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Pinball wizards rejoice: Interactive game museum brings arcade joy to Garden City

In the Treasure Valley, we are lucky to enjoy many different types of museums including the Boise Art Museum, Basque Museum, and the list goes on…

But did you know we have a pinball machine “museum?” Yes, the arcade game in which a player uses paddles to manipulate one or more balls insidea glass-covered machine.

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The Ugly Gold Couch Pinball Museum in Garden City is home to more than 50 pinball machines and other arcade games. Its name comes from the vintage velvet gold couch that museum owners inherited when they moved into the space.

“The collection spans the decades with machines from the early ‘70s through brand new,” co-founder Debbie Courson Smith said.

KISS, Guardians of the Galaxy, the Lord of the Rings, superheroes and baseball are just a few examples of the themes you’ll find on the machines.

Sharing their collection

In 2019, Smith and two other pinball machine collectors came together to create a fun space to store and share their collections with others.

“When people visit, they’ve often played pinball at some point in their lives, even if they’re not mega-fans, and it’s fun to see their faces when they find the machine “they remember playing,” Smith said.

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Although not technically a museum, Smith said they hope to move into a larger space one day and officially become one.

“Our goal is to encourage support of pinball in the Treasure Valley, which benefits operators of coin-operated machines and locations that host those machines,” Smith said.

According to Smith, this is the largest collection of pinball machines in Idaho. There are pinball museums in other parts of the country—for example, the Seattle Pinball Museum and the Pacific Pinball Museum in California.

All of the machines at The Gold Couch Pinball Museum, on the other hand, are not coin-operated. While they are free to play, Smith said donations are welcome.

The pinball museum is open a few times each month. Bigger groups can also reserve playtime for parties and work-related team-building events.

For more information, location details and for updates, head to the museum’s Facebook Page.

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Anna Daly - BoiseDev Reporterhttps://boisedev.com/author/annadaly/
Anna Daly is a reporter for BoiseDev. She's an Emmy-winning journalist, and a professor at the College of Western Idaho. Contact her at [email protected].

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