Bring­ing to life old sto­ries of the Bay Area

Riverbank News - - MARKETPLACE 209 -

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.TheDun­ 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.

Pho­tos cour­tesy San Fran­cisco Dun­geons

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.

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