We went to Houston for part of our Christmas vacation. In today’s post, I will tell you about going to the space center there.
We started off by watching a movie about the mission to Mars. It was very interesting. After that, our cousins arrived. We headed to the Angry Birds section. They had a mirror that would tell you how much you weighed on different planets.
Next, we took a tram to some different buildings. One showed engineers building a spaceship that will be going to Mars.
We went on another tram to where we could see the Historic Mission Control room. We also went to the Astronaut Training Center.
We arrived at Pier 33 at Fisherman’s Wharf to get onto the boat. On the way there, we sat on the top of the boat even though it was raining. It was about ten minutes to reach the Alcatraz dock. The boat was big, and it was three stories.
We’re in line!
There’s the boat!
Finally, we arrived cold and wet. We rushed inside. We were going to watch a movie about Alcatraz, but it wasn’t working. We headed to a place that told about Alcatraz. I wanted to go see the cells, but Mom insisted on reading through all the stuff.
Here are the showers!
Finally, we went up to the actual prison. We waited in a long but quick moving line to get our audio tour headsets. There were rows and rows of cells. It talked about how they loved their recreation time. One man said it was like being freed from hell!
Ruins of a house.
We saw John and Clarence Anglin’s cell. Also, we got to see Frank Morris’s cell. In their beds, there were dummy heads that they made to fool the guards. There has been evidence showing that they made it out alive. Most people, like me, hope that they got through the bay water and made it to shore. We learned about the bloodiest Alcatraz escape attempt that failed. It was all very interesting.
Here is Frank Morris cell with the dummy head.
This is what a regular cell looked like!
After we finished the tour, we headed over to the gift shop. I bought a couple things there, and then we boarded the boat to ride back to San Fransisco.
Now there’s one thing that I want to make clear. That picture overhead is the real Golden Gate Bridge. It’s not a background picture.
Anyway, we started off our day by waking up at the same hotel. Our room, had an upstairs and downstairs. We got dressed and ate a big breakfast. After that, we loaded up the car and drove to San Fransisco! We got to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge. It was really pretty. We stopped into Sausalito in Marin County. There was a grassy field, so we ran around there. Then, we drove back across the Golden Gate Bridge.
Our next destination was Chinatown. There were lots of shops filled with colorful clothing, toys, and more. It smelled a lot like Asian food. We did not get out of our car, and I’m glad because there were tons of tourists. I hate being around big crowds.
A little after that, we went to Union Square. There was a TON of homeless people there. It definitely looked like a city. I’m glad that I don’t live in a city.
Next, we drove on the most crooked street in America. There was a long line, and we were going on a steep slope. My mom was so scared, but Dad told her he wouldn’t bring his whole family on the hill if he knew it wasn’t safe. It was fun going down the crooked street.
Palace of Fine Arts
We had a nice time at the Presidio. We walked to Lucasfilm. We took a picture with a Yoda water fountain. We walked a little more to the Palace of Fine Arts. It was mostly outdoors and had pretty architecture. After that, we walked back to Starbucks and got a gingerbread loaf.
Mom took this pic of us from across the lake!
Next, we checked into our hotel. They had a valet, so they parked our car. I think the valet is overpriced. It was sixty bucks per NIGHT! It was a fancy hotel, though. I prefer a hotel with free breakfast that isn’t fancy. Then we can also get a bigger room. We walked to the Boudin Sourdough restaurant and ate dinner there. My sister and I shared a pepperoni pizza. It was very good on sourdough. Yum!
After that, we walked to Ghirardelli. We planned on getting milkshakes, but the line was huge so we got their hot chocolate instead. I’m glad we got that because it was cold, and a milkshake is cold. Hot chocolate is warm.
After that, we slept in our hotel. We had a great day!
We went to the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose! It was super fun. I received a gadget to put on my head, and it read my brainwaves. I had a little tablet that would show my emotions. Most of the time I was super excited. I was anxious sometimes because we kept losing my sister, Sarah. One of my favorite things there was the earthquake simulator. There was also a jet propulsion seat where you tried to hit a fake satellite with a light. It was really hard.
My brain reader!
Another fun thing was the Social Robots. John and Sarah did it for a long time. I only did it for a little while. You could dress up the robot, make toys move on them, and even attach lights.
There was another fun exhibit I liked. It was a building challenge where you had to get a ball over a table without dropping it through the cracks. There were two rules. You weren’t allowed to make a bridge, and you could only use the supplies they had. John and Sarah were working on something together, but I was working by myself. My first try failed, but then one of the workers gave me an idea to fix it. IT WORKED! I got the ball over, and I was not breaking the rules. After I had completed mine, Mom said it was time to leave the exhibit. I would say the basement was the most kid-friendly floor. Everything there was meant for kids.
The upstairs was about bodies. There were a couple cool things, but it was more targeted towards adults.
We had a fun day two. It was Thanksgiving, but we didn’t have a big meal. We had turkey sandwiches!
We started off by eating a big breakfast at our hotel. After that, we hopped into the car to hike at Sweeney Ridge. The hike was beautiful. Once we were high enough, we could see the bay and a water reservoir. It was a hard hike because most of it was uphill. Luckily, on the way back, it was downhill.
Next, we went to Oracle headquarters because my dad used to work there. There was a sailboat that had won the America’s Cup. We took pictures there and read about the boat.
Next, we went to Facebook headquarters. My mom uses Facebook so much, so we took some pictures of her there. The building was very colorful.
Finally, we went to Stanford. They had cool buildings. We raced on the grass, and, obviously, my brother, John won. They even had a church there!
Before our race there.
After that, we went back to our hotel and watched movies. LOL!
For our Thanksgiving travels, we went to northern California.
On day one, we woke up at four in the morning. One hour later, we got into our car and headed to northern California. It was a pretty boring drive up the 5. Some of it was scenic, but we played video games.
Now here comes the actual fun part. We finally made it to the Computer History Museum. There was this cool demo of a self-driving car. Also, there were games like PacMan, Pong, and the first video game ever which was a space game. There was a place where you could listen to noises and a Wikipedia game. There was a room with the first computer. It was giant! I’m so glad that I can use a laptop. There was even an exhibit with robots. We also went to an IBM demonstration. My grandfather used to work for IBM.
Sarah and I.
Daddy and the dummy who was in a car reck.
Pong, an extremly old video game.
Here’s the self-driving car!
The programming game.
After that, we went to Google headquarters just to look around. They had yellow bicycles and some hiking trails. We took pictures at a Google truck which is right down there.
A Google truck.
The Google sign!
Here we are with the Google bikes!
Apple picture with Dad!
Apple picture with Mom!
Our final stop, before the hotel, was Apple headquarters. They even had a store there. In the store, we could test out iPads, iPhones and Apple watches. The only things I tested out were the iPhone X and iPhone 8. I didn’t really like the X because when I try to swipe to get home, it takes me a couple tries. That’s why I like the iPhone 8 more.
After that, we checked into our hotel. They had free dinner just for that day. Tacos! They even had beer and wine. Obviously, I’m not old enough to drink that, though.