You’ll flip for the pinball machines at Asbury Park’s Silverball Museum
ASBURY PARK — In his most famous song, Bruce Springsteen sang of what happens "beyond the Palace," and evoking the spirit of the long-defunct Palace Amusements is just part of the story behind the Silverball Museum Arcade on the Asbury Park boardwalk.
The arcade has approximately 150 pinball machines on its floor, spanning the 1940s all the way up to 2019, according to personnel director Patty Barber. Some 600 additional machines are in their warehouse, and there's even a sister location in Delray Beach, Florida.
The games, which also include air hockey, Skee-Ball, a vintage crane game, and classic video arcade games, are all restored and constantly kept up, Barber said. On the building's walls are placards detailing the history and development of not only each individual game, but of the pastime of pinball itself.
Some of the games were even taken from the old Palace, and the building also houses the Palace's photo booth.
All games are set to "free play," which means you pay admission by the amount of time you wish to stay in the museum.
"The fact that people have to pay admission makes it a nice, safe, good place to come in," Barber said. "You don't have to worry about your kid once they're inside; it's not like we are open and then you just wander in and you can hang out."
Adults who grew up with these classic attractions are obviously drawn to the Silverball Museum for nostalgic reasons, but Barber said kids of all ages find something fun to do.
"Almost every teenager gets dragged in here," she said. "They don't want to put their phone down, or they want Nintendo or whatever they're doing, and then the parent can't drag them out once they start playing the old games."
Coming up on Saturday, March 7 is the Silverball's eighth annual Winter Gala for Autism, with proceeds benefiting the Arc of Monmouth. Part of the reason for the museum's opening in the first place was that the owner's daughter, who has autism, was drawn to pinball as a favorite activity.
The Silverball Museum Arcade is open every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas, and is available for special events such as parties and weddings.
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