A Close-Up Look at the Colorful Gardens of Alcatraz


On a recent trip to Alcatraz, we discovered a colorful new way to appreciate The Rock. 

In case you didn't already know, the island is blanketed with gardens that were planted and tended by prisoners, officers, and their families when Alcatraz was a federal penitentiary. Many of these plants flourished during the four decades of neglect that followed the prison’s closing.

Some remediation work has been done in the past decade— the Garden Conservancy and the Golden Gate Park National Parks Conservancy formed a partnership with the National Park Service to restore and maintain the gardens on Alcatraz—and the gardens remain a pretty reason to hop on the ferry and have a picnic in the middle of the SF Bay. 

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