Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Playland Not By The Beach

Although not exactly the collection from the original Playland by the Beach, El Cerrito's homage via Playland Not by the Beach does bring a little of that nostalgia pre-smart phones and tablets, to the simple times of pinball machines and arcade games. 

Unfortunately and coincidentally, it is deja vu all over again as they are facing the same fate as the original Playland where their home is being sold to be turned into condos.  While a small part of me understands that profit is attractive, I cannot help rooting for the underdog especially when the little guy brings so much joy to patrons of all ages. 

Open only on weekends unless it is spring break or special hours like the twice a month 18 and over, Playland After Dark on the second Tuesday and last Thursday of the month from 6-10pm for just $10pp.  For those without kids, this is the best time to come. 

Wanting to experience it at a leisurely pace, we arrived shortly after it opened and had the place practically to ourselves and a choice whether to dive straight into the games or walk through the museum like mini exhibits first.  We chose the latter.  Although kids would probably love the mini circus replica,

the World of Charles Dickens

and Santa's Village

were my favorite reminiscent of that Department 54 mini village that use to be on display at the Hyatt.

For those who love Halloween or just want a quick break from the carnival like games or handful of arcade games, you would enjoy the mini Haunted House right next to it. 

Speaking of carnival games where you can win tickets to trade for a prize just like a real carnival, you have the option of Skee Ball which is probably the most modern of the carnival games to a simple tic tac toe bean bag toss. 

It is here that you can also enjoy Laughing Sal's (a replica and not from the original Playland) hooting and hollering or was that us trying not to smile. 

Passing the SF mini display,

you enter multiple rooms of pinball machines that I wish I was much better at. 

Good thing all games were free with admission, otherwise I would be putting coins in faster than a Vegas slot machine. 

Finally before leaving, make sure to have a few minutes for the Disney room, which is perfect for this Mickey Mouse loving girl.  

You still have through the summer to enjoy this wonderful collection and hopefully in that time they will find a way to move this collection to a new location as just like the original Playland by the Beach which is housed at the Musee Mecanique in SF, it is meant to be enjoyed and not kept in storage.

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