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article imageTraveling back in time with Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum Special

By Chrystal Mahan     Jul 11, 2013 in Travel
Farmington - Sometimes it takes something out of the ordinary to open your eyes to the wonderful world around you. Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum helps with that.
Recently, the local deals and travel discount site Living Social posted an offer to Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum for a two-person admission package for the 70 percent discounted price of $7. With this $7 came $3 for each person (all in quarters) a popcorn and a drink.
From Living Social: “More Than Moving Parts
Founded in 1990, this intriguing shop boasts hundreds of vintage coin-operated machines from the past 60 years, each of which offers a unique, often-quirky glimpse into the past. The Oakland Press praises owner Marvin Yagoda's eclectic collection of arcade games, fortune tellers, and other novelties as "every little kid's dream," a mechanical wonderland that shifts and changes so often, it nearly seems alive itself. Whether you're looking for historical penny arcade classics or their modern equivalent, Marvin's is sure to make your eyes go wide -- and leave your spirits soaring.”
It seemed like a good deal and something fun to check out. After the hour-long drive it became clear that this place didn’t charge an admission fee and it didn’t hold very many people. When the cashier took our vouchers and warned us that the large party of children had just arrived it was as if she was trying to tell us we should come back later.
There is a lot to look at. Anyone claustrophobic is advised to stay away. So many rows of machines packed tightly means the humans are packed even tighter. With 30 kids and a few sets of parents along with other patrons in the museum made for that “pack of sardines” feel. If there was a machine you wanted to visit, and someone was in your path to get to it, you had to either find an alternate route or wait for them to finish. The pathways had no room for a passing lane in the 5000 square foot museum.
However, it was worth the drive. Once we found a path to take, we graciously used our quarters to check out many of the nostalgic machines including Mrs. Pac-Man and Galaga. Many of the entertaining games and attractions spit out tickets to later be redeemed for prizes. Every turn and twist were full of vintage and unusual coin-operated machines. Hidden in one corner (or maybe two) was a few “peep show” machines that once boasted a penny price tag. Marvin’s is even home to the “world’s first auto wed machine” where couples can toss in four quarters and walk out married by Marvin. Obviously, all for fun.
As the birthday party ran on, owner Marvin Yagoda eagerly handed out extra quarters to the boys in the party. If that is not exceptional customer service, than we are not sure what it.
Sadly, many of the antique machines were there for looks and not for play. When given the chance to look up, the ceiling hosts many movie posters, movie props and even model airplanes. Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum, located in Farmington Hills, Michigan, has been featured on “American Pickers,” “The World Almanac,” “Ladies Home Journal,” “Us Weekly,” “The History Channel” and “The Antiques Roadshow.”
Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum is definitely a hidden treasure in Michigan and can provide a family with hours of entertainment.
Interested in more photos? Check out my Flickr photo set.
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©Chrystal Mahan. All Rights Reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced without prior permissions from the author. Partial reposting is permitted with a link back to the original article.
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