Every inch of Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum has a vintage American treasure to discover – from planes flying above, suspended from a laundry conveyor, to any type of coin-operated machine your kids could imagine.
This Farmington Hills spot’s namesake, Marvin Yagoda, spent his life collecting pinball machines, gadgets and unusual pieces like automatons and nearly life-like fortuneteller machines that seem to be staring right through you as you place your quarter in the slot. Wanting to share his collection with others, Yagoda opened this 5,500-square-foot trove in 1990, adding to it over the years.
“This was my father’s passion. He did this because he loved it,” says Yagoda’s son, Jeremy. “The fact that it paid its bills was just an added bonus to him.”
Jeremy is planning to continue in his father’s footsteps (Yagoda passed away in January).
“As I grew up doing this, it is a fun business! You are dealing with people who are generally in a good mood to start, and it’s just great to see people come and go with a smile,” he says. “I plan on keeping this going.”
Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum
- Address: 31005 Orchard Lake Road, Farmington Hills
- Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday,
11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday
- Admission Free entry
- Website: marvin3m.com
This Place is Popping
Still a fixture at any movie theater, popcorn makers have a long history in the U.S. And, strolling Ohio’s Wyandot Popcorn Museum – about 90 minutes south of Sandusky – it’s easy to see why. Take the 1918 Holcomb & Hoke Butter-Kist machine. “Every kernel was mechanically and uniformly ‘Kist’ with pure creamery butter,” says Gale E. Martin, director of the Marion County Historical Society, also housed here. It joins the country’s largest collection of popcorn wagons and peanut roasters. Guests are even offered fresh popcorn to munch as they explore. Don’t forget to stop by Stewart’s Root Beer (also in house) for an old-time float treat that dates back to 1924. wyandotpopcornmus.com.
The Original Daredevil
Your kids may not know “the godfather of extreme sports,” but they won’t be able to stop talking about him after visiting the new Evel Knievel Museum in Topeka, Kansas. Robert “Evel” Knievel grabbed headlines in the mid ’60s to early ’80s with crazy stunts like jumping over a line of double-decker buses or 50 cars – all in colorful outfits. Simulators let kids make the leap, too, without leaving the ground. evelknievelmuseum.com.