Alcatraz Student Kit
San Francisco, CA
- Access to our entire Kit Materials Vault, with fun facts, multi-disciplinary project starts, worksheets, and a teaching manual
- Reserved space on our Master Explorers page
- Student ferry and audio tour
- Ticket/reservation insurance and educational planning support
NOTE: Alcatraz sells out early during the summer months. If you are wanting to go during the summer, please plan ahead by at least two months.
Alcatraz is one of our absolutely favorite places to visit! The island’s rich history is both educational and exciting. Students love the adventure of exploring an abandoned prison, and teachers love that the historical, cultural, and social aspects of prison life are pouring into their ears the entire time!
Take a walk around the west side of the island to discover an old cement staircase leading to the prisoners’ exercise yard. Head to the south of the island to take a stroll on some hiking trails that hold little surprises around every turn, and where the views of San Francisco are amazing. Or go back over to the east side of the island to explore the prison guards’ quarters and take in an educational and super interesting film in the Visitor Center. They even have a shop on the island full of fun souvenirs.
The ferry to and from the island is just as fascinating as the rest of the trip. Don’t worry about being super early for check-in, but do be on time. Once on the ferry, you’re free to move around and take in the different breathtaking views that the bay has to offer. You can park in any garage or lot near the pier. Checking ahead of time and securing a spot via a parking app can be helpful. You’ll save money by finding a smaller lot, but often the convenience of the larger garages can be worth the extra money.
Be sure to pack a lunch or snacks for your trip. Food is scarce on the island, and you’re going to be there long enough to want something to eat. Also, be sure to pack plenty of water, and if you’re sensitive to prolonged sun exposure be sure to prepare for that too. The main tour is almost completely inside, but there is so much to see outside that you won’t want to miss the opportunity to explore, and even find a quiet little alcove to just enjoy being together.
While in the city, leave some time to walk down to Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf. There’s a free arcade museum on the wharf that most students find fascinating (though do be aware they include some old peep show machines too!). At the end of Pier 39 is a dock that is usually full of sea lions sleeping and arguing over the best sleeping spots. The view of Alcatraz from the end of the pier is top notch, and there are usually fun magic shows or juggling acts going on behind the carousel.
Overall, Alcatraz is a fascinating trip with lots to learn. You won’t be disappointed, and your students will remember it forever!