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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

101 Places to See Before You're 12 - A Prison or Jail

A Prison or Jail

Well, we couldn't go to San Francisco without taking a tour of Alcatraz
Brennan couldn't believe we were going to start off Spring Break with a trip to a PRISON! 
I thought it was fascinating and David really liked the tour. 
At least we didn't follow through with our promises of sending the boys over to Alcatraz for a "kids day camp".

Here we are first thing in the morning getting ready to board the ferry to Alcatraz.  Brennan's doing his "petrified of going to Alcatraz" look for you.

Coit Tower and the Transamerica Pyramid from the Pier.

Our first good glimpse of Alcatraz from the ferry.

The city from the ferry.

Alcatraz became a National Park in 1973.  If you know the history behind it you'll know in the early 70s it was the site of a peaceful protest for American Indians to reclaim land in the U.S.

Much of the island is largely unchanged, just maintained.

Alcatraz means Cala Lilly in Spanish. 
That name came after the original meaning of Pelicans, because there were a lot of pelicans on the island when Spanish settlers arrived in the 1500s.

Alcatraz is now a botanical wonderland, with lots of volunteers tending the plants and flowers.

And up to the cells

The inmate showers

A typical prison cell at Alcatraz.

Some of the most infamous criminals incarcerated at Alcatraz.  That's Al Capone on the far left.

We listened to the audio tour.  There's Thomas coming out of the solitary confinement cells.

The recreation yard.  It tortured prisoners to be so close to the bustling city of San Francisco, but not be able to go there.

A fire destroyed parts of the island.

Before our trip we read a fascinating book about kids who lived on the island.  I had no idea!  They were children of the prison guards, the military personnel who lived there before it was turned into a penitentiary, the American Indians who protested there, etc.  The children loved living on the island and took a ferry to San Francisco every day to attend school.

From the Book:
#89 - A Prison or Jail
For some reason, law-abiding citizens love to visit jails.  Alcatraz, the famous prison on an island in San Francisco Bay, is one of the most visited tourist attractions in all of California (and there are a lot of amazing places to visit in California!).  So what is it about jails that's so intriguing?  Make a visit to one and find out.  You'll learn the true stories behind some of history's most notorious criminals, discover escape plots, see weapons made out of soap, and take a chilling glance into the cells where convicts waited out their sentences.  You'll also learn a lot about the justice system and how it has changed through the years.  And you'll leave feeling very glad you're not required to stay.

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