Choose Between Two Options
- $35 for family admission for six, including two adults and four children ($70 value)
- $25 for family admission for four, including two adults and two children ($50 value)
Not many history museums feel like an arcade, especially now that the Smithsonian no longer keeps the Hope Diamond inside a claw machine. Playland-Not-at-the-Beach aims to change that. Its Coney Island Pinball Museum chronicles the 1930s through the 1970s with the flashing lights and electronic beeps of more than 30 fully operational pinball machines. Visitors can test their flipper-thumbs on vintage baggatelles, woodrails, and configurations both pre- and post-electronic. Nearby, Pinball Alley showcases more modern machines like Star Wars. But there is one stark break from strict historical accuracy—these arcade games are completely free, requiring no quarters or bushels of crops to play.
There are plenty of reasons to take a break from gaming and explore Playland-Not-at-the-Beach's other areas. A hand-carved display stands front and center at the Circus Sideshow, depicting a tent with a sword swallower and other performers. Spooky lights and sound effects pay tribute to haunted attractions at Dark Mystery. Laughing Sal's Theater, meanwhile, projects historical footage of the center's namesake: the old Whitney's Playland at the Beach amusement park, which was once one of San Francisco's favorite attractions. Beyond the games and displays, Playland-Not-at-the-Beach hosts performances from magicians and other entertainers, including Professor B and his flea circus.