Pretty much every time we visit San Francisco we try to get tickets to Alcatraz and they're always sold out. Finally we planned ahead and got tickets for this past weekend, which turned out to be a little cold and drizzly, but we had a great time anyway.
I visited Alcatraz a long time ago, but other than the infamous escape I didn't remember too much about it. This time around we just explored without the audio tour, since Ez and Declan weren't about to let us listen to anything besides them.
We started with the exhibit on the aging prison population, which sounds boring but was actually really interesting and thought provoking. There were quotes from all kinds of prisoners, ones who were remorseful and ones who weren't, some who claimed to be framed and some who you could completely understand why they did what they did.
Then we checked out the cells and dining hall. I feel like the cells look slightly bigger in the pictures than they did in person. It was pretty claustrophobic inside and Ez refused to even stand in one with me. I led him in and he ran right back out yelling no. That's his current favorite word and he says it all the time for no reason at all, but this time I couldn't blame him. They were tiny and dirty and depressing.
Next we wandered around outdoors, checking out the dilapidated buildings and the gorgeous views. Around this point it started drizzling and getting pretty chilly so we headed back to the gift shop, then down to the dock to wait for the boat.
Ez was a champ and walked almost the entire way, making sure to stomp in every puddle he came across. If you've ever been to Alcatraz before you know there are some steep hills, so I'm really impressed that Ez was able to hike them all on his own.
Ez's favorite part of the day was the boat ride. Hands down. We told him we'd be riding a boat before we left the house and the entire car ride there he kept saying "we're gonna ride a boooat! What sound make??" On the boat ride back he insisted on spending the entire time at the helm in my arms pointing out every other type of boat in eyesight. Cruise ship. Yacht. Sail boat. Cargo ship. That boy knows his transportation.
Afterward we got some fried fish at a nearby restaurant where the boys were surprisingly well behaved considering we woke them up early and walked them around in the rain for several hours.
In case you're wondering how Alcatraz is for kids, I think it's pretty stroller friendly. There's also a tram if you absolutely can't walk up the hills. There's no food for sale on the island and you're not really supposed to eat in the prison area, but I gave Ez a Larabar while we were walking around because it was either that or a major meltdown. We were there about two and a half hours and overall both kids enjoyed themselves and were well behaved as long as they weren't hungry. I noticed a lot of older kids really into this scavenger hunt type booklet where you visit certain areas and then answer questions and at the end you get a badge. That was a little beyond Ez's age range though.
All in all a great day and I'm still pinching myself that we live close enough to San Francisco to just pop in whenever we feel like it.