Attractions

February 1, 2006

This former maximum-security federal penitentiary held such notorious criminals as Al Capone, "Creepy" Carpis and Robert Stroud, the "Birdman of Alcatraz." It was a prison from 1934 to 1963 and reopened in 1972 as a recreation area with a self-guiding trail, cellblock tour, slide show and ranger programs. Wear warm clothes and comfortable shoes. Call (415) 705-5555 for times of departure from Pier 41.

Angel Island
Angel Island State Park, a short ferry ride from Fisherman's Wharf's Pier 41, is the largest island in the bay and has miles of hiking trails and bike paths, plus picnic areas. Historic structures from this West Coast internment camp still remain. A tram tour circles the island. Bike rentals are available at Ayala Cove. For kayak tours, call (415) 488-1000. Campsites are available for overnight stays. For park information, call (415) 435-1915; for ferry information, call (415) 705-5555.

Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39
Explore the San Francisco Bay as you walk through 300 feet of crystal-clear underwater tunnels. See, touch and learn the story of the living Bay. Open daily, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (hours subject to change). Beach Street and The Embarcadero. (888) SEA-DIVE.

Bay Area Discovery Museum
This family fun museum has hands-on exhibits focusing on science, art and multimedia. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. East Fort Baker, Sausalito. (415) 487-4398.

Cable Car Barn & Powerhouse
Firsthand look at the massive cables and machinery that power the system. The on-site Cable Car Museum has historic memorabilia and antique cable cars. Gift shop. Open daily, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free. 1201 Mason St. at Washington Street. (415) 474-1887.

California Academy of Sciences
Earth, ocean, space are all in one place. This world-famous center of research and education in the natural sciences contains a popular museum complex featuring the Natural History Museum and the Steinhart Aquarium. Open daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Golden Gate Park. (415) 321-8000.

Coit Tower
Firemen saved the life of Lillie Coit as a child and this heiress built the observation tower in their honor. Coit Tower is the best way to see a panorama of the city from atop Telegraph Hill. You can climb the stairs or take the 39 ("Coit") bus. Open daily, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tours on Tuesday and Thursday at 10:15 a.m. Call (415) 362-0808 for more information.

The Exploratorium
The historic Palace of Fine Arts is home to Exploratorium, referred to as "the best science museum in the world," with more than 650 hands-on exhibits. Open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 3601 Lyon St. at Marina Boulevard. (415) EXPLORE (397-5673).