Vacation Post: Life on Alcatraz Island

 One of the activities Nick and I had been most looking forward to on our trip was the visit to Alcatraz Island. We bought our tickets online months in advance from Alcatraz Cruises and gave a few morning hours to ourselves so that we could explore everything we wanted to while there.

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The ferry to the island was so much fun! Very windy, very foggy and very cold — but very fun! I realized the second we got on the ferry that I had never been on an actual boat before, and that the Jaws theme park ride at Universal (RIP, beautiful creature) doesn’t actually count. It was super weird but I got used to it after some stumbling and awkward leaning! 😀

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The island has tons of different kinds of flowers, birds and vegetation – little posts scattered throughout the grounds gave details on some of them.

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Tiny model of Alcatraz on Alcatraz. Alcatraception.

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HELLO, VISITORS!

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I loved all the pretty colors contrasting with the old buildings! It’s a national landmark but it feels so empty and deserted – very creepy but cool! Nick and I basically had a tour of the grounds by ourselves, with only funny looking birds and a really nice woman from the area who stopped to talk to us as company. It was chilly, but tolerable, and the fog was light enough that we could see bridges and the city from the island!

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I love these little plant things! What are they? They’re so cute!

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The inmates played baseball outside in the big rec area!

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Nick’s reenactment of said games, haha!

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Every time the inmates walked outside to the rec area, they could just barely see above the walls to the city that was so close but still so far away from them. It was so strange to think about! What a sad sort of punishment, to see the thing you wish you were a part of every time you got to breathe fresh air!  😦

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Little library!

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These are the isolation rooms. They’re pitch black and don’t have anything inside them except double doors. Inmates that broke rules were put in there! So scary!

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My version of ‘scary’ is clearly not Nick’s version, lol.

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The prison is HUGE!

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Children and families of the guards and wardens lived on the island along with the prison inmates. They would tend to the gardens, like this one, and the children took a ferry to and from the mainland for school every day!

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I loved the mustard yellow roof on this building!

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We watched a video near the gift shop inside the prison about the history of the island, from its prison roots to its protests. The gift shops themselves sold really morbid sorts of things like silverware and the meal trays of the inmates, and comic books about the inmate’s attempted escapes.

Although the buildings and grounds aren’t in the best shape of the island’s life, it’s easy to imagine what the place looked like when guards regularly patrolled the stairwells and kids ran through the gardens. It was still really beautiful and it was so amazing to see everything up close that I knew from photos and documentaries!

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