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Alcatraz Tours
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Alcatraz Island Information

Alcatraz Tours

Out in the middle of the San Francisco Bay, the island of Alcatraz is a world unto itself. Isolation, one of the constants of island life for any inhabitant - soldier, guard, prisoner, Indian, bird or plant - is a recurrent theme in the unfolding history of Alcatraz.

Alcatraz Island is one of Golden Gate National Recreation Area's most popular destinations, offering a close-up look at a historic and infamous federal prison long off-limits to the public. Visitors to the island cannot only explore the remnants of the prison, but can also learn about the Indian occupation of 1969 - 1971, early military fortifications (the first U.S. fort on the coast), and the West Coast's first (and oldest operating) lighthouse. These structures and the island's many natural features - gardens, tide pools, bird colonies, and bay views beyond compare - are being preserved by the National Park Service which is working to make it accessible to visitors, preserve its buildings, protect its birds and other wildlife, and interpret its history.
Alcatraz Tours
Some sections of Alcatraz are unsafe to visit. Areas closed to the public are well marked by fences or barricades. Collecting of any sort is prohibited. Plant and animal life are protected by law - DO NOT feed birds on Alcatraz.

The distance from the dock to the cell house at the top of the island is about 1/4 mile, the elevation change is 130 feet (equivalent to a thirteen story climb). Visitors unable to make the climb up Alcatraz's steep road may take advantage of SEAT - Sustainable Easy Access Transport, an electric shuttle which runs once an hour from the dock to the cell house, and once an hour from the cell house to the dock.

No food service is available on Alcatraz, however there is a picnic area located at the dock. Food, drinks and smoking are only allowed on the dock. (An exception is bottled water, which is available in the bookstore on the dock on Alcatraz.)

INTERPRETIVE PROGRAMS
Outdoor interpretive walks are offered throughout the day by NPS rangers and volunteers highlighting a variety of topics including military history, famous inmates, escapes, natural history and the Indian occupation. Program titles and locations are posted on the dock and in the cell house.

SELF-GUIDED TOUR
Enjoy the history of Alcatraz at your own pace with this map and written guide. Pick up the Self Guide brochure in English, Spanish, Italian, Spanish, German or Japanese at the dock for $1.00 per copy. A companion brochure on escapes is available in the bookstore near the dock or in the cell house.

ORIENTATION VIDEO
Attend a 14-minute video presentation of the Island's 200 year history - an excellent introduction to Alcatraz. The theater is 50 yards up the road from the dock. For hearing impaired visitors, the video is captioned.

EXHIBITS
Several exhibits are located behind the theater, they present the various periods of Alcatraz's history, including the U.S. penitentiary (1934-1963), and the military history (1850-1933). A new award winning video (captioned) exhibit, "We Hold the Rock", presents the story of the occupation by Indians of All Tribes (1969-1971).

CELLHOUSE RECORDED TOUR
Join former Alcatraz inmates and correctional officers as they remember life on Alcatraz in this award winning 35-minute recorded tour. Pick up (rent) the tour inside the cell house. Available in English, Spanish, Italian, German, Japanese, and French.

BOOKSTORES
Memorabilia, film, videos, and books about the Island's rich history are available for sale at the bookstores near the dock and in the cell house.

Alcatraz Tours

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Double-Decker Tour + Alcatraz Island
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San Francisco Information
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