Back in February, we visited Oakland and the East Bay for a long weekend. The weather was unusually rainy the whole time we were there. It was also not warm, which wasn’t too surprising. But in general, we wanted to find fun indoor activities. It’s nasty and rainy as I write this, which reminded me of the trip.
Some friends of ours had previously been to and strongly recommended the Pacific Pinball Museum as a good thing to do in the area. Jeff and I went to a pinball museum in Las Vegas, which was fun but mostly just okay. So we were a little skeptical.
We decided to give this pinball museum a try anyway. It’s in Alameda, so you’ll either have to transfer to a bus from BART or be like the locals and take Lyft. We had access to a car, and they have limited free parking on weekends in their lot.
Side note: I actually really like Alameda, and part of me secretly wants to move there someday.
Anyway, about the museum: it was founded in 2004, and they have over 90 playable machines that are all accessible on free play for one flat admission fee (at the time of writing, it is $20 for adults). I think this was what made it a more fun experience than the Las Vegas museum. There, you had to pay for each play. You could easily spend way too much if you were really bad at pinball. We were carefully watching our spending, so we didn’t just enjoy the experience.
But with a flat fee, you can play as much as you want, and we played a lot. Pinball isn’t something I’ve played a lot of. I know someone in a pinball league in Chicago, but still never really thought of it as something I could be good at. Yet the more I played, the more I understood that there were strategies and that you can get better. I also learned a little bit about what I like in a pinball machine (mostly fun effects).
I liked that the museum was grouped into different time period sections. The ones I liked best were newer machines for the most part. My favorite was Medieval Madness, a machine from 1997 where you can destroy a castle and fight trolls and stuff.
We spent several hours playing pinball, and it was a great time. If you like pinball, or you’re looking for something to do inside on a dreary day in the East Bay, the Pacific Pinball Museum could be right for you!
Do you like pinball?