Explore: Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum in Farmington Hills
(Crystal A. Proxmire, July 4, 2022)
Farmington Hills, MI – There are many – very many – interesting things on the walls of Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum in Farmington Hills. One of them sums up the spirit of this unique place. It’s an autographed print of a Family Circle comic that says “Parents can give children things…Or time. Time is better.” It shows children surrounded by toys in the first picture and by family in the second. A place like Marvin’s exists so kids, and the young at heart of any age, can come together for memories that can last a lifetime.
Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum is a shrine to fun and history. The place is full of arcade games that were popular though various decades, as well as oddities, curiosities, and coin-operated mechanical wonders that tell stories or amuse the patrons. There are fortune-telling machines, as well as those that test strength, or measure one’s temperament by touch. Bravery can also be tested by those willing to stick their hand into the unknown.
People from all generations may find games and toys that interest them, including Frogger, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the Simpsons for folks my age. A more modern game has players swiping fruit in mid air and slicing it like a sword. A little more macabre are handmade mechanical scenes that depict medieval torture scenes like whipping, branding, and beheading. There are also puppet concerts, and a strangely happy clown sailor that just laughs and laughs and laughs.
While the kiddos ride the carousel, grown ups might enjoy watching an antique newsreel of the 1937 Hindenburg explosion, or looking for the more interesting details of the posters and memorabilia that cover the walls and the ceilings. Games all take quarters, and there are paper cups to help make sure guests have a place for them all. And at the end of games there are tickets – sometimes in rows that are taller than the players themselves – which can be turned in for prizes and candy.
And in the midst of this sensory heaven, there’s a place with picnic tables and popcorn for sale so worn out parents can have a place to rest.
This amazing place is one I think you could visit a dozen times and still find something new to see. The founder, Marvin Yagoda, was a pharmacist by profession who also had a love for making and restoring mechanical amusements. He died in 2017, but his memory lives on in the smiles that fill the unique place he created. Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum is located at 31005 Orchard Lake Road in Farmington Hills. Learn more at http://www.marvin3m.com/.
Check out places to Explore in Oakland County and beyond in the Oakland County Times Explore Section.