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Learn the History of Thumper Bumpers at Pacific Pinball Museum

Want to play a variety of more than 85 pinball machines for hours without fiddling with quarters? Step into the Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda, CA.

Want to play a variety of more than 85 pinball machines for hours without fiddling with quarters? Step into the Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda, CA, pay the entry fee, and then make the rounds through room after room of pinball machines all set on free play. And since this is a museum, not an arcade, you’ll probably leave at the end of the day knowing more about the art, history, and technology of pinball machines than you could have expected.

When you first step into the museum, you’ll see an assortment of pinball themed artwork, postcards, books and T-shirts for sale. If you’re like me, you’ll be interested in making your way quickly toward the rows of pinball machines you can see lining the room – the bells and whistles, dazzling lights, and that unmistakable sound of the balls thumping the bumpers and flippers, drawing you in like a … well, like a kid in a pinball arcade. But if you can summon the will power, squelching the urge to run to the machines long enough to browse through the assorted informational and entertaining items in the lobby can even intensify your appreciation of the world of pinball machines.

After you pay your entry fee and the cashier waves you through into the first room of the museum, again it’s worth the effort to resist rushing toward the enticing, shiny pinball machines, because otherwise you will miss seeing some of the first pinball machines to grace our planet. Here you can see about a dozen early models, including the 1871 Bagatelle and the 1931 Whiffle Board. These machines are arranged behind a cordon befitting their historic importance to pinball gaming fans.


Pacific Pinball Museum
1510 Webster St., Alameda, CA 94501
Website: http://www.pacificpinball.org
Tues., Wed., Thurs. – 2 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Fri. – 2 p.m. to 12 midnight
Sat. – 11 a.m. to 12 midnight
Sun. – 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Mon. – Closed
Entry Fee: Adults – $15; Children 12 and under – $7.50

The entry fee gives you all day access to the museum (and playing pinball machines!), with in and out privileges.

Phone: 510-205-6959 – Call to confirm hours, holidays, etc.

Once you get to the Pacific Pinball Museum, you’ll find that the first room opens into several other rooms, one with extensive displays highlighting prominent pinball backglass artists, another room with early machines that kids today still love to play, such as the Bimbo 3 Ring Circus, and more rooms packed with pinball machines just waiting for you to step up and accept their challenge.

The Museum admittance allows in and out privileges, so throughout the day you can visit other places in the area, such as one of the many ethnic restaurants within walking distance, or take a short drive to the beautiful beach walk and parks on Alameda’s Crown Memorial State Beach where, on a clear day, you can take in a stunning view of the San Francisco skyline across the San Francisco Bay.

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