5 Things You Didn't Know About Alcatraz

April 20, 2018

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 Native Tour

    Trying to get to know San Francisco like a local? Leave the guidebooks behind and hit the streets with a native guide during this 3.5-hour walking tour! You'll cover the major neighborhoods of the city, discussing its history and culture along the way. Visit both popular landmarks and hidden secrets, interacting with the community as you go. Tour sizes are kept small, allowing for more personal attention, and a more informal and authentic experience. In addition to covering a half-dozen neighborhoods, you'll also enjoy tastings to help introduce you to the city's diverse food culture. After this tour, you're sure to leave your heart in San Francisco!
    Original Native Tour

    600 Montgomery St, San Francisco

    • Get to know the heart of San Francisco during a 3.5-hour walking tour
    • Visit six different neighborhoods and stop by popular landmarks
    • Enjoy samples of various SF treats as you walk
    • Enjoy a small tour-group size led by a professional guide
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    Chasing the Dragon: History & Mystery of Chinatown

    (9)
    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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    The Whole Shebang Tour

    (9)
    See just how diverse San Francisco really is as you wind your way through three distinctly different neighborhoods. The tour starts in swanky Nob Hill and moves down to the fancy shopping district Union Square, where you'll learn about San Francisco's early days. You'll head to the back alleys of America's largest Chinatown neighborhood, where you'll visit a fortune cookie factory. And then it's just steps to North Beach, the heart of the Italian Community and home of the Beatniks. Along the way, you'll see the sites of the Great Earthquake and the Fire of 1906, some Painted Ladies, and tons of classic cable cars and historic bars. 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'll answer questions, play games, and laugh along the way. Get the full scope of everything San Francisco has to offer on this one-of-a-kind, whirlwind romp through the city.
    The Whole Shebang Tour

    Union Square, San Francisco

    • Experience San Francisco's amazing diversity on an entertaining walking tour
    • Explore Union Square, Chinatown, and North Beach, stopping at iconic sites along the way
    • See locations like Maiden Lane and a fortune cookie factory
    • Play fun games and answer trivia questions as you go
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    9 positive reviews
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    Come Out to the Castro Tour

    (9)
    In the late 1960's, The Castro suddenly became an epicenter of Gay Culture. How? Why? On this tour, you'll learn why! Gain insight from a knowledgeable guide as you delve in the history of the neighborhood and about gay culture in San Francisco, from the Gold Rush to the present. As you wand your way through the streets, you'll visit iconic locations like Josie's Cabaret, The AIDS Memorial Quilt, The Castro Theater, one of the world's largest gay flags, and Pink Triangle Park. 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'll answer questions, play games, and laugh along the way.
    Come Out to the Castro Tour

    Union Square, San Francisco

    • Explore The Castro, a national hotbed of gay history and culture on an entertaining walking tour
    • Visit iconic sites like Josie's Bar, The Castro Theater, and The AIDS Memorial Quilt
    • Learn about San Francisco's gay community from the Gold Rush to today
    • Play fun games and answer trivia questions as you go
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    9 positive reviews
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    SF in a Nutshell: The Nuts and Bolts of the City

    (9)
    Get down to the brass tacks of San Francisco's history, from its boomtown birth to its current position as the 10th largest city in America. Hit on all the major topics, like the Gold Rush and the invention of Levi's jeans. You'll play "Rolling J's" in Haight-Ashbury, visit the stunning entrance to Chinatown, the Pagoda Gate, and visit Lotta's Fountain, a memorial to the fire of 1906. 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'll answer questions, play games, and laugh along the way. In just two hours, you'll get a fun and fascinating overview of 150 years of San Francisco's history.
    SF in a Nutshell: The Nuts and Bolts of the City

    Union Square, San Francisco

    • Discover the major events in San Francisco's history on an entertaining walking tour
    • Visit iconic sites like Maiden Lane, the gateway to Chinatown, and the memorial for the Fire of 1906
    • See breathtaking architecture and play fun games and answer trivia questions as you go
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    9 positive reviews
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    Aquarium Behind-the-Scenes Tour Package

    (1)
    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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    1 positive reviews
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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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    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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    Summer of Love, Winter of Discontent in Haight-Ashbury Tour

    (9)
    Wander the streets of Haight-Ashbury, the hippie hotbed that birthed the cultural revolution of the 1960's. You'll learn about the neighborhood's meteoric rise to greatness in 1964 and why the trip turned bad by 1968. Visit Janis Joplin's crash pad, jam out at the Grateful Dead House, say "Yes" to a Love-In at the Panhandle, and bask in the debauchery of Buena Vista Park. And if the Flower Power years aren't enough for you, Haight-Ashbury is one of the few neighborhoods to have avoided the Fire of 1906, so it still features beautiful, authentic Victorian homes. 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'll answer questions, play games, and laugh along the way. Get ready to see the psychedelic music, hear the psychedelic artwork, and taste the history of this truly groovy part of town.
    Summer of Love, Winter of Discontent in Haight-Ashbury Tour

    Union Square, San Francisco

    • Explore Haight-Ashbury, the home of the hippie revolution, on an entertaining walking tour
    • Visit iconic sites like the homes of Janis Joplin and The Grateful Dead, the Panhandle, and Buena Vista Park
    • Play fun games and answer trivia questions as you go
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    9 positive reviews
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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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