5 Things You Didn't Know About Alcatraz

April 20, 2016

Located on a small island surrounded by choppy waters, just off the coast of San Fran, lies a prison that has held the country’s most dangerous criminals...

Alcatraz -- like something out of a comic book, it’s no wonder it’s the most notorious incarceration facility in the country. Home to likes of Al Capone, George “Machine-Gun” Kelly, and Arthur “Doc” Barker, the high security federal building operated from 1934 to 1963, containing the murderous gangsters of the 1920s and 30s. In its 29 years of operation, the prison managed to rack up quite a colorful -- and sometimes violent -- history.

Here’s a quick look at some intriguing Alcatraz facts you may not know. If you don't get your fix here, read on to check out the activities we offer that will take you there to see it for yourself!

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    Mirror Maze

    "Dude. Duuuuuuuuuuude. Those colors are just...whoooooooa." Want to get to that point without the health and legal risks? Come to Magowan's Infinite Mirror Maze for an experience like no other! During this crazy attraction, you'll wind your way through a labyrinth of mirrors, set aglow by black lights. You'll completely lose track of where you are and where you're trying to go -- but that's the fun part! This psychedelic experience is completely mindblowing, so just let go and enjoy the ride. Or should we say trip?
    Mirror Maze

    Pier 39, San Francisco

    • Make your way through an intricate labyrinth of mirrors and try your best not to get lost!
    • See black lights, glowing mirrors, and crazy effects
    • Stay and trip out for as long as you want
    • Have the most psychedelic experience one can legally reach in San Francisco!
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    Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

    Think you’ve got what it takes to survive the zombie apocalypse? Put your survival skills to the test during this escape room challenge! Escape room games lock you in a room and pit you against the clock, leaving you just one hour to locate a series of clues, unravel an overarching puzzle, and make your escape! You’ll have to work successfully with a small group of fellow players, making this a great team-building challenge. Use your brain … or its zombie chow!
    Trapped in a Room with a Zombie

    660 Bryant St, San Francisco

    • Immerse yourself in an interactive game where you must find a way to escape a locked room
    • Exercise your critical thinking skills to piece together clues in order to solve the mystery
    • Work with a small team to better your odds of completing the task within the allotted time
    • Feel the rush as you race against the clock -- and the zombies!
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    Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley

    Experience the Sonoma wine region in a unique way – on the Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley. Jump aboard this historical replica of a San Francisco cable car and grab a seat on a special wine tasting adventure you will never forget. This open-air trolley will let you experience the picturesque vineyards like no other tour. On this tour, your friendly and knowledgeable guide will take you to four family-owned wineries for tastings. You will visit Sonoma's top historic landmarks and enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch during one of the scenic stops. Your day in California wine country starts as you hop aboard the Sonoma Wine Trolley, modeled after the famous historical cable cars of San Francisco. Enjoy the breeze as your knowledgeable tour guide whisks you off to four outstanding Sonoma-area wineries, known for both their wines and their hospitality.

    Each wine tasting takes place in a private setting, where your own representatives at each winery will explain the different varietals you’ll sample and the background of the wineries.

    There will be wonderful photo opportunities on this tour and your friendly guide will be happy to take a photo or two of your group so you can document your memorable day in wine country.

    In addition to your live guide, a local historian and actor, George Webber, provides the recorded narration of the Sonoma Wine Country Trolley. Between winery stops, enjoy his upbeat, whimsical commentary and stories as you travel through California's early history. Some of the historic landmarks you’ll see on the tour include:

    • The Sonoma and Swiss hotels
    • General Vallejo's Soldier Barracks
    • Mission San Francisco Solano (Sonoma Mission)
    • Blue Wing Inn
    • Bear Flag Monument
    • General Vallejo's Home and State Park
    • Sonoma Development Center
    • Town of Glen Ellen Enjoy lunch in a hidden-gem location, which may be among a vineyard, on a garden terrace or in a wine cellar, depending on the weather. Indulge in a picnic catered by Sonoma’s famous The Girl & the Fig restaurant, four-star rated on OpenTable and Yelp. Their delicious and hearty lunches are served family style, allowing everyone to pick and choose from a variety of sandwiches, side salads and desserts. Bottled water is included.
    Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley

    Sonoma Plaza, Napa & Sonoma

    • Experience the Sonoma wine region on the open-air Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley
    • Visit family owned wineries with friendly and knowledgeable guides
    • See many of Sonoma's historic landmarks and enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch
    • Hear upbeat, whimsical commentary and stories about California's early history
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    Premium Sake Museum Tour and Tasting

    You love sake, but you can’t travel all the way to Japan for a nice cup, and you only want the highest quality. How lucky, then, that Takara Sake has a place right here in California, with a premium tour and tasting! On this delightful tour, you’ll get a fascinating tour of the Sake museum, featuring sake artifacts and implements, plus the history of sake-making in America. Then, enjoy a tasting of a variety of premium sake, including Sho Chiku Bai Sake and more! And there’s no better place to get the full, authentic sake experience than at Takara’s The Tasting Room, measuring over 2,200 square feet and inspired by Japanese rice paddies. You’ll be satisfying your sake cravings in no time!
    Premium Sake Museum Tour and Tasting

    708 Addison St, Berkeley

    • Taste a variety of premium sakes in an authentic setting
    • Learn about sake production and see sake artifacts and implements collected by Takara
    • Feel like you’re on an exotic and unforgettable journey to Japan
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    San Francisco Bay Sunset Cruise

    Take the ultimate sunset cruise, California-style! Relax as you enjoy amazing views of San Francisco and a hearty appetizer buffet during this casual two-hour cruise of San Francisco Bay. The sailings are timed to coincide with sunsets; the Sunset Bay Cruise departure time and route will differ to the Twilight Cruise which sails during the winter months. With live commentary by the captain and cool background music, this cruise is a wonderful way to explore San Francisco Bay at twilight during late March through early November.

    As the sun begins to set over the Marin Headlands, you'll cruise past Alcatraz, Angel Island and the shorelines of Tiburon, Belvedere and Sausalito. Watch the sun setting over the Pacific Ocean as you sail west toward the Golden Gate Bridge. On your way back to Fisherman's Wharf you'll see many more famous sights, including the Presidio, the Marina District and Fort Mason.

    During the cruise, enjoy an assortment of vegetarian, turkey and roast beef sandwiches, antipasti, crudité with dip, potato and Caesar salads, seasonal fruits, freshly baked miniature desserts, and a complimentary beverage.

    A full bar with drinks and merchandise is available aboard. All cruise vessels offer indoor and outdoor seating, and restrooms. There is no assigned seating or formal dress required, come as you are for an evening of relaxed sunset sailing! Vessels operate on bio-diesel, a renewable energy source. In the winter, the cruise changes its itinerary to make the most of the spectacular city lights view of San Francisco. As the sun sets over the horizon, you'll sail past San Francisco's modern skyscrapers, historic landmarks, the infamous island of Alcatraz and both the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge.

    Your evening of breathtaking San Francisco views will be accompanied with live guitar entertainment, hearty buffet of sandwiches, salads, dessert, and a beverage from the bar.

    Whether you are enjoying the skyline views from the ship's heated indoor spaces or out on the outdoor viewing decks, the city lights are an unmissable San Francisco attraction.
    San Francisco Bay Sunset Cruise

    Pier 43, San Francisco

    • Sail on a cruise along the spectacular San Francisco city skyline under the setting sun
    • Take superb photos of the historic Alcatraz Island, Sausalito and the Golden Gate Bridge
    • Indulge in a hearty hors d'oeuvres buffet of different assortments, along with complimentary drinks
    • Hear live commentary by the captain and enjoy the smooth background music
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    Monterey, Carmel & a 17-Mile Drive Day Trip

    Cruise along California's spectacular coastline on a relaxing day trip from San Francisco. You'll follow Highway 1 to the beautiful Monterey Peninsula home of the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium and Steinbeck's Cannery Row. Explore Monterey's charming shops or choose to add aquarium admission. See the stunning estates of 17-Mile Drive. Finish your day with a stop at the coastal town of Carmel by the Sea, before returning to San Francisco via famous Silicon Valley.

    Escape the big city on this scenic day-trip to Monterey and Carmel. Drive along the Highway 1 with breathtaking views of the Pacific Coast seascapes and narration as you may your way down to the Bay. You'll have time to shop and have lunch in Monterey, with the option of visiting the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, and enjoy plenty of photo stops on this scenic day trip from San Francisco. No trip to California is complete with a drive along the famous 17-Mile Drive, home to the world-renowned Pebble Beach Golf Course, the Lone Cypress, magnificent mansions, playful wildlife along the coastline and breathtaking natural beauty.

    Then, you'll head to the enchanting Carmel-by-the-Sea, with a charming downtown shopping district, beautiful beaches and historic mission. On this last stop of the tour, you will have time to visit the many boutiques and art galleries.

    Highlights of this day trip include:

    • Pacific Ocean drive
    • Cannery Row
    • Lone Cypress
    • Pebble Beach Lodge and golf course
    • Carmel Mission
    • Monterey Bay
    • 17-Mile Drive
    • Seal Rock
    • Carmel by the Sea
    Monterey, Carmel & a 17-Mile Drive Day Trip

    2627 Taylor Street, San Francisco

    • Cruise along California's famous 17-Mile Drive on a relaxing day trip from San Francisco
    • Follow Highway 1 to the beautiful Monterey Peninsula to explore shops or visit the aquarium
    • Discover the enchanting Carmel-by-the-Sea’s downtown shopping district and beautiful beaches
    • Enjoy plenty of stops and fantastic photo opportunities along the way
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    Helicopter Tour and Dinner Cruise

    Views from above, views from the water! Savor the breathtaking aerial views of San Francisco on a helicopter tour. Take in well-known landmarks from above, such as Alcatraz Island and the spectacular Golden Gate and Bay Bridges spanning the bay. After your flight, end your day in style aboard a dinner cruise on San Francisco Bay as the sun sets.

    Enjoy the sights of San Francisco on the way to the heliport. Once onboard your quiet and smooth reliable helicopter seating 4 to 6 passengers, the exhilarating adventure begins. Musical background accompanies spontaneous narration by your professionally trained pilot. During your 20-minute flight, see the famous hills of San Francisco and the striking cityscape. Admire aerial views of Alcatraz Island, Golden Gate Bridge and more. Upon landing, the shuttle drops guests for boarding on the yacht where delightful views of San Francisco from the water await. On your 2.5 hour cruise, savor an elegant 4-course dinner, enjoy live music entertainment and stroll the outer decks for incomparable views of the glittering San Francisco skyline. Your evening concludes at Pier 3.

    Helicopter Tour and Dinner Cruise

    333 O'Farrell St, San Francisco

    • Admire the beauty of the skyline and the bay as you go for a 20 minute helicopter ride and dinner cruise
    • Soar over San Francisco and capture breathtaking views from the vantage point of a helicopter
    • Savor a 4-course dinner aboard a yacht passing landmarks like Alcatraz Island and the Golden Gate Bridge
    • Enjoy live music and stroll the outer decks for incomparable views of the glittering skyline
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    Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure (San Francisco)

    Price is for a group of 2-5 people Looking for a way to turn San Francisco into a giant game board? Urban Adventure Quest has created an interactive scavenger hunt that combines the fun of the amazing race with a three-hour sightseeing tour of SF highlights! Guided from any smartphone, you’ll make your way among well-known and overlooked gems of the city, solving clues and completing challenges while learning local history. Answer questions to uncover the next, secret location. Your adventure takes you through the Union Square area, which houses some of the city’s finest designer shopping and cafes, through the bustling Chinatown and other historical neighborhoods as you make your way down through the famous Wharf District. Traverse its contoured landscape both on foot and by Cable Car, as you gain an entirely new perspective ol San Francisco and learn to see the city by the Bay in a whole new way!
    Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure (San Francisco)

    Yerba Buena Park, San Francisco

    • Embark on a tour that allows you to experience San Francisco as if it were a scavenger hunt
    • Answer fun trivia questions to uncover the next secret location and advance in your journey
    • Explore the most iconic SF neighborhoods, such as Union Square, Chinatown, and the Wharf District
    • Snap breathtaking photos of the city from above as you ride through the sky in a cable car
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    Escape Room Omega

    Professor Stanley, known for his theory of time travel, mysteriously disappeared inside his own office three days ago. As his closest friend, you’ve decided to seek the truth. In this interactive game, you’ll have the chance to work with friends, family, and complete strangers to solve this perplexing enigma. Your courage and teamworking skills will be put to the test during this time-sensitive mission. With a 39% escape rate, this game will stretch your mind as far as it will go. Oh, and pay attention to any clues related to time… otherwise, the same thing could happen to you.
    Escape Room Omega

    5327 Jacuzzi St, Richmond

    • Solve the mystery behind the mysterious disappearance of a professor
    • Use your intellect and wits to decipher clues and escape a locked room under 60 minutes
    • Work together with friends and complete strangers to discover the truth
    • Enjoy the thrill of the time crunch and the terror of the ominous challenge
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    Yosemite National Park and Giant Sequoias Trip

    Take time out for a day trip into the wild beauty of Yosemite National Park from San Francisco. Enjoy the beautiful countryside and discover the raw beauty of California's most famous national park. Your journey begins with a drive through San Joaquin Valley and into the Sierra Nevada range. In the morning, you will be driven to a giant sequoia grove (snow depth permitting), stopping along the way for a bird's-eye view of the whole valley. You can relax in the picnic area and have lunch (not included) among the giant sequoia trees.

    After lunch, you will have the opportunity to go on a short one-hour hike to the falls or grab a snack at the Yosemite Lodge. You will have three to four hours to spend at Yosemite National Park, with a range of activities to suit everyone, which may include some of the following:
    • Hike to one of Yosemite's waterfalls
    • Watch the climbers on El Capitan
    • Rent bikes for a relaxing cycle on the flat bike paths throughout the valley
    • Cool off in lovely river pools in summer
    • Spot a black bear
    • Relax at the visitors center, with museums, restaurants and the Ansel Adams Gallery to inspire every amateur photographer
    When it's time to head back to San Francisco, you will drive down the Sierra Nevada stopping along the way for a short break.

    Please note: The weather in Yosemite is highly variable and includes rain and snow in winter and high temperatures in summer. The itinerary may be adapted to make the most of Yosemite during different seasons and times of the year.
    Yosemite National Park and Giant Sequoias Trip

    Union Square, San Francisco

    • Embark on a trip to the peaceful countryside and discover the raw beauty of Yosemite National Park
    • Drive through San Joaquin Valley and into the Sierra Nevada range
    • Enjoy three to four hours of free time at Yosemite National Park, with a range of activities to suit everyone
    • Relax in the picnic area and have lunch among the giant sequoia trees
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