Alcatraz Night Tour

San Francisco Travel Blog

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My boys. Orange sweatshirt and Brown leather jacket.

I have been to Alcatraz a few times in my years here in California...but I had never taken the night time tour. The night time tour is the last tour ferry of the day. All the other tourists have been removed from the Island, so there are only as many people as take the last tour...or as they can fit on the boat. It is less crowded. Also there are special attractions to being on the evening tour. Parts of the prison that are closed during the regular tour times, are opened.  On this night we were allowed into the hospital ward of the prison.  Not only are the special open areas, but their are tour guides that give special presentations. We listened to a docent talk about the "Birdman of Alcatraz", weirdly enough, he never had any birds while he was there.

Cable Car Turnaround
But he was such a trouble maker that he eventually ended up in his cell in the hospital ward (about 10 times bigger than the usual Alcatraz cell). The docent told us stories about the guys behavior. He said that many of the guards were afraid of him.  That he was so good at manipulating people he caused many fights while at the prison.

One of the coolest parts of the nights was due to my son Brian. He wanted to talk a walk where the guide talked about the structures that were left over from when the Island was a military installation.  While we waited for others interested in the mini tour, Brian started talking to the tour guide (Brian likes to talk). Brian made some observations about the architecture that I had not even noticed (and I like old buildings).

Well I think it was because Brian had impressed the guy, and there were only 6 of us for the tour, but the guide changed what he was going to show us. He took us past a couple barricades and took us to the back side of the Island (where people dont usually get to go). He took us threw a secret tunnel (it is not even on any of the maps of the island that I found) that leads from the old power plant to the industrial building. It was pretty cool.  All in all, it was a pretty cool evening.  If you are thinking about going to Alcatraz while in San Francisco. Plan a head and book tickets for the evening tour.  It has to be done in advance, you can't just get tickets the day you want to go. (My little sister tried)

ShelliAngel78 says:
You need to book tickets at least a week before, I tried about 3 or 4 days before. :-)
Posted on: Mar 31, 2008
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In the morning, my mother, my sister and our assorted kids set off for Chinatown. One of the things the boys wanted to do while in San Francisco was ride the Cable Cars. So, we hoofed it from the hotel down the Embarcadero to the Cable Car turnaround. We hopped on the cable car and started our ride. Now the rule is children are suppose to sit inside. Well it was crowded so my eldest son (13 yrs) had moved to the door way for a bit more room. The brakeman did not say anything. (Kid looked older than 13 in his leather bomber jacket). This did not make his younger brother very happy, as he had to stay inside. To make it worse, but the end of our ride the brakeman had Brian standing on the lower step, holding onto the hang bar.

As Brian and  were talking (yes I had moved outside also), I told him it was similar to when I used to ride the tailboard of the fire engine when I was a volunteer in Orange County. The brakeman over heard us and asked if I was still with the FD, I told him no, I was know a PD dispatcher. He told me I should have told him when we boarded.  FD, PD and Nuns ride public transportation in San Francisco for free. Damn, that would have saved me lunch money!!!

Well, we arrived in Chinatown and we started our wandering around. We visted a lot of little shops while the boys decided how best to spend the money I had given them. My eldest son is into swords and stuff so I knew we would be taking home a wooden sword.  My youngest son picked out a very pretty silk fan to hang up on his wall. They were both happy with their loot.  So we started back for the hotel. Instead of listening to mom and taking the easier (but longer) route we ended up walking. Yes, all the way back.  A little over a mile and a half.  All up hill (well it seemed like it).

 

My boys. Orange sweatshirt and Bro…
My boys. Orange sweatshirt and Br…
Cable Car Turnaround
Cable Car Turnaround
Typical cell at Alcatraz
Typical cell at Alcatraz
I better never see this scene for …
I better never see this scene for…
I took this picture for my friends…
I took this picture for my friend…
This is the real Birdman. He was a…
This is the real Birdman. He was …
Entry to the tunnel that is not on…
Entry to the tunnel that is not o…
This was the island power plant.
This was the island power plant.
This is the tunnell. The inside wa…
This is the tunnell. The inside w…
Me, my boys and my mother.
Me, my boys and my mother.
Inside the industrial building loo…
Inside the industrial building lo…
You can see some of the original h…
You can see some of the original …
This is the industrial building th…
This is the industrial building t…
The turn around was by Ghirardelli…
The turn around was by Ghirardell…
The cable car is released from the…
The cable car is released from th…