Friday, March 5, 2010

Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay

My wife and I went to San Francisco to visit our daughter and her family. Although we live in Southern California, we are no strangers to the city because it was our port of entry when we came to the US as immigrants, and we stayed here for sometime until we decided to move to Southern California. Our daughter opted to go to law school here, fell in love with the city and after getting her degree, decided to call hilly San Francisco home.

We've been visiting for three days already before we even thought of going out of the house and checking some interesting sights, one of which is Alcatraz Island, a former federal penitentiary. I have been to the island before (not as a prisoner!) but my wife and grandson have not seen the place yet. I thought they'll like it - my grandson did, but my wife is not too thrill visiting an ertswhile prison.

From Wikipedia:

Alcatraz Island is an island located in the San Francisco Bay, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) offshore from San Francisco, California.[1] Often referred to as The Rock, the small island early-on served as a lighthouse, a military fortification, a military prison, and a Federal Bureau of Prisons federal prison until 1963.[2] Later, in 1972, Alcatraz became a national recreation area and received landmarking designations in 1976 and 1986.
Today, the island is a historic site operated by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is open to tours. Visitors can reach the island by ferry ride from Pier 33, near Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. In 2008 the nation's first hybrid propulsion ferry started serving the island.[3] Alcatraz has been featured in many movies, TV shows, cartoons, books, comics, and games.

Where we boarded the boat to go to the island

Alcatraz as seen from our approaching boat

Island greeter in her odd-looking custume

One of the entrances to the prison building

Shower room

Typical prison cell

Isolation cell for unruly prisoners

Kitchen area

Prison library

Visitor area

Recreation yard

I am glad the Welcome Home sign is in the city not at Alcatraz when it was still functioning as a federal prison.