In 2011, when we sold our home and jettisoned our possessions, one item we missed was our vintage Genie pinball machine. Fortunately, there are plenty of places to play pinball around the country, one of which is not far from Philly.
Pinball Hall of Fame, Las Vegas. Two miles off the strip is the National Pinball Hall of Fame, with flashing lights of a different nature. Tim Arnold has more than 250 vintage games on display, and, best of all, they are in top playing condition. To stretch your playing time, seek out the older machines, which still give five balls for 25 cents. www.PinballMuseum.org
Seattle Pinball Museum, Seattle. Located in Seattle's Chinatown, this museum is run by Cindy and Charlie Martin. More than 50 games are available for a single admission fee. www.SeattlePinballMuseum.com
Level Up Arcade, Eugene, Ore. This combination arcade and bar is popular with college students. Although it's a bar, those under 21 are allowed to play until 9 p.m.; after that, the grown-ups get to act like kids on the 25 pinball machines. www.LevelUpArcade.com
Pacific Pinball Museum, Alameda, Calif. In the shadow of San Francisco on Alameda Island, this arcade offers classes on the cultural history and unique artwork of pinball in America. Five rooms are packed with 100 machines on which to play. www.PacificPinball.org
Silverball Museum Arcade, Asbury, Park, N.J. Closer to home, the Silverball Museum Arcade provides a festive time on the boardwalk. Though it's billed as a museum, it's definitely of the "please touch" variety, as you can play the more than 100 games (and Michael can play his beloved Genie) for a reasonable hourly fee, so there's no need to keep reaching for quarters. And because this is the Jersey Shore, you can also feast on funnel cakes and saltwater taffy from the cafe. www.SilverballMuseum.com
Whether you're traveling to Soho or down to Brighton, here's a handy website to find pinball machines around the world during your travels: pinside.com/pinball/map