A myriad of pinball machines from old to new. Every machine is free once you pay the entrance fee.
Regular hours are weekdays: Tues, Wed, Thurs - 2pm to 9pm - Friday 2pm to 12 midnight (Closed Mondays.)
Weekends: Saturday 11am to 12 midnight - Sunday: 11am to 9pm
Are you hopeless at the Wii, the PlayStation, and even Angry Birds? Are you searching for some sort of gaming common ground to bring you and your kids together? The Pacific Pinball Museum can help!
If you can’t help being skeptical, I have the proof. I ventured here with a pinball wizard (my husband) and a Wii-playing expert (my 11-year-old daughter) in tow. They were instantly mesmerized by the dings, bings and pings filling the air. And when they were told that the ninety machines in the place were set to free play, tears of joy welled in their eyes. Father and daughter ran gleefully into the museum and began heated competition over several Sci –Fi themed machines. I would later learn that their favorite games were the ones allowing four players, which meant they were each able to take two play slots, a situation that apparently yields a greater opportunity for achieving pinball domination.
Founded in 2001, many of the games at the Pacific Pinball Museum are vintage classics with names like Dragonette, Big Ben, and Royal Flush. The games get more modern the further you venture into this 4-room establishment.
For a novice pinball player like me, the museum offers an education. In a room between pinball galleries visitors can take in short films that provide a tour inside a pinball machine as well as tips on tilting and other strategies for improving your game. The walls of the museum are also lined with a celebratory exhibit of pinball art, memorabilia, and history.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND IF YOU’RE GOING:
-Make this a day trip: The museum is located on the former naval island of Alameda, almost an hour north of San Jose. My family spent nearly four hours maneuvering pinball flippers and high fiving in the glow of the machines’ flashing lights.
-Fuel up before entering: While there are vending machines inside the museum, no food or drink is allowed around the machines. We dined at Café Jolie, just a couple of doors down. My kids deemed their Mac and Cheese, “the best EVER!”
-Ins and Outs: If your family will allow you to peel them away from the machines for some nourishment, ins and outs are allowed here just get your hand stamped.
-Parking is metered, even on weekends. After 6PM, parking is free.
This review is based on a complimentary visit to the Pinball Museum. I received no other compensation and was not asked to express a particular point of view. My opinions are entirely my own.