2.11.11

Alcatraz

We visited Alcatraz last week and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  I knew the monkeys would love it but expected it to be more of a 'little boy' type of excursion.
Alcatraz island was originally used as an army fortress as well as military prison before it became the notorious maximum security prison it's name is now synonymous with.  The prison officially closed in 1963 and stood empty for many years until it became a national park with historic gardens, tide pools and bird colonies as well as amazing views of San Francisco.

There were several 'cells' that were open to enter- needless to say it was a bit eery. 

These are the ruins of the Warden House- 
We could not have asked for better weather and the views were killer (hehe)
This is a copy of the original sign that you see upon docking at Alcatraz
The audio tour is award wining and able to keep both monkeys and adults entertained and informed- 
The sound effects for the attempted prison escape and subsequent riots played out as an audio reenactment.  
The monkeys were interested in the story behind the families of the prison staff which lived on the island and ferried into San Francisco for school and shopping.  
We checked out a book from our local library called Children Of Alcatraz which shares photos and stories of the families lives.
The tour also included tidbits of some of the more notorious criminals like Al Capone and Robert Stroud 'The Birdman'- 
On the advice of my favorite librarian- we rented Birdman Of Alcatraz a 1962 black and white film staring Burt Lancaster and the monkeys sat through, AND enjoyed, all 2.5 hours of it. 

Have you ever visited Alcatraz or seen Birdman Of Alcatraz?

25 comments:

Clair said...

Never, but your post makes me want
to visit.

Pat Tillett said...

Very nice! I love that place. Also, the view of SF is amazing from there. Do you remember when the American Indian Movement occupied Alcatraz in the late sixties or early seventies?
I need to get back there.

Sally Tharpe Rowles said...

How interesting, Ren, I always liked that movie, Birdman From Alcatraz. I never thought about children & families living out there ...that must have been an unusual life. Thanks for shaing ll this ...I found it so interesting!

a new girl in vienna said...

i really really want to go to san francisco (and alcatraz)! hopefully someday soon.

Nuit said...

omg how fun!!!!! definitely would love to go!

Rebekka Seale said...

I have always wanted to go there!

THE ALTERNATIVE WIFE said...

LOVE Alcatraz! I visited so many years ago, like in the 80s, but I still think about it to this day. It definitely left a lasting impression.

la petite coquine said...

Such a fun afternoon-I wasn't sure I was going to be able to convince John to leave!

Andrea said...

My husband went there years ago and said how it gave him the chills!

Nat said...

I did the evening tour of The Rock in October 2008... fantastic sunset on the boat over, and wonderful night city scape views :-) The prison was really creepy.... a lot of oppressed souls I shouldn't wonder!

Krystal said...

i'm jealous, we tried going there once on a fam vacation but the wait list was like, days long or something!

Diana said...

Looks awesome! I wonder how many people got shanked there!

Tee, Passports and Postcards said...

After watching The Rock (1996) when I was a kid, I dreamed of going to Alcatraz (and San Francisco). It became reality in 2007 and I loved it. With the view of the bustling, beautiful city, it must've sucked to be a prisoner there.

Punctuation Mark said...

none of them but always wanted to visit!

heather said...

i have yet to go to alcatraz. can you even believe that? it's like a hop, skip and a jump, but nothing ever comes of it. but now you've piqued my interest again!

demie said...

unfortunatelly i haven`t. so i love reading about here and looking at your pictures!
thank you for your supporting comment earlier this week... you are kind and thoughtful : )

dotblogg said...

boys must have been excited:))
you're such a creative mother, I love your ideas!
have a good week(end)!
J

anushka said...

we have lived in mill valley and had family living in san francisco for the last 13 years and made yearly visits to the city but have never been to alcatraz. i'm sure when ez is older we'll take him. but, it does kind of freak me out. i imagine i'll still feel the energy of all those criminals there.

Karumen said...

hi dear, it's been a while since i last spent time in the blog world, and your blog looks very different! in a good way! :D

Kristin H said...

How great!! Isn't it wonderful now when the boys appreciates the trips you take with them?

Have a fabulous day!

Mama Gone Green said...

I went there when I was maybe 11 and loved it. I can still remember many parts of it vividly!

Sara Szatmary said...

I love tourist spots like that! So much history!

liza said...

Ren! We were there 2 weeks ago! We visited SF for the Nike marathon (I ran the 1/2) and stayed on a few days with me sis and her husband. We loved Alcatraz! We'd recently watched Myth Busters' episode about the escape, so Eddie (my 6yr old) was so excited to go see for himself. The audio tour was fantastic. Eddie pushed his "go" button about 15 seconds before we hit ours. We were all getting into listening when he just headed down Broadway and turned right. I went after him a little worried ("why would he just walk away like that?") until a few seconds later my audio said, "now walk down Broadway and turn right when you find the..."! Duhhh. After this happened a few more times-- and was disconcerting every time(!)-- I finally sync-ed our tours. Did you buy your funny family photo? We did.

drollgirl said...

so glad you all enjoyed it! i visited years ago as a kid. there is a GREAT clint eastwood prison break movie that was filmed at/based on alcatraz. you guys might like it! it is called escape from alcatraz.

Phoenix said...

I visited Alcatraz a very, very long time ago and think I was too young to appreciate the history and stories behind it. If I go to SF again soon I will definitely check it out! Thanks for a great review (and the pictures of your monkeys are adorable.) :)

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