Baltimore, Maryland: National Pinball Museum - ClosedTraces the electrifying path of mechanical and computerized arcade machines since 1777. Has a "Pay to Play" room with 100 operating machines from the museum director's collection. Closed in 2011 and again in 2013; currently looking for a new home.
National Pinball Museum: The recent opening of the new National Pinball Museum in Washington, DC marked the fruition of America's latest and most elaborate tribute to the classic coin-operated arcade attraction. [01/24/2011] Complete Story...
Visitor Tips and News About National Pinball Museum - Closed
After being kicked out of its original location in Washington, DC's snooty Georgetown neighborhood, the National Pinball Museum has reopened in a much more welcoming home in Baltimore (a.k.a. Charm City). Four floors, 12,000 square feet of pinball wizardry. $12 buys two hours of unlimited play on over 100 vintage and modern machines.[RoadsideAmerica.com Team, 02/08/2012]
The National Pinball Museum has reduced its admission rates to $3 per person between now and its closing on the Fourth of July. It is worth the visit at full price, but lowered admission means you can spend more on credits! Be sure to bring a roll of quarters and several dimes for some of the older machines. The roll down games manufactured only for Wisconsin (the Dells?) to get around gambling laws are especially fun. And, yes, the floor in the room demonstrating bumper pool aboard ships in the 1700's really moves like you're on the ocean.
A helpful employee let us know the museum is looking to move to Crystal City or Capitol Hill after they close in Georgetown.[Emily W., 06/17/2011]
Latest news is that the Pinball Museum will stay at its current location through September 5, 2011 (Labor Day).
After only six months in business, the National Pinball Museum is being kicked out of its Washington, DC, location. The museum opened in December 2010 in a Georgetown mall, after years of planning by founder/director/pinball devotee David Silverman. According to a statement from Silverman, the mall revoked his lease on May 18 and gave the museum 60 days to get out. Silverman has pledged to stay open through July 4, and has already begun looking for a new and more sympathetic home for the museum.[RoadsideAmerica.com Team, 05/25/2011]
The entrance to the museum is surrounded by display windows. Two contained classic pinball machines, one with a collection of wood rail nursery rhyme-themed games. The others contained sports and war themed backglasses, complete with a hokey mannequin of a fallen soldier with gun and grenade in hand.
The front of the museum has a free play electro-mechanical game (listening for the bell chiming is a good way to locate the museum) and a small gift shop. Your admission includes the entrance fee and a card with some credits to use in the pay to play area.
The main entrance room was set up in a dinosaur theme when I visited, complete with giant pop bumpers and slingshots to give you a pinball's point of view. There were several dinosaur themed pay to play games here, one flanked with massive kitschy dinosaur legs.
From there you begin a historical tour of pinball - starting with some vintage games, followed by a dark theater with a looping film, a series of rooms with manequins interacting with and building pinball's predecessors, then a bunch of interconnecting rooms with dozens of old games. Unfortunately, all of the games in this area (the bulk of those in the museum) are for display only aside from a couple pay to play games including the rare "Big Bang Bar" with it's gyrating tube dancer.
The pay to play room had about 2 dozen games ranging from old to new, a couple of which were broken or stuck. If you run out of credits you can go to the front desk for a recharge. I was a little surprised that I could not come back to play again another day without repaying the admission fee or buying an annual pass, but I guess they are running a museum, not an arcade![Sir, 05/02/2011]