I felt like a tourist again after living in San Francisco for over a year by finally paying the very reasonable $26 for the ten-minute ferry ride and all-access tour and exploration of Alcatraz Island. Complimented by some of the most gorgeous weather I’ve ever experienced in the city, four friends and I all woke up early to make the 10:30 AM ferry to the 12 acre island that once housed some of the most dangerous American criminals in history.
I learned an abundant amount of new information while touring the island. When you first arrive on the island there is an 18-minute documentary made by the Discovery Channel with a brief history about the evolution and ultimate demise of Alcatraz Island. Did you know that there was a separate building on the island that housed over sixty of the officer’s families? They all had their own garden and playing field for the children who went to school by ferry every day.
Quite possibly one of the funniest experiences I had was while approaching the Morgue of the prison. A little kid, no older than 7 years old, asked me what a morgue was. Without even giving it a second thought or even making eye contact with him, and while surrounded by parents and other little kids, I simply replied: “A morgue is a place where they take dead people and cut them open so people can know how they died.” Granted a true sentence, and not exactly overly morbid, the tone and impact of my voice was priceless… you had to have been there and I kick myself in the ass for not having my video camera running when I said that. I can’t recreate that moment and that sucks!
After about 4 hours on the island, my friends and I returned convinced that the best time to return to Alcatraz Island would be on Halloween at night while dressed in Alcatraz inmate jumpsuits that they sell in the gift shop and in shops all around Downtown and Embarcadero Street. I highly recommend visiting Alcatraz Island to everyone regardless of age. Trust me, there’s something for everyone there. I wonder if they’ll ever re-open the prison one day. Either way… here’s what I would sort of look like as an inmate.