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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    Original Tour

    Hungry for the real San Francisco? Get to know this eclectic city alongside a local guide and enjoy a bit of its famous cuisine while you're at it! You'll cover several of the city's most vital neighborhoods over the course of 2.5 hours, including the Financial District, North Beach, Chinatown, and Union Square. Laugh and learn with your guide as you hear historical facts, anecdotes, and a unique peek at the city's famously flavorful culture. Stop in at popular local eateries for tasty bites that might include artisanal cheeses and breads, pastries, cured meats, olives, dim sum, and fortune cookies! Some tours just taste better than others.
    Original Tour

    600 Montgomery St, San Francisco

    • Get to know San Francisco during a 2.5-hour guided exploration
    • Visit popular neighborhoods such as North Beach, Chinatown, and Union Square
    • Fuel up with food samples at local artisanal shops and restaurants
    • Learn what makes San Francisco unique with insights into its history and culture
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    Aquarium Behind-the-Scenes Tour Package

    Enjoy an intimate introduction to Steinhart Aquarium, one of the top scientific aquariums in California! On this hour-long tour, you'll learn about the history of the facility, meet some of its biologists, and have a look at the efforts that go into caring for the 40,000 animals of this green institution, including fish, butterflies, penguins, and an albino alligator. In addition to touring the aquarium itself, you'll go behind the scenes to visit the food preparation kitchen, and get a look at how the aquarium team makes its own salt water. Also included in the package is express entry to an Earthquake simulator, reserved space in the Planetarium, and VIP entrance into the Osher Rainforest- all to ensure you end your day on an incredible note.
    Aquarium Behind-the-Scenes Tour Package

    55 Music Concourse Dr, San Francisco

    • Get a behind the scenes tour of one of the world's most biologically diverse aquariums
    • Enjoy an up-close look at a variety of exotic fish and other animals, and the efforts behind their care
    • Learn about the history behind the aquarium and meet some of its biologists
    • Delight the imagination with some of nature's most bizarre and beautiful creations
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    Muir Woods and Sausalito Half-Day Tour

    On our Muir Woods and Sausalito tour, you’ll wander through the ancient groves of coastal redwoods in Muir Woods National Monument and walk along the quaint sidewalks of Downtown Sausalito. Muir Woods is an example of an old-growth redwood forest located only about 30 minutes from downtown San Francisco. You will have an hour and a half to roam through this ‘living museum’ where you can get a glimpse of the towering trees that used to dominate the west coast from Santa Barbara to Washington. After exploring Muir Woods you will get a 15-20 minute narrated tour through the beautiful seaside Mediterranean-style town of Sausalito and a chance to explore (approx 45 minutes total) before returning to the city across the Golden Gate Bridge. To complete your San Francisco Bay experience, perhaps you’d like to hop off the vehicle in this lovely town and add on a picturesque ferry ride (must be booked in advance) back to San Francisco!
    Muir Woods and Sausalito Half-Day Tour

    2095 Jerrold Ave., San Francisco

    • Golden Gate Bridge Viewpoints
    • Experience the Muir Woods Giant Redwoods
    • See the beautiful bay views from Sausalito
    • Add an optional ferry ride across the bay!
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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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    Total Yosemite Experience from San Jose

    Explore more! The Yosemite National Park tour from San Jose is an experience that will leave a memorable impression for people of all ages. Join vasty knowledgeable Expedition Leaders on a day-long trip through the Yosemite Valley, where you will be learn about the geology, history, and wildlife that make this National Park one of North America’s most awesome sights to behold. You will even get to touch a living fossil! The Giant Sequoias of Tuolumne Grove have inhabited the park for millions of years, along with many other colossal granite cliffs. This day tour will leave from the Fairmont Hotel San Jose and depart east through California’s lush Central Valley, into the precipitous Sierra Nevada mountain range. Grab your camera and hop on board for this unforgettable Yosemite experience! During your tour, you will also be able to enjoy free wifi available on your bus or van!
    Total Yosemite Experience from San Jose

    928 Harrison Street , San Francisco

    • Explore the breathtaking beauty of Yosemite National Park
    • Experience the serenity of Tuolumne Grove’s giant sequoias
    • Join Expedition Leaders as they inform you of the rich geology, history, and wildlife that make Yosemite unique
    • Embark on a memorable and exciting journey for people of all ages!
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    Teas, Temples, and Beatniks

    (3)
    Experience San Francisco's diversity firsthand as you explore two very different but equally exciting neighborhoods. You'll experience a true fusion of East and West, where one of the largest and oldest Chinese communities outside of Asia butts right up against the birthplace of the beret-loving Beat Generation. Starting in Chinatown, you will learn about the Chinese community's role in the Gold Rush and train building boom, and stop for a bite of traditional mooncake pastries. From there, it's off to the oldest Chinese temple in America, where you can have your fortune read, and then on to a sampling of fresh fortune cookies and an in-depth tea tasting. Just a few steps north, you'll enter North Beach, home of Jack Kerouac and Alan Ginsberg's favorite hangouts. You will check out the City Lights Bookstore, which still publishes San Francisco's great local poets. You'll wander through picturesque side streets as you explore Little Italy, past adorable shops and cafes. Embrace a deliciously fascinating transcontinental experience, without ever leaving the city.
    Teas, Temples, and Beatniks

    Grant Ave & Bush St, San Francisco

    • Explore the adjacent but wildly different neighborhoods of Chinatown and North Beach
    • Learn the history of SF's Chinese community as you visit the country's oldest temple, and see the areas Kerouac and Ginsberg once roamed
    • Savor traditional Chinese pastries and teas
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    3 positive reviews
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    Flavors and Murals of the Mission

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    The Mission District might be San Francisco's oldest neighborhood, but like a fine Sonoma wine, it has aged to perfection over time. You'll start your tour off right with coffee and artisan donuts, in flavors like apple maple bacon and lemon thyme. From there, get a taste of the Mission District's Latino culture at a local Mexican bakery. Once you're fueled up, you'll take a stroll down Balmy Avenue, home of over 30 years' worth of murals and art history. Then it will be time for some sweet or savory pies and a trip to a local taqueria, even more murals, with a final stop at a bakery surrounded by the best hipster thrift shops in the area. This tour is a feast for both your stomach and your eyes. There's no better way to experience the jam-packed diversity of the Mission District. You can probably get a treat packed with jam, too.
    Flavors and Murals of the Mission

    2760 24th St, San Francisco

    • Take a jam-packed combination art/culinary tour of the eclectic Mission District
    • Explore Latino bakeries, artisan donut shops, and famous taquerias
    • Visit beautiful murals that encapsulate the neighborhood's history
    • Discover hidden cultural and culinary gems
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    3 positive reviews
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    San Francisco Sunset Segway Tour

    Take an evening tour on a fun Segway as you learn more about the city of San Francisco. Experienced guides will be with you every step of the way as you discover new attractions and sites. You will visit the Financial District, the famous Embarcadero, the Ferry Building, the Italian district of North Beach, Coit Tower, the Transamerica Pyramid and the home of Levi's jeans - Levi Plaza. See the San Francisco skyline in a new way as the sun sets. Stand in awe at the amazing architecture of the Transamerica Pyramid.
    San Francisco Sunset Segway Tour

    333 Jefferson St, San Francisco

    • Enjoy an unforgettable evening Segway tour through the amazing sites of San Francisco
    • See the Embarcadero, North Beach and more in a new way at night
    • Hear new facts about the city you love
    • Find out more about the best parts of the city to explore
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    Bridge to Bridge Cruise

    (1)
    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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    1 positive reviews
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    Earn Your Wings (SF)

    (8)
    Have you always wanted to feel the thrill of free falling without having to... well, jump out of an airplane?! What if you could feel the adrenaline rush of skydiving MINUS your totally understandable fear of heights? Well, here's your chance! iFLY is an indoor skydiving facility that creates true free fall conditions. You'll float inside iFLY's 1,000 hp vertical wind tunnel -- with absolutely NOTHING attaching you to planet earth. And with the Earn Your Wings package, you'll get the ultimate beginner-level package for a great introduction to indoor skydiving: 2 unforgettable one-minute flights, plus hands-on assistance and a comprehensive training session from your personal flight instructor. You'll even get to take home a personalized flight certificate to show off to your friends. This is one indoor aerial experience you don't want to miss! Note: The total duration of the activity is 2 hours, which includes 1 hour of training. Includes use of all the flight gear. If you have had a prior shoulder dislocation, back, or neck problems or if you are pregnant, you should not fly. Those less than 6 feet tall must weigh less than 230 pounds, and those over 6 feet must weigh less than 250 pounds. Flyers can be as young as 3 years of age; there is no upper age limit. Participants under 18 years must have parent or legal guardian present to sign Release of Liability.
    Earn Your Wings (SF)

    31310 Alvarado-Niles Rd, Union City

    • Experience the adrenaline rush of skydiving without having to jump out of an airplane
    • Benefit from the ultimate beginner's package, with everything you need to have a great first flight
    • Feel safe and prepared with hands-on assistance from your personal flight instructor
    • Channel your inner super hero as you float in iFLY San Francisco's 1,000 hp vertical wind tunnel
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    8 positive reviews

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