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Exploring the Fascinating Musée Mécanique at Fisherman’s Wharf

If you’re planning a visit to San Francisco’s iconic Fisherman’s Wharf, you’re in for a treat. This bustling waterfront neighborhood is famous for its seafood, stunning views, and a plethora of attractions that capture the essence of the city by the bay. One such gem tucked away in the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf is the Musée Mécanique – a hidden treasure trove of mechanical wonders and vintage arcade games. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into this fascinating place, exploring its history, unique exhibits, and why it’s a must-visit for anyone exploring San Francisco.

The History Behind Musée Mécanique

  • Located at Pier 45, the Musée Mécanique has a rich history that dates back to the early 20th century.
  • It all began with the passion of one man, Edward Galland Zelinsky, who started collecting coin-operated machines in the 1930s.
  • Over the years, Zelinsky’s collection grew, and in 2002, it found its current home at Fisherman’s Wharf.
  • The Musée Mécanique is now owned and operated by his family, preserving his legacy for future generations to enjoy.

A Walk Through Time

As you step inside the Musée Mécanique, you’ll be transported back in time. The museum boasts an extensive collection of vintage arcade games, mechanical musical instruments, and oddities that will leave you both amazed and nostalgic.

Vintage Arcade Games

  • The highlight of the museum is undoubtedly its vast array of vintage arcade games. From the early 20th-century fortune tellers to the classic pinball machines, there’s something for everyone here.
  • Challenge your friends to a game of air hockey or try your luck at the claw machines. You’ll find games that are rare and difficult to find anywhere else.

Mechanical Musical Instruments

  • Be prepared to be serenaded by a cacophony of mechanical musical instruments. From player pianos to music boxes, these antique wonders will fill the air with melodious tunes.
  • Don’t forget to catch one of the regular performances of the ‘Laffing Sal’ – a cackling mechanical figure that has been entertaining visitors for decades.

Oddities and Quirky Exhibits

  • Musée Mécanique also features a collection of oddities and curiosities. See a two-headed calf, shrunken heads, and other peculiar artifacts that will pique your curiosity.

An Affordable Attraction

One of the best things about the Musée Mécanique is that it won’t break the bank. Most of the exhibits operate on quarters, making it an affordable attraction for visitors of all ages.

Visiting Tips

Before you head to Musée Mécanique, here are some handy tips:

  • Opening Hours: The museum is typically open 365 days a year from 10 am to 8 pm, but it’s a good idea to check their website for the latest hours, especially on holidays.
  • Admission: While there is no admission fee, you’ll need quarters to play the games and instruments. So, make sure to bring some change.
  • Photography: Feel free to take photos, but be mindful of other visitors and the exhibits.

Add a stop at Musée Mécanique to your “Must Visit” list 

In a city known for its innovation and modernity, the Musée Mécanique offers a charming and nostalgic glimpse into the past. Whether you’re a history buff, a vintage game enthusiast, or simply looking for a unique experience in San Francisco, this hidden gem at Fisherman’s Wharf is sure to leave you with fond memories and a deeper appreciation for the history of entertainment. So, don’t miss out on this delightful journey through time on your next visit to San Francisco!



Information and photos provided by Musee Mechanique

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