There is so much to see and do here, the third most visited city park in the country. Visit the...
Alcatraz Island Cruise
Also known as The Rock, Alcatraz Island offers an up-close look at the site of the first lighthouses and U.S.-built fort on the West Coast. Rich in history and famous for its infamous inmates and escape attempts, there is also a natural side to The Rock — gardens, tide pools, bird colonies and spectacular views of the Bay.
The History of Alcatraz Island:
It's Alcatraz prison that now gets the spotlight on these few acres of island in the San Francisco Bay.
There is evidence that even the local prehistoric population considered 'The Rock' as an appropriate location to quarantine their misfits.
Lt. Juan Manuel de Ayala named the little island after its only year-round inhabitants, "La Isla de Los Alcatraces" (Island of the Pelicans), when he sailed into the bay on August 5, 1775.
Ayala was the first European to pass through the Golden Gate Straits. Just 75 years after he mapped his discovery, a U.S. presidential order by Millard Fillmore made Alcatraz and other islands in the San Francisco Bay 'reserved for public purposes'.
In 1854, the first lighthouse on the west coast was built on Alcatraz. This was urgently needed since hundreds of ships had already wrecked on the rocks in their hurry to the gold rush.
It was in 1859 that the U.S. Army completed construction of their fortifications. Just a few years later the military installation on Alcatraz Island became the largest fort, west of the Mississippi River, during the Civil War. The army started to confine its own convicts at Fortress Alcatraz almost immediately.
In the 1870's the Native American population started to return to the island...as prisoners. Chiefs and other tribal leaders were incarcerated on the 'Rock' into the 1880's. By 1907 the fort was officially Alcatraz Prison.
The military transferred these facilities to civilian management in 1933. Alcatraz became the first federal maximum-security penitentiary. No judge could sentence a criminal to 'The Rock'. Only a transfer from another prison could get you admitted to this exclusive penal colony.
Until 1963 the 'prison within the prison system' held the most notorious and troublesome criminals. Many escape attempts were made but the guards were vigilant, the water was cold and the currents strong.
Experience Alcatraz Island with Mauiva's Western Tour via private plane. Embark on a Tour of Alcatraz Island and experience the haunting mystery of its past and enchanting present.
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