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If you want to know how a cable car works, the Cable Car Museum is the place to learn. The world's first cable car rests here and with it a concise explanation of how those little cable cars make their way up those famous San Francisco hills. In an underground viewing area, you can look at the system's enormous cable wheels, which pull 11 miles (18 kilometers) of cable at 9.5 miles (15 kilometers) per hour. Closely examine the steel cables, gears, and pulleys that bring this city's most famous transportation to life. Don't miss the gift shop, where you can purchase your very own length of used cable!
Located in North Beach, The Beat Museum celebrates Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and all who influenced the Beat Generation. Offering a variety of Beat memorabilia and paraphernalia including fine art, prints, posters, photos, new and used books, CDs, DVDs, t-shirts and more, this is a must stop for all collectors and Kerouac fans. The museum also hosts open mic poetry nights, movie screenings, and other cultural events.
The Museum of Vision aims at highlighting the importance of one of our sensory organs, the eye. From humble beginnings, with just one exhibition in 1982, this museum has come a long way to being a prominent establishment as the Museum of Vision. The exhibits at this museum captures the science of ophthalmology, right from its inception and also includes advancements in the field. Ancient surgical instruments, eye amulets, spectacles, eye masks and much more are part of the collection on display. Booking an appointment before your visit is highly recommended.
Santa Rosa native Robert Ripley, born in 1893, became an internationally famous traveler, artist, and storyteller known as a collector of the world's most unusual oddities. At the San Francisco Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum, that bears his name, you can view exhibits of Ripley's early cartoons, see Believe It or Not! collections, and buy collector's books, and videos of Ripley's greatest works. From weird inventions to human abnormalities to an eight-foot cable car made of matchsticks, it is entertaining for people of all ages.
A penny for your thoughts? In addition to a melange of penny structures, this quirky, offbeat museum has a variety of interesting gadgets and knick-knacks. A must-see is the toothpick amusement park, built by San Quentin inmates. Bring a handful of quarters to Musée Mécanique so you can play some of the antique games, including the miniature pinball machines. Visiting the museum is free of charge.
The Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia is a Mecca for Pez cultists. As for the rest of us, if you have to ask, "What is Pez?" then this is probably not the place for you. But if the fringes of American pop culture interest you, it is worth a visit. Exhibits include the rare Pez make-a-face. In addition to the candy and dispensers, the museum store also sells stop-and-smell t-shirts (smells just like a strawberry Pez), Pez banks, Pez porcelain boxes, Pez pens, and pretty much anything else related to this charming treat.