Enjoy a Funhouse Christmas

East Bay's Playland-Not-At-the-Beach has lots of fun for kids and nostalgia for elders

Are you an all-Christmas every minute of the day sort of family? Then 'Wacky Winter Wonderland,' which runs December 21 through January 5 at Playland-Not-At-The Beach, may not be for you.

This El Cerrito 'museum of fun,' which is closed Christmas Day, has a historic Santa's Village display, more Christmas displays, Christmas music, and décor. It's also headquarters of the Eartha Kitt Fan Club, so expect to hear her breathy hit version of 'Santa Baby.'

But what does Laughing Sal—the funhouse robot from S.F.'s bygone Playland—have to do with mistletoe? Or the Viper Girl, seen in a sideshow poster? Or Playland-Not's amazing folk art recreation of an entire circus in miniature?

Or vintage pinball machines, along with other arcade games like Skee Ball and Fascination?

Not much, of course—but that's why Playland-Not is so attractive over the holidays.

"It's a place everybody in the family can have fun together. Dad and junior can play pinball together and both will have fun," 'fun facilitator' Frank Biafore boasts. "So many places where the kids have fun their parents are bored. Or if the parents have fun, the kids are bored."

Also on tap during 'Wacky Winter Wonderland' will be magic shows, a magic camp teaching magic tricks, a grown-up game night, and Professor B's Flea Circus.

"It's a place," Biafore says, "that celebrates America's bygone amusements."

For more on Playland-Not's 'Wacky Winter Wonderland,' click here.