Have a ball

Not your ordinary museum: One entry fee gets you unlimited play time on 27 classic pinball machines at the new Asheville Pinball Museum on Battery Park. Photo by Max Cooper
Not your ordinary museum: One entry fee gets you unlimited play time on 27 classic pinball machines at the new Asheville Pinball Museum on Battery Park. Photo by Max Cooper

The Asheville Pinball Museum opened Aug. 30, offering a unique way to have a ball downtown.

Located below the Battery Park Apartment building, the room is packed with 27 classic handcrafted pinball machines, dating all the way back to the 1950s. One entry fee ($10 for adults and $7 for children) gets you unlimited free play and reentry for the entire day.

The museum is a family business started by husband-and-wife team T.C. and Brandy DiBella. The couple has spent the last few months scouring the country for antique machines and fixing them up. "We've maxed out the credit cards, borrowed from uncles, and here we are," notes T.C. He hopes that locals will give the business a warm welcome, reporting that after a long period of declining interest due to electronic video game systems and the Internet, playing pinball's become retro-cool in a handful of bigger cities across the country.

The machines are curated in a museum style, with plaques by each one noting when they were built and providing more information about them. For example, the plaque above the Addams Family machine notes that it was the most produced machine of all time, with 20,270 made since it was created in 1994. Many of the machines were remodeled with transparent Plexiglas backs that allow you to peer into them and see their blinking and chirping inner workings.

The museum serves cans of beer from Asheville Pizza Company, as well as assorted sodas and snacks. The DiBellas are hoping to cultivate a family-friendly vibe. Hours are Monday through Friday, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturdays 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays noon to 9 p.m.

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About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning writer and reporter who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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