When we were in California you may remember that we took a day trip to San Francisco.

We drove across the Golden Gate Bridge almost twice due to getting lost as we typically do in San Francisco… too many one way streets!

We strolled through Golden Gate park and saw things like pretty birds and enlarged safety pins.

We hit Pier 39 and watched a woman balancing on a cable while juggling fire, warning the people below, “Sorry if I drop this on you.”


We ate at Fisherman’s Grotto No. 9, My Dad’s favorite place to eat in San Francisco since something like 1963.


But what I found to be the most entertaining part of the day was the Musée Mécanique located just across from Fisherman’s Grotto No. 9 at Pier 45.

The disconcerting lady of the harbor, Laughing Sal is the first to greet you when you enter the enchanting Musée. Laughing Sal, if you ask me, is the stuff that nightmares are made of but apparently she was quite the popular dame once upon a time. For I saw her clone encased in glass at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk as well. My Mom tells me that my Aunt, a quiet unassuming lady, once upon a time could mimic Laughing Sal rather flawlessly. Don’t ask me what happened to Sal’s front tooth. I like to think that it got knocked out in a bar fight.


The kids had a fabulous time dropping quarters into all of these working antiques. I’m sure you all know that it was really the grown ups who kept stuffing coins into the hands of the children because the grown ups were the ones who really couldn’t get enough of it. When I say this place is enchanting, I really do mean it. I was mesmerized by the amount of detail that some of these things involved. One could spend a couple of hours in this place, if one had enough quarters that is.

This particular box was about the size of my living room and had an entire miniature fairgrounds with every possible detail you can imagine, all moving to the music of the band.

This was by far my favorite exhibit at the museum. You can see by my child’s face in the reflection there that it truly was mesmerizing.

And while all of this was enchanting and mesmerizing and captivating and all of those words with similar meanings, it was also just a wee bit creepy which is proof that I’ve watched too many movies. Around every corner I could just imagine these machines suddenly coming to life or following me with their glazed over eyes or a person being there alone at night only to find out that all of the working machines were (((GASP))) unplugged all along!!! Aahhhh!!! (Yes, I have an overactive imagination.)

I mean, try and tell me that you can’t imagine this clown coming to life and dancing incessantly whether or not you were paying him quarters. Look at his face. He’s too happy. He knows something.

5 thoughts on “The Musée Mécanique

  1. Nan, I love your last comment about that clown. It made me laugh out loud. I think he looks creepy. Hmmm…combine him with the Chinese food I had for dinner and it might just be the right combo for a nightmare. Well, whatever he knows, I hope he does not share it with me.

  2. Eeek! NO!!! NOT THE CLOWNS!!!!! I seriously couldn’t have made it through that exhibit. Not, it’s not just you. I tried to be brave once at a sleepover and watch Chucky. I’m ruined now. I can’t take that stuff. Creepy, creepy, creepy.

  3. I can’t believe that I’ve never been there — I’ve been to SF quite a few times.well.. next time

  4. Wow, SF looks pretty interesting. I really need to get over my dislike of big cities and take a road trip! That clown is creepy though. Nice blog! Best regards,-Amanda-Kid Tricks

  5. Wow that sounds like a fun day. All those toys are way to cool and I would have been mesmorized also. I do have to agree that the clown was a bit creepy and I don’t have a fear of clowns either.

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