Alcatraz Behind The Scenes Tour
The Ultimate Alcatraz Experience
Duration: 4 -5 Hours
Available: Tuesday through Saturday Weekly
Departures: 2:00 PM, 2:30 PM (winter schedule)
- Ferry ride to and from Alcatraz Island
- Two-hour Park Ranger guided tour with small group of 30 or less tour guests
- Once the guided tour is complete, guests may join other visitors on the Alcatraz Night Tour:
- Award-winning Cellhouse audio tour
- Additional programs and exhibits
- Docent guided tours and talks
The Alcatraz Behind the Scenes Tour will depart from Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing. This tour will depart on the last two departure times of the day. Visitors may return on either of the scheduled night ferries.
We recommend that you arrive to Pier 33 at least 30 minutes prior to your departure time.
Alcatraz Behind The Scenes - FAQ
How long does the tour last?
The Behind the Scenes guided tour combo can last anywhere between two and five hours. The Night Tour is included, so if you opt to continue on with the Night Tour after the Behind the Scenes seqment, then the entire tour will last four to five hours. You may refer to the departure schedule for the exact departing and returning ferry times as these times will vary based on the Summer or Winter schedule. There are two Behind the Scenes Tour times that will depart from Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing. Once you arrive on Alcatraz Island, you will be informed of the exact time the two return ferries are scheduled to leave Alcatraz Island.
Where Does the Behind the Scenes Tour Go?
You will have access to a different part of the island than you would if you only attended the Alcatraz Cellhouse Audio tour or the daily guided tours and programs. You will be able to explore several areas of the island that are not included in the audio tour. Although specific destinations are not guaranteed, you may explore the following areas of the Island: New Industries Building, Officers’ Row Gardens, The upper levels of D Block, The Hospital, A Block, Citadel and/or the Chapel, Theatre, and other areas as they become available.
*Please note that the tour route is dependent on the safety of the visitors and accessibility concerns. The tour route is subject to change based on the weather, construction, bird habitat, group size, etc.
In What Languages is the Behind the Scenes Tour Offered?
The Behind the Scenes Tour is offered only in English. Once you complete this portion of the tour and reach the Cellhouse audio portion of the tour, you may choose from several different languages. The Cellhouse audio tour is offered in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese, Russian, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, ASL and an audio described version for visitors with vision disabilities. Please note that the live programs that are part of the Night tour will only be offered in English.
How many visitors will be in the group?
The Behind the Scenes tour group will be 30 visitors at most per tour. The actual number of visitors attending this tour may be less.
May I bring my children?
Yes, children are permitted to attend this tour if they are 12 years of age or older and accompanied by an adult. The Behind the Scenes tour is not suitable for younger children to attend due to its fast pace and long duration. Please note that children under the age of 12 will not be accommodated on this tour. We will be unable to provide refunds for Adult or Senior tickets purchased for children under the age of 12.
What accommodations are Available for those with mobility disabilities?
The Behind The Scenes Tour is a physically strenuous tour and can include walking through narrow passages or climbing steep staircases in areas not normally open to the public. A small tram with very limited seating (one (1) wheelchair, approximately five (5) passengers maximum) is available at the Alcatraz Dock for those with physical mobility needs. Use of the tram is first-come, first-served. The tram will accompany the 4:50PM tour ONLY, so please purchase tickets for this tour if you know that you will need to use it. The S.E.A.T. tram cannot go into the Behind The Scenes Tour areas. If you cannot maneuver steep stairways, you will only be able to view these areas virtually through photographs and videos.
Alcatraz Behind The Scenes Tour Programs Offered
When you attend the Behind the Scene Tour you will get to experience the indiscernible ambience of Alcatraz Island. During the evening visit you will be able to witness the sunset with the Golden Gate Bridge not far off in the distance. You will also hear captivating stories about Alcatraz Island’s history and its inhabitants. There will be evening talks that may cover many topics including the day to day lives of inmates, books written by former inhabitants, activities that were enjoyed on Alcatraz Island and infamous escape attempts.
You will also be able to take advantage of all the activities included in the Night tour. You will also receive an additional guided tour that will take you beyond the areas that most visitors will get see and into secret rooms, passageways, and underground cells of Alcatraz Island.
The Alcatraz Night Tour is an exclusive program that is limited to only a few hundred visitors each evening. The Night tour includes unique programs, tour and activities that are not offered during the Day Tours. We suggest that you check out the visiting and permanent exhibits during your visit to maximize your experience.
Please note: Children under the age of 12 are not permitted to attend the Alcatraz Behind the Scenes Tour. Please do not purchase tickets for children under the age of 12 for this tour as they will not be permitted to board the ferry and there will not be refunds given for those who are unable to attend the tour.
Cellhouse Audio Tour Included
“Doing Time: The Alcatraz Cellhouse Tour”
Visitors will be able to tour the Cellhouse at their own pace with the award-winning audio presentation “Doing Time: The Alcatraz Cellhouse Tour.” When listening to this audio presentation you will be able to envision yourself in a dark solitary confinement cell, hear the stories of what life is like inside Alcatraz from former inmates, and get a real sense of the intensity when an inmate attempted to escape from the correctional officers who lived and worked on Alcatraz Island.
You will gain an honest, inside look at what like was life for the men who lived it. Hear both sides of life inside Alcatraz Island prison including such infamous escape attempts, “The Battle of ‘46’”, “Food Riots”, and “Surviving Solitary Confinement”.
The Cellhouse audio tour is available in Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.
Please note: There are no audio tour refunds available for Alcatraz Behind The Scenes or Alcatraz Night Tours.
Please note: The two-hour guided tour included with the Alcatraz Behind the Scenes Tour will only be available in English. When this portion of the tour is complete, you may choose the Cellhouse audio tour in one of the 11 languages that are offered.
Also: Much of Alcatraz Island is steep and hilly, so visitors should be prepared for long walks uphill. The total distance from the dock to the Cellhouse is about 1/4 mile (0.4km), equivalent to the height of a 13-story building. There are multiple places to stop and rest or to take in the magnificent views.
We suggest that visitors wear comfortable athletic shoes or shoes that are optimal for walking. If you have issues with mobility you may prefer to take advantage of our S.E.A.T (Sustainable Easy Access Transport) tram. For more information on S.E.A.T you may visit our Plan your Visit page.
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