San francisco, part 5...weird and wonderful!

We owe this particular discovery entirely to our SF friends who made us those wonderful maps. The Musée Mechanique is one of those oddities that you wouldn't be likely to find on your own in a city you didn't know. It's in the heart of "touristville", down by Fisherman's Wharf, where we might not even have bothered to go if it weren't for our little map. Fisherman's wharf is a bit of a nightmare of cheap souvenir shops, chain restaurants, candy factories and caricature stands.
But deep in the heart of it is this offbeat collection of antique arcade games and curiosities. It's just a warehouse space with no heat and poor lighting, not curated like a museum as you'd expect from a collection this elaborate. But oh, the wonders of bygone eras to be discovered inside!
QQ's favorites were the contraptions that made music. What do you call these? I don't think it's a calliope, because I think those involved steam....but it's like an elaborately mutated player piano, complete with cymbals, drums and other instruments inside its glass enclosure. A quarter buys you a song, or several, depending on the machine.
QQ was delighted and riveted. We couldnt' tear her away.
Fortunately there were a number of different ones in the building, each with its own repertoire of music. We fed a quarter to each and every one.
You've gotta love the mood/love/personality detectors. I had my palm read by a weird machine that shot blunt pins up against the palm of your hand, and then spit out a rather mystical little card, predicting your future.

I love everything about this one...but my favorite part is how they cut the price from 50 cents to 25 cents. I guess "snake eats snake" just isn't as shocking a concept as it once was.
An elaborate bell tower, played by clay monks.
A shipboard ballroom. This one makes me think "titanic".

Am I the only one who misses target-shooting games that involved actual toy guns? OK, I understand why shooting tin ducks with b-bs was not all that safe. But I still miss it.
An amusement park made entirely of toothpicks.
Only in SF.
I adore these old signs.
Yes, the whole band played at the drop of a quarter.

QQ had a blast. Although I think this funny expression is a product of her trembling chin, which happened every time we walked outdoors in SF. She definitely was not suited for the humid, foggy climate, or the chill breezes off the ocean.


Yoli said...

She adorable all bundled up.

Vivian M said...

QQ is lovely and what a wonderful arcade!

sarahthefantastic said...

We were at an empty beach town today with some pretty great signs. I was thinking of you as we drove by. So atmospheric. Thanks for the SF trip. It's lots of fun seeing the world with QQ. xoxo...