Bulldog Breakout: San Fran Edition


Last month, most of the freshmen headed to San Francisco for Bulldog Breakout. Throughout the week, we collectively visited iconic sights, immersed ourselves in the diverse city, visited museums and aquariums, and, most importantly, created memories with our classmates that will last a lifetime. Here is our take on the trip.

Delta group at the Miami airport early on Tuesday morning

Tuesday – Arrival Day It was an early wake-up call for the ninth graders on Tuesday, February 21. The Delta and the American Airlines groups gathered at the airport at 5:30 a.m. and took off at 8 a.m. The Delta group had a three-hour layover in LA; meanwhile, the first group arrived in San Francisco and headed to the Golden Gate Bridge. The second group arrived at around four and headed to Pier 39, missing their opportunity to see the bridge that day. Sea lions gathered in the dock below the pier, and when looking out to the ocean, we could see Alcatraz in the distance.

San Francisco’s Pier 39 during sunset hour

There are shops and a big carousel at the end of the pier. Here, the groups reunited for some free time to shop, look around the pier, and have dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. After the long day of travel, we arrived at the hotel and settled in our rooms at around ten p.m.


Personal Review: Cristina Mascarua

Best Part: The best part of the day was arriving at Pier 39 and getting together with all of my friends from the other group, getting free time to shop, and arriving at the hotel after a long day of travel.
What to do differently: Something to change about the travel day would be one direct flight for all the students instead of giving some a layover. The layover caused some of the students to miss some sights.


Alcatraz Island from a ferry view

Wednesday –  The First Full Day
The day began at around 9 a.m., as we were planning on visiting Alcatraz, the Exploratorium, and the Palace of Fine Arts. Firstly, everyone made their way to the infamous Alcatraz prison, which is only accessible through a Ferry ride off the mainland. On the ferry, we were met with gorgeous views of the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco’s skyline. Once we made it to Alcatraz, we listened to the cell house audio tour, which walked us through the history behind the prison. Soon after, we made it to the Exploratorium, a hands-on museum that explores the world through science, art, and human perception, where we spent a whopping three hours. Next, we visited a massive monumental structure, the Palace of Fine Arts. “The architecture was beautiful. It felt like I was in Greece,” said Zaina Abusad. We ate at an Italian restaurant, Original Joes, at the end of the day.

Personal Review: Eva Falla

The Rotunda at the monumental Palace of Fine Arts

Best Part: The best part of this day would’ve been visiting Alcatraz. The tour included beautiful ferry views, eye-catching prison ground excursions, and an award-winning cell house audio tour. It was a fantastic experience visiting the prison that once housed the world’s most notorious criminals and learning about its history and the stories of the inmates.

What to do differently: If I were to change one thing about this day, it would be the amount of time spent at the Exploratorium. Spending three hours at the museum was excessive because, after an hour, students were already ready to leave since the exhibits started to get repetitive and the museum only took about an hour to go through.


Freshmen Isabella Dalmau and Katalina Kaminsky pictured in Monterrey

Thursday – The Day Trip to Monterey

 We started the day at around 8:45 and traveled two hours from San Francisco to Monterey. Monterey is a coastal city two hours outside of San Francisco where the marine life and scenery are incredible. Our first stop was the well-known Monterey Bay Aquarium. At the aquarium, we saw a variety of sea animals and creatures such as penguins and jellyfish. Then we ventured around the city, stopping at breathtaking photo locations until dinner when we ate at the Fish Hopper. The Fish Hopper offered three delicious options for dinner: a chowder bowl, artichoke pasta, or fish and chips. After dinner, we were given time to get dessert from local restaurants like Ghirardelli, Lily Mae’s Cinnamon Rolls, or Great American Cookies. Later we headed back on our buses for the trip back to the city.


Jellyfish spotted at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Personal Review: Zaina Abusad

Best part: The best part of the day would be exploring the city of Monterey and visiting the local shops. This was the highlight of the day because traversing through the city with my friends and seeing the beautiful city of Monterey was really fun.

What to do differently: Something I would change about this day is the excessive time spent in the aquarium. Instead of spending 4 hours, I would make it two, so we have more time to visit other sites.


Friday – The Last Full Day

Iconic Painted Lady houses better known from the television series “Full House”

Continuing with the early wake-up call, we were all on the bus by 9 A.M. We traveled to the Union Square area where we caught a cable car, a form of transportation typical to San Francisco. This cable car took us to a Westfield mall centered in Union Square. We were allowed some independent shopping time with our friends, which we all enjoyed. The groups gathered, and with our tour guide, we walked toward the iconic San Francisco Chinatown where we walked through the streets filled with Chinese culture and then hopped on the bus to continue our day of sightseeing.

Friday night dinner dance cruise

Our bus continued to drive through the city, and we drove up a mountain to see some of the best views of the entire city at Twin Peaks. We continued through the city, and our next stop was the “Painted Lady” houses, recognized for their extraordinary architecture. We approached Lombard Street to continue our sightseeing. This is considered one of the world’s most crooked streets. Although the day was long, we were not finished yet. Our buses went to the Fisherman Wharf neighborhood where we could walk around and even see the sunset with the bay view. For dinner, we attended a dining dance cruise to celebrate the last night. On board the cruise, we could eat a selection of buffet-style food, see the views, dance while listening to the DJ, and have a good time overall. After an extensive day and night, we finally returned to the hotel where we had to pack up and get ready for the travel day that awaited us.

Personal Review: Katalina Kaminsky

Best Part: The best part of my day on Friday was the evening going to Fisherman’s Wharf and exploring the area with my friends, to end the night/trip with a fun dinner.

What to do differently: I would personally change going up Lombard Street; it was an extensive hike up the street to reach, and it overall didn’t catch my attention.


Saturday – Departure Day

Freshmen Helena Barkus, Emma Grassbaugh, Zaina Abusad, and Diana Darazi sitting in front of the Golden Gate Bridge

Our last day in San Francisco was eventful. We woke up early to store our luggage on the bus and then headed to the California Academy of Science. The Academy consisted of interesting exhibitions, including an albino alligator, a rainforest dome, and an earthquake simulator. We ate lunch at the Academy, which was cafeteria style, and could either sit inside or outside under the chirping birds. After lunch, we walked straight across to a breathtaking Japanese Tea Garden. It was very calming to stroll along the garden, observing the serene nature such as bonsai trees, koi fish, and traditional Japanese architecture. In the afternoon, we hopped back on the bus to go to Lands End Lookout. Lands End Lookout contains ruins and the coastal shoreline at the mouth of the Golden Gate. The trail to the bottom was windy and long, but it had a great view. The Delta flight that missed seeing the Golden Gate Bridge on the first day headed there. The students finally saw the anticipated bridge and some even ventured to walk across it. Finally, we all had dinner at Pier 39. After dinner, the groups split once again. The Delta flight students had to head to the airport for their first flight, whereas the American flight was given more time and had a delicious dessert at Ghirardelli Square. We had passed by Ghirardelli Square throughout the trip, so it was a huge surprise when our tour guide announced we were stopping there. Meanwhile, the Delta flight headed to Atlanta, Georgia, where they had a layover before heading to Miami early Sunday morning. After the sweet treat, we also headed to the airport where we flew directly to Miami on an overnight flight.

Personal Review: Sofia Bordas

Best part: The best part of my day on Saturday was going to Ghirardelli Square and sharing a sundae with my friends.

What to do differently: I would personally not go all the way down to the end of Lands End Lookout; the view was the same from the top, and the trail was very long and cold.