Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Cotton Candy Machine

Two dollars will get you a freshly spun ball of cotton candy from this machine:

You can watch it being made the same way it's made at carnivals:

This was spotted at Chuck E. Cheese in Rockwall, TX.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Kiddie Ride Mecca

It seems that the Tanger Outlet Mall in Terrell, TX is something of a mecca for Kiddie Ride Enthusiasts (which I assume exist).  Sure you may not be impressed by seeing characters like Batman (in some type of "Bat Cave Ride"):

But it's probably been awhile since you've seen our old pal Mighty Mouse:

Or Paddington Bear:

Or Tom & Jerry:

Of course there are any number of rides for those who crave more adventure:

This was a great fiberglass find with a lot of character!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Vice Machines

Ah, the good old days...

There was a time when a vending machine could provide you with a lighted cigarette:

Or with a cold glass of whiskey:

Those were the days...

 (These pics were found around the web.  Let me know if they are your so I can credit them appropriately.)


Friday, November 9, 2012

Hot & Cold

Finally, a vending machine that will cook for you!

The new EatWave Vending Machine serves cold snacks and cooks up hot snavks for your snacking pleasure.  More details HERE!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Zoo Food Machine

It's not uncommon to see a food vending machine at a petting zoo but it's always a welcome site:

Here we spotted a pair at the petting zoo at the State Fair of Texas!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Penny Press #4 - Baylor U

Our next addition of "Penny Press" comes from our recent road trip.  We stopped at the Mayborn Museum Complex at Baylor University to, among other things, get our pennies smashed:

The area is known for mammoth fossils and the museum has an extensive mammoth exhibit so the design choice for this smash was an no-brainer.

It's worth noting that, unlike some other penny squashers we've found recently, this one is still fifty cents!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Pinballing #2 - Gas Attack!

In theory, Grossology is an educational, traveling exhibit whose purpose is to educate children about biology and various biological functions through a series of interactive exhibits and whimsical animatronic characters.  However, in practice, Grossology is an orgy of terror populated by the most disturbing robotic creatures to ever haunt your nightmares.

Creatures like this:

And this:

Why do I bring this up?  They had a pretty cool pinball machine.  Made by Stern Pinball,"Gas Attack!" is a lesson about digestion in pinball form (yes, I think those are supposed to be intestines on the side of the machine):

Points seem to be accumulated based on the gas inducing potential of various food items.  It's also worth noting that it semeed to be made to be played for free as a part of the exhibit and was very popular with the kids there (who weren't crying and screaming in terror at the robots).

I caught the exhibit during my recent trip to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History but check their site to see if the madness is coming to your neighborhood.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Geology Vending Machine

There are not nearly enough educational vending machines out there.  That's why it was a nice surprise to come across this little beauty:

That's right, for 50 cents you can try your luck and end up with your very own fossil and/or mineral specimen.  We found this at Inner Space Caverns in Georgetown, TX.

We ended up with a piece of fossilized raptor egg shell.  Not a bad prize.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Penny Press #3 - Fort Worth Museum of Science & History

Another day, another smashed penny.  This one comes courtesy of the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History where they have not one, but two machines available for your penny smashing pleasure:

The one on the left has an assortment of museum logos and western themes.  I went with the one on the right.  It only had one option but it was a bold option indeed: The Acrocanthosaurus!

It's a dinosaur whose fossils are found around the area.  This machine was no nonsense.  No levers, no buttons, no cranks.  Just insert the money and watch the penny smashing magic happen.  And that's just what I did.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Pizza Vending Machine

After a successful run in Europe you might be seeing one of these beauties pop up on your corner:

D.A.R.E Copter

No propeller?  No rotor? No problem for the D.A.R.E Copter!  Climb aboard!

This one was spotted outside an North Texas grocery store.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Custom Gumball Machines

I stumbled across some cool custom vintage gumball machines on eBay:

These are made by eBayer "thetrebusgallery."  You can see his items for sale HERE.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Diaper Change Kit Machine

75 cents gets you a Diaper Change Kit which I assume includes a diaper...but that's just pure speculation.  This was spotted in a Wal-Mart in East Texas.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pinballing #1 - Timeless

Nott too far from Carlsbad Caverns (which coincidentally seems to be larger on the inside) there used to be a great roadside treasure call the Million Dollar Museum in White's City, NM.  Two headed snakes and mummified alien babies sat alongside  collections of antique typewriters, doll houses and jukeboxes and collectively they all seemed at home.  Sadly the place is no more.

But it was the location where we found what will be our first entry in a  new ongoing blog feature: Pinballing.  Check out the classic Doctor Who Pinball Machine:

It features the first seven Doctors from the original series.

We also dug up some of the promotional material from when the machine was released:

And if you still have questions then take it up with the promotional one sheet:

White's City Million Dollar Museum will be missed.  You can get a better look at it through this video we shot a few years ago while we were out there doing some documentary work (you can see several other unique coin operated games toward the end of the video):

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Penny Press #2 - Dallas World Aquarium

It's time to, once again, smash a penny. This one is courtesy of a trip to the Dallas World Aquarium where, instead of a standard crank, they have a "turning wheel" model:

Is it meant to somehow fit in with a nautical theme?  I can't say.  But I can say that you have to turn that wheel quite a few times to get your penny.  It's also worth mentioning that the gift shop near the penny smasher will provide you with a free shiny penny for your trouble.  I've never seen that before and I liked it!

Design options include Leafy Seadragon, Crocodile, Toucan and Octopus.  The Leafy Seadragon is the aquarium's pride and joy and it's pretty rare to see that as an option so that was my selection.  In real life it looks like this:

In squashed penny form it looks like this:

Another successful smash!  More coming soon!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Lobster Claw

I've always been a fan of the claw game and I've always been a fan of lobsters so I was particularly happy to see this:

 The Lobster Zone is a game that let's you try to win your own lobster for $2.00 per try.  Here's a news story about it: 


Find out more here:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Medical Marijuana Vending Machine

In California, if you have a prescription, you can buy weed from a vending machine

Hopefully this is right next to a snack vending machine for extra convenience.  We're now counting down to the first news story of the entire machine being stolen.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Take the Bull by...Well, You Know...

Check out the Rodeo Bull Strength Challenge, which I assume measures your strength against the strength of a rodeo bull:

Sorry for the bad pic. It was right in front of a window and was back lit by the sun. Anyhoo, this was spotted in a restaurant in West Tawakoni, TX.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Even though they used to be everywhere, you don't see a lot of cigarette vending machines these days. And when you do, it turns out they are selling art:

Yes, that's right, this is an old-timey cigarette machine that has been repurposed to sell cigarette pack shaped art! You can have your own work of art for just $5.00!

This was found at a Whole Foods in Dallas and is the work of these guys.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Barrel of Fun

You've probably sen those massaging chairs at the airport. They seem great but could they be more fun? The Dallas Zoo seems to think so. We saw this one during our recent trip there.

25 cents for a foot massage? Sounds good to me!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Dr. Feelgood

Say hello to Dr. Feelgood!

He awaits you at the Wall Drug Store in Wall, SD and for about a dollar in change (if I recall correctly) he will sell you all the snake oil you can carry. Here's some crappy video I shot on a crappy camera of the good doctor in action:

Thursday, April 5, 2012

To Scale or Not to Scale

I typically question the "fun" factor of weighing yourself. At any rate, this beauty was found at Texas Best Smokehouse in Italy, TX (right next to the giant Starship Pegasus).

At the very least, it's fun to look at. Be sure and try the BBQ while you're there.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Penny Press #1 - Dallas Zoo

It's about time this blog had a recurring feature and I can think of no machine more deserving than the Penny Press a.k.a. the Penny Smasher a.k.a. the Penny Crusher. This works out well for me since any time I see one (and I have the right amount of change) I tend to use one. So here we go!

Our first Penny Squasher Machine is at the Dallas Zoo:

The choices at this machine are Tiger, Parrot, Elephant and Chimps. There is at least one other machine at the zoo (near their monorail) but I didn't get to look at that one so I don't know if they had different choices.

So I picked the elephant and even afterward I can confidently say that I made the best choice. I mean, come on, it's an elephant!

More penny squashers coming soon (as soon as I see another one)!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Monday, March 26, 2012