Last week I volunteered at Alcatraz for a few hours in the gardens. A group of us helped with a project led by the Garden Conservancy, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and National Park Service to restore the gardens. I was surprised to learn about the gardens. Since I have lived in the Bay Area for so many years, I knew the history of Alcatraz but I had never heard anything about the gardens. It turns out that not a lot of people know about it partly because it was recently, in 2003, when they started to restore them. They are quite pretty and I do recommend visiting the gardens when you visit because it is refreshing contrast to the harsh exteriors of the jail. When you are scheduling your visit keep in mind that the gardens are not part of the official tour. There are docent-led tours of the island gardens twice a week on Friday and Sunday mornings at 9:30am, starting at the Alcatraz dock. Also, if you like gardening, you can volunteer to help restore the gardens every Wednesday or Friday morning.