A Behind the Scenes Tour on Alcatraz Island

Tigran and I ran across the street with few minutes to spare. After playing frogger across the Embarcadero to Pier 33, we luckily made it on time to board and we didn't miss our boat.

Thanks to my work, I had the opportunity to bring a guest to Alcatraz Island for a behind the scenes evening tour.

We hopped on the boat with a few other employees and their guests. Normally, the ferry holds hundreds of people at a time. With all the extra room, we got the best views on board and had quite a comfortable ride.

Just a few days away from what San Francisco residents call "Fog-ust", we were lucky enough to catch blue skies! Like always, it was short lived... and the sky eventually faded into a grey hue.

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Behind The Scenes Tour

I've been to Alcatraz several times before, but this tour took us into areas most other tours don't feature. Many of the these fenced off areas we went through probably wouldn't accommodate the masses.

See, Alcatraz Island is one of the most visited National Parks there are, and this summer, the tickets are selling out further in advance. This tour we went on is considered a VIP tour and visitors can now buy tickets for the same experience.

From prison escape stories, to the history of Alcatraz, Tigran was interested and asking questions all through the tour. I was pretty happy to see him genuinely engaged.

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 Locked up in D block. This was Robert "Birdman" Stroud's cell.

Locked up in D block. This was Robert "Birdman" Stroud's cell.

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THe Audio TOur

After the guided tour, the general public started to trickle onto the island. We joined the hundreds of people for the audio tour. For an audio tour, it's pretty dynamic, and the narration is far from monotone. 

As the evening carried on, the wind really started to pick up. Thankfully, that evening, we spent more time from inside the prison walls. That didn't prevent my hair from getting in my face for the one picture we took outside.

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After about 4 hours on our feet, we walked down to the dock, and caught the ferry back home. 

The ride back was a lot more cozy in comparison to our ride there, but at that point our feet were just happy we could sit down and make our way across the bay. 

All in all, I'm thankful that working with National Parks has given me special opportunities to explore places like Alcatraz Island, especially when I can share those experiences with others.

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