THE OTHER SAN FRANCISCO
Bringing to life old stories of the Bay Area
The San Francisco Dungeon is the first attraction of its kind in North America and brings to life the stories of the old Bay Area with a full theatrical cast, special effects, gripping storytelling, 360- degree sets, an underground boat ride and the brand-new drop ride, Escape Alcatraz.
The San Francisco Dungeon is the ultimate live action journey through the Bay Area’s murky past where the audience is part of the show.
It’s located at 145 Jefferson St. at Fisherman’s Wharf.
It is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. as well as Friday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Online tickets start at $14.99 at the website SanFrancisco.TheDungeons.com Among the themed rooms are:
The Descent – Guests begin the journey in an old mine shaft elevator, complete with creaking floors and rattling chains—all while trying to suppress a creeping sense of dread. Colorful showman Jack greets visitors upon arrival at the bottom.
Gold Rush Greed – Visitors encounter a spectral incarnation of Father Francisco Palou, who expounds upon the sinful antics of gamblers, harlots and corrupt politicians who defiled the once- peaceful lands.
Lost Mines of Sutter’s Mill – Guests enter this disorienting maze of a mine, where the first traces of gold were discovered, at their peril.
Gangs of San Francisco – An encounter with Sam Roberts, the leader of The Hounds, just might leave guests poorer than when they came—if they’re not careful. Extortion, as well as particularly painful means of persuasion were this gang’s calling cards.
The Court Room of San Francisco – Crime and punishment in old-time San Francisco comes to life in Judge Alcalde Meade’s court room, where guests might find themselves accused and convicted of hilarious “crimes.”
Miss Piggott’s Saloon – That creepy-crawly sensation guests feel when sitting down for a drink in this joint is no joke. They should be wary of drinking just anything Miss Piggott offers— they might just end up shanghaied.
Shanghai Kelly – Unsuspecting patrons of Miss Piggott’s soon find they have been sold off to this infamous crimper. Forced to board a boat bound, they navigate back waterways to meet their fate as a crewman aboard a ship—or worse yet, find they are declared unfit to work.
Chinatown Plague – Guests encounter the Rat Catcher along the back alleys of 1900 Chinatown, where quarantined streets hide something even more shocking than infected rats and rotting bodies. This cure really might be worse than the disease.
The Ghosts of Alcatraz – In the 1800s, Alcatraz was a brick jailhouse housing the most dangerous military prisoners. This is not a place for the faint of heart. Guests who look scared will be the first to be spooked—in hilarious fashion, of course.
Escape Alcatraz Drop Ride – Brand new to the experience newest, Escape Alcatraz offers an exhilarating drop ride as well as a new show, script and characters. Experience Alcatraz’s dark past in San Francisco’s first-ever underground drop ride simulating the jump into the San Francisco Bay one would need to take to try and escape Alcatraz. It is the finale to the 60-minute experience.
The Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary was the maximum high-security federal prison on Alcatraz Island, 1.25 miles off the coast of San Francisco which operated from 1934 to 1963.
Alcatraz was designed to hold prisoners who continuously caused trouble at other federal prisons and housed some 1,576 of America’s most ruthless criminals. Notorious criminals included Al Capone, Robert Franklin Stroud (the “Birdman of Alcatraz”), George “Machine Gun” Kelly, Bumpy Johnson, Rafael Cancel Miranda, Mickey Cohen, Arthur R. “Doc” Barker and Alvin “Creepy” Karpis (who served more time at Alcatraz than any other inmate).
A total of 36 prisoners made 14 escape attempts during the 29 years of the prison’s existence, the most notable of which were the violent escape attempt of May 1946 known as the “Battle of Alcatraz” and the arguably successful “Escape from Alcatraz” by Frank Morris, John Anglin and Clarence Anglin in June 1962 in one of the most intricate escapes ever devised.
Faced with high maintenance costs and a poor reputation, Alcatraz closed on March 21, 1963.
Alcatraz was also home to the Pacific Coast’s first lighthouse.
TOP PHOTO: Guests experience a drop ride to mark their escape from Alcatraz at the San Francisco Dungeons. BOTTOM PHOTOS: Actors in some of the theme rooms.