Alcatraz Uncovered


Please note that we are no longer accepting applications for this school year 2023-2024.


Grades 5 - 8th

Please see link at bottom of page for Alcatraz Uncovered introductory video.

Ranger talking to a group of students on one of the hallways in Alcatraz.
Ranger talking to a group of students in Alcatraz.

NPS / Kirke Wrench

How can archeology deepen my understanding of a place?

Alcatraz Uncovered excites your students about history's mysteries by using Alcatraz Island as your archeological case study. Besides being a popular national park site, Alcatraz served as a military post from 1854 to 1933, a federal penitentiary from 1934 to 1963, the site of an American Indian fight for sovereignty from 1969 to 1971, nesting site for thousands of birds annually, and the subject of many Hollywood movies. Students will search for clues from each historic era and draw conclusions about daily lives and cultural perspectives and contemplate issues facing individuals within each of these time periods.

Alcatraz Uncovered uses the Understanding by Design framework, incorporates Common Core Standards and Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies. The program is framed by the essential question - How can archeology deepen my understanding of a place?

Program Structure

The Alcatraz Uncovered program is structured in the following three-touch model:

  1. Classroom Preparation – Teachers complete 3 pre-lessons delivered with resources provided by the park addressing observation and inference using artifacts and historic photographs. A pre-visit lesson by NPS staff is also offered before the field session – please share details about preferred NPS staff visit in the Education Reservation Request Form.

  1. Field Session – the island experience in which students conduct an archeological investigation. Please share details about preferred field visit date in the Education Reservation Request Form.

  1. Classroom Assessment – opportunities for students to demonstrate what they have learned through essays and inquiry investigations. Please email or mail back student work to NPS staff.

Program’s Framework and Curriculum Links will be shared shortly

How to Apply

Please fill out the Education Reservation Request Form to apply to an education program for your class (1 per classroom). Failure to complete this form may result in the inability to participate in program.

Pre-virtual visits with NPS staff are only offered on Tuesdays.

Field visit –In-person field sessions are only offered Wednesdays Thursday and Fridays.

Program Registration Instructions

  1. Fully complete Section 1, under Contact Information
    - In the “Describe Need” box, please let us know if you need any special accommodations for students in your class.
    Note: Only the first floor of the fort is accessible by wheelchair.

  2. Complete the following for section 2, under Park Visit/Field Trip:
    - You do not need to complete contact information again, please go directly to the grade section.
    - Complete:


Number of Students

Number of Chaperones

Preferred Date of Visit

(Please keep in mind the days of the week when program is offered)

Preferred Program Start Time

(Subject to ferry departure)

Alternative Date(s)

(Be sure to include 2 alternative dates)

Anticipated Arrival Time

(Skip this part)

Anticipated Departure Time

(Please add your preferred ferry departure time from Alcatraz Landing to get to the Island: Check departure schedule here: Departure Schedule - Alcatraz Cruises | City Experiences)

Mode of Transportation

(Free ferry's are offered to classes who participate in education programs with a ranger)

  1. Skip Section 3

  2. Complete the following for section 4, under Group Details – Virtual/Distance Learning Program (to schedule a virtual pre-lesson with a ranger) .You do not need to complete contact information again, please go directly to the grade section.



(Skip this section)

Number of Students

(Skip this section)

Preferred Date of Program

(Please keep in mind that pre-visit lessons with NPS staff are only offered on Tuesdays – preferably the week of your scheduled field session on Alcatraz)

Alternative Date(s)

(please sure alternative dates are only on Tuesdays)

Preferred Program Start Time

(Pre-visit lessons are only offered between 9am-1:30pm)

Time Zone of Classroom

(Skip this section – programs are only offered to local Bay Area students)

  1. After completing the Education Reservation Request form, please email a signed copy to

    • Please have the name of the requested program in the email Subject line.

Please Note--

  • Due to a high volume of requests, it will take a couple of business days to be contacted by NPS Staff.

  • Please keep in mind, it is best to take an earlier boat to Alcatraz – please check the schedule to include your preferred departure time in the Education Reservation Request Form: Departure Schedule - Alcatraz Cruises | City Experiences


Last updated: October 4, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Golden Gate National Recreation Area
201 Fort Mason

San Francisco, CA 94123


United States Park Police Dispatch: Non-Emergency: 415-561-5505 Emergency: 415-561-5656

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