard to help fuel our day.
Once on the island, we listened to a park ranger give us safety instructions and an introduction to the island. Then we headed over to the nearby theater for a short film.
There were several screens playing the film at the same time in order to accommodate large crowds.
Then we toured the lower part of the old fort. Learn more about that by clicking HERE.
This room (below) had information on the American Indian occupation of Alcatraz in the late ’60s to early ’70s. Click HERE for more information from Wikipedia® on that.
After touring the lower portion of the island, we walked up the walkway(s) to the main cell block building.
I have no idea what significance the old truck (below) has on the island of Alcatraz – but you know me… I just had to take a picture 🙂
View up to the main cell block building as we walked up the pathway.
The officers’ club is in need of serious repairs.
A lot of the old walkways and stairs were closed for safety reasons.
Many areas of the prison are in dire need of repairs:
View back down towards the dock (below) after we walked up the pathway to the upper levels and main cell block.
Once inside the main building we viewed the clothing and bedding issue area.
The communal showers.
And here’s where we got our headpieces and started the audio-tour (below). Follow along on our audio-tour with these silent pictures: 😉
Typical cell block with a copy of the stringent ‘Rules & Regulations’ booklet on the table.
We toured the cell blocks and listened to some of the inmates’ stories on our headphones.
We walked out into the recreation yard.
View of the Recreation Yard with Stilla in the foreground.
We took the steps back up to the cell blocks from the Recreation Yard for more audio-tour.
The infamous “D” Block – solitary confinement.
The prison library.
Cell re-creations with authentic personal items:
The Administrative area of the main cell block:
Check out the old ‘period-correct’ office equipment, i.e., phone, rolodex, typewriter, fan, etc.,
The visitation area.
Front door to the Admin area. This is where you had to go if you wanted to visit with an inmate.
Informational placard and island model in the administrative area:
Then the audio-tour talked us through the 1962 escape from Alcatraz… click HERE for more info on this infamous event.
The Anglin brothers’ cells (below).
More cell block pics:
How did she get out? 🙂
Entrance to the dining hall.
More dining hall pics:
View from dining hall window.
We finished the audio portion of the tour and headed down the stairs…
to turn in our headphones.
And of course, the exit goes through the Museum Store.
We went back outside the main cell block building after getting through the gift shop and wandered around the grounds:
I think this was the old Warden’s building:
The old lighthouse.
The old parade grounds:
Walkway down to the west side gardens.
A couple nice views of the Golden Gate Bridge. The sun peeked out a few times during our time on the island. No rain at all 🙂
The stairs (below) go up to the Recreation Yard.
Another Golden Gate Bridge picture with sailboat.
Dilapidated guard tower on the corner of the Recreation Yard.
View of the old lighthouse as we came back up the path from the gardens.
I zoomed in on the San Francisco skyline from the southwest-side of the island. I thought these pics came out pretty good:
We gathered back down at the dock with the other tourists and waited for the next ferry. They run every 30 minutes.
We were herded back onto the ferry for our return trip to Pier 33.
Sign near the dock:
The island receded into the distance as we cruised back to the mainland:
Views coming back into port:
After we got off the ferry, we went to check out the picture they took of us as we boarded earlier in the day. Everyone’s picture was posted in order of departure time:
We decided to buy the cheapest photo package ($20) for a 6 X 8 in a frame:
Stock photo of the dock on Alcatraz (below) was provided with our picture (above).
We were hungry after our long walking tour, so we walked into the Alcatraz Landing Cafe that was located right next to the loading area on Pier 33.
We shared our lunch with a couple pigeons that seemed to be at home on the floor of the Cafe.
Hope you enjoyed our tour of Alcatraz Island. We thought it was great! It was well worth the $31 pp fee, I just wish parking in the area was more reasonable.
After our quick lunch at Alcatraz Landing Cafe, we decided to check out some more of the area, i.e., Fort Point and the Golden Gate Bridge. Check my next post for a recap of those attractions. We also had a dinner date with my cousins and Aunt Donna later in the evening. I’ll try to get it posted asap…