Alcatraz Island, located in the San Francisco Bay, is not only a prison but it is now a National Park.
Before it was a prison, Alcatraz was a fort called Fort Alcatraz in the Civil War not only to defend the gold but to keep out Confederates. Alcatraz was set as a prison in the year 1934. In 1963 it was shut down and became a Native American Reservation.
Alcatraz is Spanish for pelican and is also nicknamed the rock for being such a rocky island. Alcatraz is home to over 50 species of different birds and has a lot of wildlife. When Alcatraz was a prison it had a whole community with a few hundred people in it. The island was home to mostly the jailers or guard’s families. Research shows that the families said it was like living in a town with a bad neighborhood.
My family and I went to Alcatraz Island in November. What you have to do is take a ferry to the island then explore it and leave when you want. On the island there are nature trails with vast amounts of birds and plants. If you look close enough you may even see a fish or a shark because there are five species of shark in San Francisco Bay.
There are also walks through the remains of the fort and school house and the main attraction – the cell house. In the cell house there is a 45 minute audio tour that takes you through the entire cell house and gives you a brief history of the place, including attempted escapes, battles, and voices from the guards and the inmates. I highly recommend the tour because it is an easy fun way to learn about the prison.
I give Alcatraz Island 4 out of 5 stars because it was very cool to see the island in person and feel the history that was there. I would give it 5 stars but the tour was very expensive and there is no parking at the ferry; there is only parking garages and street parking a little ways away.