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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    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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    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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    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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    California Academy of Sciences

    The California Academy of Sciences is among the largest museums of natural history in the world, housing over 26 million specimens! Just one ticket allows you to explore an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum, rainforest, 40,000 live animals, and more — all under one living roof! No matter your interest, CAS has something for everyone. If you love exploration and the amazing biodiversity of Earth, you should check out the lush, four-story rainforest that’s teeming with life from the world’s richest tropical regions. Or maybe you’re more into the mysteries and awesome size of our universe, in which case you should definitely visit the Morrison Planetarium. With a completely digital dome that measures 90 feet in diameter, plus a 75-foot screen, you'll feel like you’re up among the stars. The point is, you can't go wrong with a trip to the CAS.
    California Academy of Sciences

    55 Music Concourse Dr, San Francisco

    • Take a trip to one of the largest museums of natural history in the world
    • Explore an aquarium, planetarium, rainforest, and much more with just one ticket
    • Gaze up at the stars in the Morrison Planetarium, fully equipped with a 75 foot digital screen
    • Learn a little bit more about the beautiful planet we call home
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    1 positive reviews
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    Bridge to Bridge Cruise

    Go under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge on this scenic cruise along picturesque San Francisco Bay. Pass Alcatraz, Treasure Island and AT&T Park, and enjoy views of the city skyline dotted by Coit Tower, the Ferry Building, the Transamerica Pyramid, the Palace of Fine Arts and more. Fascinating audio commentary lets you learn about the construction of these famous bridges, as well as San Francisco’s unique architecture, history, geology and culture.
    Head to Fisherman's Wharf in the afternoon to board your cruise. Then, sit back and relax as your expert captain takes you along picturesque San Francisco Bay.

    Pass Alcatraz Island and soak up views of San Francisco’s stunning skyline, dotted with famous landmarks and attractions including Coit Tower, the Ferry Building, the iconic Transamerica Pyramid and the domed Palace of Fine Arts.

    Have your camera ready as you cruise under the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge, where the Pacific spills into San Francisco Bay. You'll get unparalleled views from right underneath the bridge!

    You'll also travel under the colossal Bay Bridge, linking San Francisco with Oakland and the rest of the East Bay. Admire Treasure Island and snap photos of AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants.

    Throughout your cruise, audio commentary – available in 16 languages – teaches you interesting facts about how these bridges were built. You'll also learn about San Francisco’s unique architecture, history, geology and culture.

    Your vessel features restrooms and indoor and outdoor seating. You’re free to bring your own lunch on board to enjoy while you take in the sights, and there is also a full bar and snacks available for purchase.
    Bridge to Bridge Cruise

    Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco

    • Travel under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge on a scenic cruise of San Francisco Bay
    • Hear fascinating audio commentary about the construction of these famous and historic bridges
    • Take in spectacular views of Alcatraz, Treasure Island, AT&T Park, and the city skyline
    • Learn about San Francisco’s unique architecture, history, geology and culture
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    Beers and Bikes Tour

    Bikes and beers were born to go together, like peanut butter and jelly, or handlebar mustaches and irony. Explore some of San Francisco’s newest and hippest neighborhoods as you pedal to and from three of the area’s best craft breweries and beer gardens, where you can cool off with frosty pints of local brews. Past tours have included stops like 21st Amendment Brewery, Magnolia Brew Pub, Barrel Head Brewhouse, and Triple Voo Doo Brewery. Besides, no need to feel guilty about spending the day drinking -- you'll just work it off on your way to the next spot.
    Beers and Bikes Tour

    49 Lusk St, San Francisco

    • Tour San Francisco by bike as you visit the area’s best breweries and beer gardens
    • Stop at off the beaten path locations and enjoy delicious local brews
    • Embrace a perfect combination of exercise and recreation
    • Participate in a cool and unique way to explore the city
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    Tandem Paragliding

    Unless you get a great window seat in first class, flying is terrible. You’re cramped, the air is stuffy, and the baby behind you won't stop crying. If only flying was as magical as it is for birds. Experience flight the way it's meant to be, with tandem paragliding. You'll be harnessed up to an expert pilot after going over safety instructions. Then you'll defy gravity and soar like an eagle over gorgeous rolling hills and beautiful scenery. Your pilot will have total control of the flight so you can get the most enjoyment out of your ride. What are you waiting for? Spread your wings with Elite Paragliding.
    Tandem Paragliding

    San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco

    • Take to the sky with the exhilarating experience of Paragliding
    • Stay safe and secure as you harness to your expert pilot, tandem-style
    • Learn the about the different phases of paragliding
    • Experience incredible views and a rush like no other
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    Private Flight for 2

    Oh sure, you saw San Francisco when you flew in, but did you tap on the pilot’s shoulder and ask him if he could please slow down near the Golden Gate bridge because you’re trying to take a sweet photo for the insta-followers? Of course not. That would be silly. But, what if there was a way to see everything from above and walk away with decent photos? There is. SF Air Tours is here to take you on the Golden Tour of San Francisco’s skies! Enjoy views of Downtown Oakland, Bay Bridge, Downtown San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, Alcatraz Island, and more. You'll have so many photos your phone will freeze. Good thing you brought a camera.
    Private Flight for 2

    8433 Earhart Rd, Oakland

    • Experience San Francisco from 1000 feet above
    • Fly like a bird -- or at least ride passenger and enjoy a birds-eye view
    • Take unique photos from above -snap all of your favorite San Fran locations in a high-wing plane for the complete view
    • Enjoy views of Downtown Oakland, Bay Bridge, Downtown San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito, Alcatraz Island, Pacific Coast, Palace of Fine Arts, Fisherman’s Wharf, Coit Tower, and Port of Oakland
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    Chasing the Dragon: History & Mystery of Chinatown

    On this entertaining walking tour, learn about why the Chinese settled in San Francisco, their role in building the Transcontinental Railroad, and how the neighborhood rebuilt after the Great Earthquake and the Fire of 1906. History will come alive as you visit the city’s oldest street, Portsmouth Square, beautiful and seedy back alleys, a fortune cookie factory, and Old St. Mary’s, California’s first cathedral and a survivor of the Great Earthquake and Fire. As you go, you'll wander amongst authentic dim sum restaurants, herbal shops, temples, and open air markets. This isn’t one of those tours where you follow along, eyes glazing over as you try to absorb dry facts and figures. Interactive fun is at the heart of the tour. You will answer questions, play games, and laugh along the way. This is a one-of-a-kind way to get an inside look at San Francisco’s fun and fascinating history. Discover how a literally burnt out ghetto became one of San Francisco’s most popular destinations and the role it has played in San Francisco’s fascinating history.
    Chasing the Dragon: History & Mystery of Chinatown

    Union Square, San Francisco

    • Discover the history of America’s biggest Chinatown on an entertaining walking tour
    • Visit the oldest street in San Francisco, the birthplace of Chinatown, a fortune cookie factory, and California’s oldest church
    • Play fun games and answer trivia questions as you go
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    9 positive reviews
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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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