It takes a lot to entertain sophisticated travelers these days, but leave it to San Francisco to translate some intriguing tidbits of history into an out-of-the-box, underground attraction that meeting planners may want to include in their off-site activity suggestions. Escape Alcatraz is a drop ride and show simulating an escape from the infamous prison, including a (safe) jump off “The Rock.”

Presented by Merlin Entertainment at the new San Francisco Dungeon on Jefferson Street in the Fisherman’s Wharf district, it’s housed in a 25,000-square-foot, below-sealevel space. Visitors check in as “prisoners” and get a 60-minute, interactive, highly theatrical show in which actors posing as gamblers, thieves, harlots and hoodlums lead them through elaborate, 360-degree sets while relating tales of the prison and the Barbary Coast. Guests then strap into nine-passenger gondolas for the simulated “escape,” a 33-second experience with a sudden, 11-foot drop. 

Escape Alcatraz previewed on Halloween weekend. Discounted tickets are available for groups of 10 or more.  

Perhaps your attendees have hopped on those electric bikes and e-scooters that are scattered all over metropolitan areas throughout California. That’s old news, no question. Yet it’s a sure bet they’ve never been on a Vintage Electric Cruz Bike, because only 250 of them ever have been made. Mad Dogs & Englishmen Bike Shop in Carmel has a fleet of these smile generators, as well as a fleet of knowledgeable guides to lead scenic group tours. 

 

 

California is one of the most abundant agricultural regions in the world, but a startling number of residents aren’t always sure where their next meal will come from. According to Feeding America, the nation’s largest network of food banks, one in eight Californians struggles with hunger. The situation is especially startling for children; one in five is food insecure.

Hunger is not a supply problem, it’s a logistics challenge. And the meetings and events industry is full of logistics-minded people who are in a position to chip away at it.

 

There’s gold—and a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed meeting center—in them thar hills.