“Ever since I was a young boy I played the silver ball. From Soho down to Brighton, I must have played them all. But I ain’t seen nothing like him, in any amusement hall. That deaf, dumb, blind kid sure plays a mean pinball!”
Okay, not really. I rarely ever got the chance to play real pinball machines, but I always did enjoy the few opportunities I got. More often, I played the pinball games that used to come for free on old Windows computers.
So when I found out that Budapest was home to Europe’s largest pinball museum, I decided that it was a must do activity. Briana wasn’t convinced at first, but it only took a little goading before she was ready to go as well.
We decided to put it off until towards the end of our stay. We decided that we wanted to do this later on because it was an indoor activity and it would not be affected by cold weather or rain. This way, we could do our outdoor activities while the weather was more amiable.
As the last few weeks approached, we finally elected to make our way to play the machines. We built it into a trip that stopped by a local mall before arriving to the museum. The mall was pretty large, but the food was lacking in vegetarian options for Briana, so we ended up leaving a little disappointed but ready for the games.
The pinball museum wasn’t too much further, in fact just about a kilometer down the road from the mall. Upon arriving though, we discovered along with some kids that the museum was closed. The sign on the door stated that it was closed for a local convention that was currently under way and would not be reopened for another few days.
Disgruntled, we proceeded on to grab a donut, walk along the waterfront of the Danube and look at the city lights. We would not give up though. We were determined to make it, and would not be put off from visiting.
We made another attempt about a week later. Initially, we were going to attempt a day or so earlier to that, but I was hit with a nasty case of Noravirus (to the best of my knowledge), so we had to put it off until I was physically capable of moving. After partially recovering, we made our way to visit the museum, which was open this time.
Play the Machines
We came to the front door, and descended down the steps to the basement of the building where the museum was located. Immediately, the sound of bells, whistles, and electronic buzzers filled the air as we made our way to the front desk. We purchased our tickets to the museum for HUF 2500 (~$8) each. The tickets have gone up since we visited however – as of January 1st, 2017. This seems to be the case across Budapest, regardless it is still pretty cheap as far as similar game halls go.
The tickets allow you free reign of the numerous pinball machines and games that range from the early 1900s to now. The machines are free to play and you can just play all you want. We made our way through each room playing a good majority of the machines. It was really awesome, because there was so much variety. The difficulty level changed dramatically across them, so if you lost quickly on one, you didn’t feel like you wasted your money, because it was free and you could just go to an easier one.
But there weren’t just pinball machines, although that was the primary game available. There were also other arcade games which were just as fun to play. There were even a few older games such as the original Mortal Kombat.
While there were plenty of kids there, anyone of any age will have fun here. We spent several hours playing before we decided it was time to go. We could have spent longer if we’d wished, but we were starting to get a little tired – I was still a little weak from my previous sickness. All in all, a very successful and fun outing.
Visit the Museum
If you’re in Budapest for any lengthy duration and you want an activity away from the sightseeing, you should absolutely check out the pinball museum. It’s a great evening activity, as it’s open late:
Wed to Fri: 16:00 – 0:00
Sat: 14:00 – 0:00
Sun 10:00 – 22:00
You can visit at:
Radnóti Miklós utca 18.
1137, Budapest, Hungary
3000 HUF, 2500 HUF for ages under 26 or over 62