Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum

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Last weekend I stopped into Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum in Farmington Hills, MI. I first heard of this mesmerizing monstrosity on one of my favorite websites: roadsideamerica.com. This was not my first visit to Marvin's, but I don't think I could ever get tired of seeing the place! Considering that I live in northeast Ohio, I don't get many opportunities to go, but when I do find myself in the area, I think I'll always be tempted to pop in for a visit. If you have a magnetism for magical mayhem and mysterious machines I highly recommend Marvin's if you're ever in Michigan.

Every inch of Marvins Marvelous Mechanical Museum's 5500 square feet of floor space with 40 foot ceilings containing an array of buzzing and clattering new and vintage mechanical devices and oddities. Overhead dangle signs, animatronic dummies, over 50 airplane models gliding along a steel rail, vintage fans of all types, and classic sideshow posters. Marvin himself travels the world looking for odd coin operated devices, both new and old. Some of his machines are custom made just for him, and can not be seen in operation anywhere else. Marvin's is also listed in the World Almanac's 100 most unusual museums in the U.S.

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From the Upcoming Queue, submitted by Luci.


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"Nickelodeons" THANK YOU, I could NOT remember what those things are called. Cedar Point's museum sounds like an incentive for me to get back up there. I haven't been since before they built the Millennium Force, which is pretty sad since I'm only a couple hours away (from where I sit at work I could probably walk to Pennsylvania in under a half hour). Somebody needs to do a post on antique-style amusement parks that are still in operation, like Kennywood in Pittsburgh. Props to Cedar Point though, it does have some of that feel about it still.
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Since you're in Northeast Ohio, have you ever seen Cedar Point's Museum? Not nearly as many things in it as Marvin's, but there some fascinating pieces in there (a mechanical violin and INTENSE cuckoo clock, both sadly not working). You can still play some turn-of-the-century arcade games, though.
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Ah, I remember the old nickelodeons - those were pretty cool machines. I'll have to stop by next time I pass through Detroit.
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Nice post Luci! Granted, I'm biased because she's my sister and I was there too. The hand in the mechanical dog-bitey cage is indeed still there (we got my girlfriend to try it in the hopes of making her jump out of her skin, ;) though we merely got some amusing squirming out of her), but it's only a fair example of all the other bizarre things there. The "Museum" part of the title is no lie: there are some genuinely antique boardwalk type of attractions that are pushing 100 years old, sometimes right next to a brand-new arcade game or pinball machine. I think my favorite part is the player piano/calliope/automaton instrument hybrid thingamajig. You wouldn't think he could cram all that crazy stuff into that one big room.
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This was a staple when I was growing up. It was just a short run down the street from the high school. It is truly intense in there. I never thought of it as a museum though. It always seemed like a romanticized vision of an old arcade.
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