Yesterday we did something unusual and went to a local arcade museum. It is one of those places that others travel a bit to get to, but are nearby us so we never go. I’m not much of a pinball player, and I don’t think I spent a dime there, but I had a great afternoon poking around the old carny machines and fortune tellers and paintings on the head of a pin or grain of rice. The old machines were cheek-by-jowl to the laser gun shoot-em-up arcade games, so it was an afternoon of discovery. It could have been more of a museum with a hands-off attitude – some of the displays looked really old and were from a time long past. But these were meant for fun, and patrons were happily putting their quarters in the slots all over the building, just to see what this one or that one did.
The place was a bit of a madhouse on a Saturday afternoon, and not everybody really wanted to be there. There were toddlers being dragged along by grandparents and parents who clearly just wanted an excuse to play. Some of the carnival-type machines were a bit creepy and others tested strength and bravery by shock or surprise. Most of the electronic games were geared to teen interest and above, but a few of the old mini rides were geared to the little ones. Something for everyone, just as P.T. Barnum had envisioned.
My girls enthusiastically dove in. One was sucked in by a game of chance, another by tossing games, and yet another flitted from game to game like a bee in a garden. My afternoon was spent not only peering at exhibits, but discovering where my chicks had landed next. My camera was busy to the point of irritating my middle child, so I consider it to have been a successful day.
Oh, I suppose I did spend a quarter. Just before we left I cadged a coin from one of the girls and tried my hand at one of those love-o-meters. You know, the kind you pop the coin in the slot, squeeze a handle, and it judges how “hot” you are.
It came up at NAUGHTY, so it seems all is not lost.