Alcatraz with Kids
I was unsure what to expect visiting Alcatraz and I was unsure how my children would react to visiting the old jail. We all loved it!! It became a highlight of our time in San Francisco. We spent 2 hours on Alcatraz.
1. Buying Tickets
When looking for tickets there seemed to be so many different websites offering tickets to the Alcatraz Island. The island is owned by the National Park Services and the official tickets can be purchased from here. We booked in advance to secure a place on the boat, they often sell out. The weather will not impact too much on your visit but of course a nice sunny day would be preferable.
2. The Boat Ride
It takes approximately 15-20mins to get to Alcatraz from the Pier 33. You will be given a boarding time. Once you disembark the boat on the island have a look at the return boat time options as you are able to leave the island on any boat. Sitting upstairs on the way to the island gives you a lovely view of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.
3. Visiting the Jail Cells
Once on the island you are free to use your visit time as you wish. With the options being wander around the grounds of the island and visit the outer buildings and then the jail cell tour. We made use of the free self guided audio tour. Once you have walked up to the top of the island, about 10mins, you will enter the Jail Cell section. Here you are directed to pick up an audio headset. There are many language options. Each visitor is given a headset and told to press start at a certain point. My children were aged 7, 9, 11 and were fully engaged for the complete 45mins of the audio tour. I feel it is not worth visiting without this tour. We learnt so much and were guided through the whole jail cell area. The information was informative and delivered in an engaging manner. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
4. Walking the Grounds
We visited other parts of the island after our audio tour. The views to San Francisco are stunning and so are the views of the harbour. It is well worth visiting a few areas of the island.
For other things to do while in San Francisco click here
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