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Musée Mécanique, San Francisco



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Indulge your inner child at the Musée Mécanique, a coin-op amusement palace housed in a warehouse on San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. This hands-on funhouse comprises one of the world’s largest private collections of coin-operated, antique penny-arcade machines, automatons, and mechanical musical instruments. Even better, every one of the 300-plus machines is in working order. The cacophony greeting visitors upon entry might include Laughing Sal’s bizarre cackling, the Bimbo Box monkey band performing Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass tunes, and Wurlitzers and mechanical pianos playing. There are vintage video and pinball games, macabre executions, a working farm with more than 150 moving objects, fortune-tellers, games of strength, World Series baseball, dancing and singing marionettes, peep shows, and even old-time photo booths. Musée Mécanique attracts all ages, from families with tykes to nostalgic adults. Admission is free, most machines cost 25-75 cents, and there’s a change machine on the premises.

MUSÉE MÉCANIQUE Pier 45, Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco, 415-346-2000,

Hilary Nangle can be reached at
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