Laughing With Sal at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, California
Just inside the doorway of a drafty old warehouse on Pier 45, tucked into a corner of San Francisco’s bustling Fisherman’s Wharf, garish 7-foot-tall “Laffing Sal" greets visitors to the city’s Musée Mécanique. She and her hundreds of automaton sisters, with their proudly misspelled names, were made in Pennsylvania in the early 1900s and shipped to amusement parks all across the country. This Sal’s original home was in San Francisco’s now-defunct Playland-at-the-Beach, where she traumatized countless children with her loud recorded laughter (variously described as raucous, irritating, or downright terrifying.) In addition to Sal, in this free museum you’ll find a huge collection of old penny arcade games and other antique amusements, all still functioning.