Down at the very end of Taylor Street just across the Embarcadero, sharing Pier 45 with the USS Pampanito Submarine museum and the SS Jeremiah O'Brien Liberty Ship you'll find a window into the fun and wonder of times past known as the Musée Mécanique. First opened in 1972 by vintage arcade game collector Edward Zelinsky on the lower level of the Cliff House, the historical arcade moved to its new home in 2001 and is currently operated by son Dan Zelinsky.
Home to over 300 mechanical machines, the museum operates as both a Hall of Fame and a functioning arcade, with Fun House mirrors and vintage carnival ride pieces on display and working games of all sorts. With free admission, it's easy to while away an hour or two without spending a dime, but you'll find it hard to resist spending a few quarters on the many and varied amusements offering everything from your horoscope to an assessment of your sexual attractiveness.
Most of the attractions are simple games of skill or chance, however, and they span the gamut of twentieth-century technology, including machines mechanical, electro-mechanical, and video. Start with the mechanical puppet shows and work your way to the far end of the space where are nestled a collection of classic video games like Ms. Pac-Man, X-Men Vs Street Fighter, Galaxion, Space Invaders, and the greatest of them all, Centipede.
Ask Dan Zelinsky what he thinks is the star attraction in the place and he'll admit to a particular fondness for the player pianos, but he'd advise you to check out "whatever catches your eye. There's a reason it did." And there's plenty that will. The Musée Mécanique is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.
Explorer J. Eric Miller crash-landed on the alien world of San Francisco in the last millennium. Trapped in a world he never imagined, he seeks escape in his experience of living. Read more about it at: theupsanddownsofsanfrancisco.tumblr.com