San Francisco, Alcatraz

When Jackson panned our trip for July 2015, we had a long list of things we wanted to do, places we wanted to see but it was all loosely planned. The one thing we had scheduled was Alcatraz as it's something that must be planned and tickets purchased in advance. We made arrangements to leave Reese to stay at the house with Jackson's mom so this was our first date while on vacation.

I know I said before that even in July you need a sweater, umm, go ahead and add ear muffs and gloves...and perhaps a snow suit. IT'S COLD and the wind is worse on the boat and walking around the outskirts of the island.

Once we got on the island, in his best Sean Connery accent, "Welcome to the rock." said our tour guide as they took us all by force and led us into the escape hatches and tunnels underground till we emerged in a jail cell.....Okay, so none of that happened, but I sure wish it did because the actual tour guide was quite annoying and made us all stay in one spot to listen to her new single, The Rules of Alcatraz singing to the tune of Adele's Rolling In the Deep. This is where the ear muffs come in real handy. 

Moving on!

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The audio tour. You get a set of headphones and a prerecorded tour taking you from room to room with narrations from the guards and prisoners who stayed at Alcatraz before it closed. The in-depth descriptions of what took place like the infamous escape from Alcatraz that inspired the movie, Escape From Alcatraz, makes you feel like you were there. Spoons, man. Spoons!

You can hear the cell doors closing, walk into solitary confinement, sit where family and friends sat to speak with prisoners, and walk through the open spaces that were once active. They also take you through a room of portraits of Wardens of the past and speak individually of each one. The guards talk about what its like working there. Many of them would leave to go party on the main land once their shift was over but were stationed with bedrooms in their own building on the island. The Wardens quarters have now crumbed and only a few partial walls remain.

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The gift shop at the end of the tour is definitely worth checking out as well. We got some goodies for the kids and I got a book. Turns out the day we were there, Inmate William G. Baker was doing a book signing of his book, Alcatraz #1259

William G. Baker, former inmate at Alcatraz

William G. Baker, former inmate at Alcatraz

If you have the chance to check out Alcatraz, I highly recommend it. Just make sure you plan in advance. Comment below if you have any stories of Alcatraz that you'd like to share. If you enjoyed this blog post, click on the social icons below to share with friends.