Interestingly and sadly, most people who live in the Bay Area never get around to taking an Alcatraz tour. People from elsewhere in America and around the world visit Alcatraz every year by the hundreds of thousands, but local people stay away in even greater numbers and that’s too bad. They’re missing out on a great thing. Alcatraz history can be seen through many lenses and deserves many visits. I’ve gone personally and professionally dozens of times to explore different layers of Alcatraz’s complex human and natural history. The first time I went, decades ago, I concentrated on its entirely exotic and fascinating natural habitat. Alcatraz is a nesting ground for thousands of birds, and plants of many kinds brought to the island long ago, now grow wild. On other trips I’ve gone to tell the story of Alcatraz’s role as a nineteenth century military fortress, its years as a foreboding military prison, its many decades as a federal pen for the worst of the worst, its short but important Indian occupation and its more than thirty-years as a jewel in the crown of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area . The Park’s interpretation of Alcatraz is always excellent. There are audio tours, guided tours and even Alcatraz tours at night. There’s much to keep us coming back. And the movie history of the Rock is truly entertaining. Hollywood has had fun on Alcatraz, and so can we.