A three-story stained-glass globe, a Turkish ghost town, and a museum of antique broadcasting equipment the Atlas Obscura recommends them to its readers. A compendium of the strange and wonderful, the Atlas is a Web site of bizarre ephemera that fall outside the usual tourist destinations. Its a bible for those who love roadside attractions, balls of string, questionable taxidermy, and obsessive collectors. And for one day a year, the Atlas helps intrepid explorers become tourists of the strange in their hometown. Obscura Day is an international event at which various destinations in the Atlas host special events. The San Francisco stops include the wondrous Musée Mecanique, a museum of old coin-operated games where strength testers, boxing men, fortune tellers, and more grind into action at the drop of a quarter. Dan Zelinsky, the man who collected and owns all the contraptions, gives attendees the inside scoop on the museum and answers questions. Afterwards, guests may picnic in Aquatic Park. But this is Obscura Day, so no humdrum picturesque lunch for you: Instead, lounge on terraces constructed of discarded Gold Rushera tombstones.
Sat., March 20, noon, 2010