After our third day site-seeing in San Francisco we headed over to our Alcatraz night tour. Alcatraz was definitely one of the major highlights of our whole trip.
We left by boat at Pier 33 around 6:15pm. When we approached the island, it seemed so ominous, but we were so excited to get onto the island.
We walked into the main prison and were handed head-phones for our audio tour. I have to say, this audio tour is award winning and I can see why. I usually find myself completely zoning out listening to audio tours, but this was informative, interesting, and engaging.
These are patched bullet holes in the floor from the 1946 "Battle of Alcatraz". This unsuccessful escape attempt left 2 officers dead, 18 injured, and resulted in the death penalty for 2 prisoners.
The night tour of Alcatraz is especially neat because they often have special presentations done by Alcatraz volunteers, and also opened up the hospital wing, which is normally closed.
Scariest operating table...ever.
During a demonstration, a small group of us were able to go inside one of the solitary confinement cells for about 30 seconds. It was completely pitch black, I can't imagine what it must be like to be in there for an extended period of time. We also saw a demonstration on the mechanism for opening and closing the cell doors. The demonstrator explained that the term "Slammer" came about because the doors slam so hard when they close. It was very loud and ominous sounding, and it echoed throughout the whole place. This was the last sound every prisoner heard before bed each night for years on end. Many prisoners reported that they still heard this sound in their heads at night, years after they had been released from prison.
Outside provided some great views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge
After about 4 hours on the island, we boarded the boat and headed back to the mainland. Alcatraz was truly awesome to tour.