San Francisco 2018 Day 9 – Alcatraz cruise, Academy of Science and Powell Street

Woke up at 730 to make milk for K and catch up on my travelogues. Wasn’t able to jot down anything for last few days as I was both physically and mentally tired from the trip. Wondered if age played a part in this. 830 and I woke mommy up and dressed K in his sleep. Got out of the apartment by 9am for our 10am crossing to Alcatraz with sleeping K in my arms.

It was a 20mins drive and we parked at the Impark at the waterfront plaza. It was a flat rate of $20 whole day parking for weekend which was even cheaper than what we paid the night before.

Parking near Pier 33

Arrived at 920ish at Pier 33 and carried K who continued to sleep until we walked into the Alcatraz landing cafe where he woke up. Mommy ordered a donut and croissant and a coffee and we quickly ate before moving to queue up, the boarding happened soon after with lots of people getting onto the cruise ship.

Pier 33
Alcatraz Landing Cafe
Inside the cafe
Breakfast before boarding

It was a quick 15min ride on the stable boat and we disembarked soon without much drama and also much view of San Francisco and Alcatraz as the skies continued to be shrouded in haziness. A ranger was going on about the rules and the different routes as part of an welcome introduction to Alcatraz island, which was also then we found out that the haze was caused by a wildfire and that the PMI was in the unhealthy region!

Our cruise ship
Inside the cruise
Ranger giving information

Our first stop was the theatre that showed a discovery channel show featuring Alcatraz, which talked about the prison, and others information like the Indian political takeover. Afterwards, we walked upslope (3 slopes), with K on my shoulders of course, and into the prison where at the entrance, we were given an audio guide for the whole tour. The area wasn’t really big and the walking area was only limited to the ground floor but the sequencing of the tour allow people to walk everywhere at different point in time. There was a schedule of cell gate closing presentation (yes, just so you could experience with sight and sound the opening and closing of the prison cell cold metal gates) at 1130am which we tried to see but couldn’t get much since it was really crowded. I couldn’t get much from the audio either with incessant K disturbances including a midway toilet visit (which required us to exit the prison, had to asked the staff at the entrance of the prison for directions) but adequate to hear some of the interesting stories that happened in the prison, such as the escapes.

Water drum en route to prison
Prison entrance
Place where person belongings were exchanged for prison wear
Place for shower
One typical cell
Times Square
3 levels of cell
Baseball field for inmates
The notorious
Library space for inmates
Cell D for misbehaving lot
Visiting windows
Run down buildings
External of the prison
Looked like a watchtower
Dining hall



Tunnel back to the cruise


Exhibit of Indian occupation of the island

We made the 1230pm (timing up to own preferences) ferry crossing (and again had to ask the staff how to escape) and 15mins later, we were back at the Pier. Walked towards Pier 39 passing some event exhibits that were set up for Diwali and visited the barking sea lions out at the pier. Then walked to the Hana Zen for lunch, where we sat near the windows had a smoky view of Alcatraz.

Cannon display at Pier 33
Barking sealions in the distance

Ordered a Oyakudon and chicken teriyaki meals for $43 which took a while to come but it tasted ok. After lunch we returned to the carpark to take the car to our next destination, the California Academy of Science.

Hana Zen
Inside the restaurant
Teriyaki Chicken
View from the table
View from Pier 39
Pier 39 in the day

It was a 30mins drive there and we arrived at about 3plus. K had fallen asleep and after parking parallel (for free during that period) on Nancy Pelosi Dr, I went down to check out the place first. We were actually behind the building and after looking at the entrance fees I quickly returned to the car.

A victorian designed house while driving thru SF
California Academy of Sciences
A nice park just across the building

Woke K up so that we could still spend some time at the museum and went back to get the tickets. Got 2 adults tix for $39 each and K entered for free since he was not 4 yet. There was dinosaur bones at the entrance but the planetarium was closed for the day. We proceeded to line up for the rainforest which had very interesting animals such as a live giant toad and giant millipede and many close encounters with big butterflies. After 3 small levels of this environment, we went to the basement aquarium and were again wowed by giant size fresh water fishes. There were lots of exhibits that made this felt more like a zoo + aquarium than a museum. Spent quite a bit of time there including touching a starfish and then going up to take a photo of a white crocodile.

Dino skeleton
Huge toad
Giant Millipede
Monarch butterfly
Blue butterly
Ant house
Some fish
At the aquarium
More jellies
White crocodile

It was nearing closing time of 5pm and we briskly walked through the exhibits of the wild of Africa and snatched a quick view of the “Giants of the land” exhibit before the staff told us to head towards the exit, after a visit to the restroom.

Wild of Africa display
Huge hanging skeleton

Remembering I had a toll to pay, I drove to a place called Geary Convenience Store within a few minutes drive away to pay there, according to the list of places to pay. Parking wasn’t easy to find and after driving around a corner, I managed to find one slot to park. While my family stayed in the car to wait for me, I walked to the store only to find it closed. Was about to leave when a lady asked what did I want and I said to pay the tolls. Luckily, she was the owner of the store and had only just left but for some reason came back. She then opened the doors and helped me with the toll paying machine. Paid and left the store, a burden lifted from my brain from not forgetting to pay the toll.

Geary Convenience Store to pay toll
Using this machine

The sun had set while we drove to Impark opposite Bloomingdales on Mission street. Spent some time shopping at the mall, while mommy visited Sephora and Tory Burch, I was out waiting with K while he played with my hand phone or just people watching in this massive building. Afterwards, we got onto Powell street and visited the Walgreens (mommy shopping) and took a few photos of the San Francisco cable car (the traditional one). At one point I had to bring K to Hotel Nikko to use the restroom as there weren’t any nearby. As we walked back towards Nordstrom after shopping, we saw the famous turning around of the cable car manually happening in front of us. 2 of the staffs had to rotate the cable car on a movable road so that the cable car directions could switch to face the opposite direction.

Fifth and Mission parking
Multi storey mall
Inside Tory Burch
San Francisco street at night
Traditional cable cars
Cable car turnaround location

We ate at the food court (similar concept as Singapore) at the basement and ordered Korean vegetable rice (like Chinese vegetable rice concept, soup based food was closed) and mommy ordered pasta (costing about 10ish per person). After our meals it was already 930pm and everything else was closed. We couldn’t even exit the building from other exits other than through the main one.

Inside the food court

Upon returning to the car, we realized that there was a break in on the car just parked next to us, the license plate of the plate indicated that the car was from Maine! (out of state) So  stories of cars break ins were real and heeding the advice of not putting anything in the car should be followed, even in parking places like these. The fees were $12 for parking.

We drove to the Safeway near our apartment at Mission Street and while K and I stayed in the car to care for the barang barang that mommy bought, mommy went to get the groceries necessary to prepare for K meals the next day. By the time we returned it was almost 1030pm. Brought everything back into the apartment first as I went to look for another parking due to the overcrowded space just outside the apartment. Thankfully there was one space that was used to be a parking space for building that was no longer in existence. Put up 2 TV shows for K on Amazon fire stick and after that, bathed him before we all ended the long day, in bed.

Safeway supermarket