Though I have lived in California my whole life, I vaguely remember my parents taking me and my brother to Alcatraz once when we were very young. I have failed to find any photographs from this visit, so I might be making it up. Mary also lived in San Francisco for years and failed to take the trip. We finally made it last month. Here is what we saw.
Alcatraz is as popular as ever and maybe even more so. If you go, get a reservation on the first boat out. It will be early, cold, and probably foggy, but well worth it, once you get on site.
It’s a short walk up the hill to the main building. They funnel you through a set tour using recorded tour guides. It is very well done and organized as best as possible with the hordes of people there.
One eerie aspect is how quiet it is. Since everyone has on headphones and are listening to the audio tour, almost no one is talking. Take off your headphones and just listen to the silence and the soft noises of people shuffling through the prison.
Also, make sure you go outside to get spectacular views of the city.
Mary and I carried our Sony and Canon point and shoots, which worked out well for the walking tour and shots outside.
I would plan on half a day given the drive/park or walk to the pier, the tour, the boat ride to and from. We went on the first boat out at 8 AM and were back in time for a nice lunch at the Fog City Diner across from the pier. Have fun.
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