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Old 02-26-2013, 06:08 PM   #1
zimaaaaah
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Alcatraz with kids - yea or nay?

We are going to California in May and San Francisco (and Disneyland!) is part of the plan. Can't decide whether Alcatraz is a "must do" or something my DD's 12 & 15 will hate me dragging them to. Doubt we will get back there again. Any opinions to share?
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:18 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by zimaaaaah View Post
We are going to California in May and San Francisco (and Disneyland!) is part of the plan. Can't decide whether Alcatraz is a "must do" or something my DD's 12 & 15 will hate me dragging them to. Doubt we will get back there again. Any opinions to share?
Depends on your kids- do they enjoy history? museums? I took a group of Girl Scouts there last summer- ages 11-15 and they mostly enjoyed it. Most of the girls were very interested- especially if they had ever seen any movie or TV show filmed there- but as there always is- one found it boring (she was the youngest though...) You listen through the headphones on a self guided tour, you can go as quickly or as slowly as you like. The boat ride is fun too. It is uphill walking, so comfy shoes, and windy outside so dress a bit warmer than if you were just in the city. Tickets need to be bought online and weeks in advance- so plan accordingly. They do have a night tour that I am not familiar with- that might be something to think about?
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Old 02-26-2013, 06:42 PM   #3
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Really want to know? Personally I think most kids won't like it. It's an old military prison that was converted into a federal civilian prison.

There are some spectacular views from the island though.

Still - I've been there a few times. Once there was a talk on Al Capone by a park ranger. The guy had a distinct midwest accent - I think Chicago. It was really mesmerizing. Everyone was glued to their seats listening to this guy talk about Capone (who strangely enough was from Brooklyn, but I digress).
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Old 02-26-2013, 07:04 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info so far! Anyone else?
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Old 02-26-2013, 07:18 PM   #5
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I went when I was in the eighth grade and my sister was in the fifth. We loved it! It is really interesting. I think that your kids might like it more than a regular museum because you get to take a boat there, walk around the island, look at lots of cool things, etc. The self-guided audio tour is great, and allows you to choose your own pace.
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Old 02-26-2013, 08:01 PM   #6
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I went when I was in the eighth grade and my sister was in the fifth. We loved it! It is really interesting. I think that your kids might like it more than a regular museum because you get to take a boat there, walk around the island, look at lots of cool things, etc. The self-guided audio tour is great, and allows you to choose your own pace.
Thanks for the point of view.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:43 PM   #7
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YES!! Take them! Went while on Disney cruise my DS and DD loved it. My DD got amazing pictures of the flowers the prisoners planted. A very interesting place. So cool to see the "escape from Alcatraz" cells. Don't miss Alcatraz!
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:46 PM   #8
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I'm reading book on Alcatraz now. Really near to read about the things I saw.
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Old 02-26-2013, 10:51 PM   #9
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Sorry pressed send before I was done. The book was free on kindle. It starts way before Alcatraz was discovers by explorers and up to its closing with everything in between. I have been slightly obsessed with Alcatraz since we went.
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:42 AM   #10
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YES!! Take them! Went while on Disney cruise my DS and DD loved it. My DD got amazing pictures of the flowers the prisoners planted. A very interesting place. So cool to see the "escape from Alcatraz" cells. Don't miss Alcatraz!
The last prisoner left Alcatraz in the 1960s. Would anything planted by a prisoner last that long?
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Old 02-27-2013, 08:51 AM   #11
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The last prisoner left Alcatraz in the 1960s. Would anything planted by a prisoner last that long?
Why are you always so rude? Tis far easier to just keep your mean comments to yourself- in fact the gardens are a historic part of the island: http://www.alcatrazgardens.org/

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The award-winning restored gardens
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In 2003, the Garden Conservancy and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy formed a partnership with the National Park Service to restore and maintain key gardens on Alcatraz. Through the Alcatraz Historic Gardens Project, the partner organizations preserve, rebuild, and maintain the gardens created by those who lived on the island during its military and prison eras, and interpret their history, horticulture, and cultural significance for visitors.
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As early as 1869, military inmates began tending the Gardens of Alcatraz. Many of these inmate gardeners had no horticulture experience, but with vocational training and donated plants, they were able to transform the barren rock into extensive planted terraces, including a rose garden and cutting gardens overflowing with brightly colored flowers.
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When the military left the island to the federal Bureau of Prisons in 1933, the tradition of inmate-gardening continued. Mr. Freddie Reichel, the first secretary to Warden Johnston, wanted to maintain the beautiful gardens left by the military, but realized he could not do it alone. With permission from the warden, he recruited maximum-security inmates.
Spwhoney I very much appreciated your comments- we didn't get to tour the gardens too much- it was so cold the day we went, your post makes me want to go again soon
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:43 PM   #12
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Why are you always so rude? Tis far easier to just keep your mean comments to yourself- in fact the gardens are a historic part of the island: http://www.alcatrazgardens.org/
It was half a joke and half serious. I can't imagine that they would have had flowers planted by prisoners that survived more than 40 years of neglect. Even a thriving garden would need to be periodically replanted. In fact, the link you provided noted that the flowerbeds required rebuilding a decade ago when the Garden Conservancy took over upkeep of the flower gardens.

And if you want rude, have you seen the posts by Mr Snappy?
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:31 PM   #13
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We did the night tour in October. My son had just turned 11 and my daughter was 14-1/2 at the time. They both enjoyed it. I just asked my daughter if she would recommend it. She said yes, that's it's cool in a creepy way.
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Old 02-27-2013, 03:45 PM   #14
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It was half a joke and half serious. I can't imagine that they would have had flowers planted by prisoners that survived more than 40 years of neglect. Even a thriving garden would need to be periodically replanted. In fact, the link you provided noted that the flowerbeds required rebuilding a decade ago when the Garden Conservancy took over upkeep of the flower gardens.

And if you want rude, have you seen the posts by Mr Snappy?
finally- something we agree on
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Old 02-27-2013, 06:40 PM   #15
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The last prisoner left Alcatraz in the 1960s. Would anything planted by a prisoner last that long?
Yes, the book I am reading said the prisoners would work in in the gardens and flowers are still there from when the planted. Not a lot but there are lilies ( I think) not native to island.
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