Alcatraz Island or the Rock as it is commonly known is one of the major tourist sights in beautiful San Francisco. Located in the centre of San Francisco Bay the island has had a long history as a fort and more notably both a military and a federal prison, becoming home to many of the most notorious criminals of the USA before it closed in 1963. Today the island is administered by the National Park Service and ferries leaving Pier 33 near Fisherman’s Wharf offer trips and tours of the facility. The island has an abundance of wildlife and rare plant life and is nesting grounds for many birds. The island is free to visit although ferries are the only way to get to the island, which have a transportation charge, booking should be made in advance as only so many people can be transported a day. The tour thought the grounds and the prison facility is accompanied by a fantastic audio tour which really give you a first hand experience of what the prison was really like- its quiet eerie.