I recently was in Riverside County, California, on a business trip. I ended up with an afternoon of “free time.” I took a side trip to the town of Banning to check out the Museum of Pinball. That proved to be a truly unforgettable experience.
I was able to get into the Museum of Pinball because a tournament was going on that day. The Museum of Pinball is not open on a day to day basis at this time. It is open to the public when events of different types are occurring in at the Museum of Pinball
A History Lesson
The first thing that happened when I arrived at the Museum of Pinball was I received a history lesson. In that process, I learned that “if pinball was born in a pizza parlor, raised in a bar, and went to school in a bowling alley, it has grown up and gotten a real job at the Museum of Pinball.”
The Museum of Pinball opened its doors in 2013. According to the team at the museum, the venue has the largest pinball arcade in the world.
A Look at the Museum of Pinball Venue
The Museum of Pinball is located in what was once a warehouse by the aerospace and defense manufacturing industry. The building houses over 600 pinball machines. In addition, there are 300 other types of arcade machines in the facility.
The pinball machines in the museum include a number of truly unique ones. These include the Hercules that uses cue balls in place of much smaller pinballs. It also includes Joust, a pinball machine designed for two players who compete head to head at the same time.
The oldest pinball machine in the museum is from the 1940s. The machine comes complete with bowling ball-like pins. There also a considerable number of electro-mechanical machines. These combine mechanical pinball machine workings together with video displays.
A unique feature of the building is that it produces its own energy. In fact, it produces more than enough to meet the needs of the facility as well to assist in powering other buildings in the area.
Founder of the Museum of Pinball
The Museum of Pinball was created by former arcade owner John Weeks. He started collecting pinball machines in 2004 with the idea of opening a new arcade and bar in Los Angeles.
Ultimately, Weeks decided he wanted to open the largest arcade in the world. From that dream came the Museum of Pinball.
My Day at the Museum
As I mentioned, the Museum of Pinball is not open on a regular basis. I happened to be in town during a competition at the museum. Thus, I was able to spend time in the museum.
While there, I was able to check out a number of the machines. The machines on display at the Museum of Pinball are all said to be in playable condition. They are not merely to be looked out.
In addition to checking out and playing some of the machines myself, I also had the chance to see some talented players play because of the competition that was going on the day I was at the venue. Watching these talented people play pinball was a truly unique and amazing experience. I never imagined how in intense a pinball competition could be in so many different ways.
There was some talk that the day may come when the Museum of Pinball is open more regular hours to cater to the general public that seems to have a significant interest in visiting the venue. I truly think that would be an amazing development.
This is a Guest post by Jessica Kane. Jessica is a writer for , the best online source for new, used, and refurbished pinball machines, arcade cabinets, and more!