Best Way- Back Machine

Musée Mecanique

Travel back in time to the San Francisco of a century ago (without any help from Peabody and Sherman) at this fun, gadget-filled annex of the Cliff House. Drop a quarter or a dime (or even a penny) into one of the many robotic gizmos and the days of Sutro, London, and “Sunny Jim” Rolph will emerge fully formed. There's the very Barbary Coast Wurlitzer player piano, a survivor of the '06 quake, clanking and whistling a jaunty tune. Nearby is a pinball baseball game you play against Gehrig, Foxx, and Lefty O'Doul, an eerily lifelike W.C. Fields type in cutaway coat and striped trousers who rolls his eyes and wiggles his eyebrows, a sex-appeal meter (“hot stuff”? “fast worker”? “ice box”?), palm-reading machines, a foot massager, undulating dioramas (“The End of the Trail,” “The Royal Court Entertainers,” and a dissolute, Chinatown “Opium Den”), several peep shows (including a 1904 cutie in diminishing attire), and two absolutely delighted, deeply spooky automatons, Jolly Jolly the Sailor and Laughing Sal, a Playland habitué from 1940 to '72.

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