Bridges, Redwoods & Alcatraz: San Francisco With Your Grandchild

A jailhouse that has stories to tell, bridges that stretch across the sparkling sea and the tallest trees on Earth! Discover these and more in the Bay Area with your grandchild.
Rating (5)
Program No. 21059RJ
6 days
Starts at
1,899 / ADULT
1,199 / CHILD

At a Glance

Climb aboard a classic cable car with your grandchild to explore the City by the Bay and the nature that surrounds it. Ride a ferry to Alcatraz Island to explore the famous jailhouse, and take in the sights, smells and sounds of the largest Chinatown in America. Walk across one of the most famous landmarks in the world, the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, and tinker with some science experiments at the Exploratorium. Plus get outside the city to play amongst the foot of giant redwoods in Muir Woods and hike to a seaside lighthouse. Introduce your grandchild to this world-class city as you explore our favorite spots around San Francisco, making new friends along the way!
Activity Level
Let's Go!
Walking up to three miles at a time over varied terrain, including stairs. Extensive use of public transportation.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Hike with a park ranger and cross a suspension bridge over the ocean to visit Point Bonita Lighthouse.
  • Go behind the scenes at the Academy of Sciences, where you’ll be transported into a rainforest, an earthquake and into a starry night sky!
  • Learn what life was like for fishermen through history on a ranger-led field trip to a historic sailing ship on Hyde Street Pier in Fisherman’s Wharf.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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James Dalessandro
James is a writer and filmmaker best known for his novel '1906,' a retelling of that year's earthquake in San Francisco. He has more than 20 feature film and television scripts to his credit. He wrote and directed 'The Damnedest Finest Ruins,' a documentary on the earthquake. In his adopted hometown of San Francisco, James lectures on the Transcontinental Railroad, Old Chinatown, and the Golden Gate Bridge as well as the history of its artists: Mark Twain, Jack London, Isadora Duncan and the Beat Generation.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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James Dalessandro
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John Martini
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Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
This is San Francisco
by Miroslav Sasek
Cable cars, Chinatown and other city sights are depicted with bright, stylized illustrations in this classic portrait of San Francisco, first published in 1961 and presented here in facsimile.
Golden Gate, The Life and Times of America's Greatest Bridge
by Kevin Starr
Starr covers the history and meaning of this beloved icon and great American feats of engineering in this slim portrait.
California History for Kids, Missions, Miners, and Moviemakers in the Golden State: Includes 21 Activities
by Katy S. Duffield
A history of the dreamers who shaped the great state of California, featuring a time line of important events and fun and educational hands-on activities.
City by the Bay: A Magical Journey Around San Francisco
by Elisa Kleven (Illustrator), Tricia Brown
A colorful introduction to San Francisco’s highlights through collage-style illustrations of city landmarks -- kids will have fun finding the hidden surprises in each picture.
Travelers' Tales San Francisco
by James O'Reilly (Editor), Larry Habegger (Editor), Sean O'Reilly (Editor)
Experience San Francisco from the inside out with this engaging, insightful and entertaining selection of mostly contemporary eyewitness reports -- a terrific literary profile of a dynamic city.
San Francisco, A Cultural History
by Mick Sinclair
Organized more thematically than chronologically, this easy-to-read introduction to the city and its neighborhoods will appeal both to first time visitors and those who know and love the city.
Fly High, Fly Low
by Don Freeman
A classic Caldecott Honor Book about two San Francisco birds who live in a sign above a hotel; illustrated with sweeping panoramas of the Bay Area.
Gold Fever, One Man's Adventures on the Trail of the Gold Rush
by Steve Boggan
Rich in history and economics, Boggan's travelogue follows the trails of the original 49ers -- to San Francisco and beyond -- where Americans still risk life and limb for lucrative gold strikes.
Trees in Paradise, A California History
by Jared Farmer
A fascinating account of environmental tumult in California that chronicles the "improvements" attempted by settlers, providing a new perspective on Californian history.
Essential Muir
by Fred White (Editor), John Muir
Taking the best of John Muir's writings on nature, Fred White's collection presents a fresh look at one of California's greatest literary figures.
The Mystery in San Francisco
by Gertrude Chandler Warner
When the Boxcar Children go to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, they discover something amiss with their friend’s fishing operation. Will they solve the mystery?
A Crack in the Edge of the World, America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906
by Simon Winchester
Geologist, master storyteller, traveler and journalist, Simon Winchester succeeds again in this fast-paced, utterly fascinating account of the great 1906 earthquake that devastated San Francisco.
Maybelle the Cable Car
by Virginia Lee Burton
The true story of how the people of San Francisco banded together to stop the city from shutting down the cable cars -- which still run today! Illustrated and told through the perspective of Maybelle the cable car.
Escape from Alcatraz
by J. Campbell Bruce
First published in 1963, this true crime classic is now out in a special edition. Bruce recounts the Rock’s transition from a Spanish fort to the infamous penitentiary, temporary home of legendary criminals like Al Capone and the Birdman of Alcatraz (Robert Stroud). He also includes descriptions of Frank Morris’ escape attempt alongside archival photos.
San Francisco Map
by Berndtson & Berndtson
A laminated, folded map of the city center of San Francisco at a nice scale of 1:13,000.
San Francisco
by Andrews McMeel Publishing,
A fabulous and stylish die-cut book that introduces young readers to San Francisco highlights.
Al Capone Does My Shirts
by Gennifer Choldenko
The first in an award-winning trilogy about a young boy and his family who live on Alcatraz Island in 1935; humorously narrated and full of history about The Rock.
Fifth Chinese Daughter
by Jade Snow Wong
First published in 1945, Jade Snow Wong's memoir is a simply told, moving story of family life in pre-WWII San Francisco Chinatown.
Al Capone Shines My Shoes
by Gennifer Choldenko
The sequel to Al Capone Does My Shirts (SFO72) continues the story of 12-year-old Moose Flanagan who lives on Alcatraz Island and receives cryptic messages in his laundry from infamous inmate Al Capone. A fun book for readers 9 to 12.
Al Capone Does My Homework
by Gennifer Choldenko
The next installment in the Al Capone series for readers ages 9 to 12 follows Moose Flanagan’s adventures as his father gets promoted to Associate Warden on Alcatraz Island and becomes a target. Once again, Moose receives cryptic messages from the prison’s most infamous inmate, Al Capone, and must figure out what he is trying to communicate.
The Cable Car and the Dragon
by Barbara Ninde Byfield (Illustrator), Herb Caen
An illustrated journey through San Francisco, from Fisherman's Wharf to Chinatown, alongside a cable car and a Chinese dragon.
San Francisco: A Food Biography
by Erica J. Peters
At the ideal intersection of rich farmlands and the Pacific Ocean, San Francisco is a reputable food destination. Peters delves into the city’s culinary history, from early Spanish missions and ongoing immigrant influences to current fixation on local ingredients.
Journey Around San Francisco from A to Z
by Martha Day Zschock
Exploring the unique cultural appeal of San Francisco this children's book for ages 6 to 9 is an informative read, made enjoyable by lots of hand-drawn color illustrations.
The Lucky Ones, One Family and the Extraordinary Invention of Chinese America
by Mae Ngai
Ngai, a professor of history at Columbia University, uncovers the story of the Tape family in post-Gold Rush, racially explosive San Francisco.
Earthquake in the Early Morning
by Mary Pope Osborne
Jack and Annie travel to the devastating 1906 San Francisco earthquake where they meet a reporter and bring kids to safety.

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