Back in the day, San Francisco’s Ocean Beach housed “Playland,” an amusement area like so many beachside fun zones of yester-year. Today, Ocean Beach has some beige clonish condos and apartments where Playland once stood, which may or may not represent progress depending on your attachment to “It’s It” ice cream sandwiches, arcade games, and skeeball.
You can recapture this golden era of seaside fun at the Musee Mecanique, over at Fisherman’s Wharf. The museum houses a collection of the penny arcade games that were over at Playland. (Along with some skeeball and more recent arcade games from the 1980s.) The best part is that, unlike a museum, you can still touch and play everything on exhibit!
It is worth a special trip over to the Wharf to see if you’re still good at Millipede, to watch a penny-pantomime called “Opium Den” from the early 20th Century, and of course, to hear the demonic, creepy cackle of the legendary Laughing Sal.
Cruise over to the Musee Mecanique at Pier 45, at the end of Taylor Street. If you want a preview of Sal’s demonic cackle, check out the Musee Mecanique’s site online at http://www.museemechanique.org/