The Franklin Institute 2016 – Philadelphia, PA

On a recent weekend trip into Philadelphia with my daughter we decided to go check out The Franklin Institute.  We had visited this museum a year or so ago and my daughter really enjoyed all the interactive exhibits and of course all the other kids running around.  I have always likes science museums and this is really one of the best ones I’ve ever been to.  Plus they are notorious for having quite a few penny press machines, and was one of the first 8-design touch screen machine I had used (click here to read all about it).

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Hanna and I did explore the entire museum, but just so you know most of the machines can actually be accessed right in the main Atrium shown above with no admission required (but if you park in their garage there is a fee).  Now I know I have a habit of calling these penny press machines which in most situations is correct, but more and more machines have been made available where the supply a coin like token instead.  So technically these machines were token presses but they work exactly the same.

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The first machine was located right by the elevators that take you down to the parking garage below the museum.  This machine had four designs and each were $1.

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The designs on this first set included the Liberty Bell, City of Brotherly Love Philadelphia, I Heart The Franklin Institute, and Fels Planetarium.

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Just a few feet away was the second machine sitting right beside the Information Desk.  These designs were also $1 each.

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The images available in this set: The Train Factory, The Franklin Institute Science Museum, Our Carbon Footprint, and the Philadelphia Phillies logo.

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The next machine is situated in great location just outside the Restrooms.  I’m not sure why places put the machines here (seems very common) but I guess it’s to guarantee foot traffic.  These were also $1 each.

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The designs on this set included the Joel M Bloom Observatory, Benjamin Franklin, Sir Isaac’s Loft and the Air Show.

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I know I gave a link about this 8-Design machine above but couldn’t help including it in this post as well.  Please note that this machine is no longer near the Pendulum Staircase (which required admission), it is now located near the Restrooms (yay!) as well (no admission required).

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I really do like these new machines and I couldn’t resist pressing another set.  It does take cash, credit or Apple Pay which is what I used and it worked perfectly.

As a recap this museum really is a great place to visit and an easy way to spend an afternoon with your kids (or just by yourself).  The exhibits are fantastic, the special exhibits are even better, plus you can press 20 new tokens all within a 100 foot radius.

United Artists IMAX Theatre – King of Prussia, PA

This past weekend I make the hour l long trip from our house over to the giant King of Prussia shopping mall in Pennsylvania to get fitted for suit.  A great friend of mine will be getting married next year and I was honored to be asked to join his wedding party.  After the fitting I found myself sitting in my car looking at the pennycollector.com website from my cell phone to see if there were any machines located nearby and wouldn’t you know it there was.

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Just across the parking lot was a huge United Artists IMAX movie theatre.  I believe this place has something like 12 movie screens but I was sold at IMAX.  Unfortunately I had other things to do that day so I couldn’t stay for a movie but did dash inside to try to find the penny machine.

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As you walk inside the ticket booth is to your right which is also nearby where the restrooms are.  Just beside those is a little arcade setup and this is where I found the penny machine.  Oh by the way no ticket was required to access this area of the theatre.

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This was a 4-design hand crank machine.  These models tend to roll the final pennies a little long and this was no exception.  But the find results still came out pretty nice.

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The pennies dropped out with the following: Best Friends, My Lucky Penny (Shamrocks), I Love you, and Guardian Angel.  Now I have seen these designs at some other locations a long the PA turnpike as they are fairly common.  But still a nice find and is the only movie theatre I can think of that I have seen a penny machine at.  I’m crossing my fingers this becomes a new trend but hope they update the designs a little.  Movie themes would be cool!

Hershey Park – Hershey, PA

After checking out Chocolate World just a short walk away was our true destination for this trip Hershey Park.

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Now I will admit that my wife and I are not big thrill ride fans so most of the crazy roller coasters they have here are lost on us.  But our daughter loves the little kiddie rides and I’m having panic attacks about potentially having to go with her on bigger rides when she’s older.  For now we get to do the nice easy things like meet Mr. Hershey Bar.

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Not to mention Hanna’s absolute favorite thing to do a classic carousel.

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We do make it on some of the more “boring” rides like cable cars, the monorail, and the odd log flume ride.  The day we were here actually was a really hot day for this late in the summer, and Hanna really wanted to just play at the Boardwalk.

My wife volunteered to take her through water park area and I was able to sneak off with our younger daughter Melody (8 months old) to wonder around the park.  This was to accomplish two things.  1) Melody was pretty cranky due to the heat and trying to get her to take a nap was top on my priority list.  2) There were penny machines to be found.  Now I didn’t collect these machines in this order, but I’m going to review them as you would after first entering the park.

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As you go through security and have your admissions ticket scanned you will immediately find the first two machines.  The first one is on the right of the main path just outside one of the many souvenir shops.

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I will apologize now for not having actual pictures of the final pressed pennies.  All of these coins were collected on a previous visit a couple of years ago and the designs have not changed.  Due to this I didn’t press any new sets since I already have a few of each in my collection which unfortunately is all packed away as my family is getting ready to move.  So instead I took close-ups of the machine marquees that show the coin designs. Back to the machine, the set available here includes Springtime in the Park, Ms. Hershey Kiss, Great Bear Roller Coaster, and the Storm Runner ride.

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The second machine is on the left side of the main path.  This may actually be easier to collect on the way out depending on the crowd level when you first enter.

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The designs available at this second machine are the Kissing Tower, the Reese’s Peanut Butter Character, The Wildcat Roller Coaster, and a Hershey Kiss Street Light.  By the way in case you are wondering about the Street Lights these actually exist and are located all around town see picture below.

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After walking up the first big hill in the park you come out in the main kiddie ride area.  Near Starship America and the Carousel is the third machine.

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Just due to where this machine is located there are always a lot of kids around it.  To be honest not many are ever actually using the machine but they always get a kick out of watching when it’s used.  I always make sure to show them how it works and the finished products then they quickly run off to ask their parents for spare change.

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This set includes the Hershey Bears Logo (Minor League Hockey Team), Mr. Hershey Chocolate Bar, Hershey Park Logo, and a Carousel Horse.  To find the next machine you have quite a walk ahead of you.  It’s located way over toward the Boardwalk and is just outside the bathrooms/changing rooms for the water flume on steroids ride called Tidal Force.

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A word of warning about this area.  The ride Tidal Force has a splash area that includes part of the pathway that surrounds it.  When the ride vehicle comes crashing down there is a huge wave of water that splashes down over some suspecting (and non-suspecting) visitors.  This machine is thankfully out of the splash zone, but just beware in case you don’t want to get wet.

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The pennies at this machine have images of Hershey Park in the Dark, Lightning Racer, Wild Mouse, and Tidal Force ride logos.  The last machine is back on the other size of the park past Zoo America near the Skyrush Roller Coaster.

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As you may be able to tell from the above picture this machine is located right outside a set of restrooms.  This always tends to be a busy area with not a lot of extra standing room for people waiting for their family members.  Plus you get some strange looks when trying to take pictures of the penny machine as people are exiting the restroom doors.

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This final set has designs of a The Claw, Fahrenheit, Skyrush, and a Train Engine.  The first three designs are all thrill rides located in the park.  That concludes all the penny machines in the park, however as I was wondering around I came across 4 new Medallion machines.  These are not really my thing (I spend enough on pressed coins) but thought I would mention these just in case anyone does collect them.  The cost for these were $3 each or 2 for $5.

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The first one was located near the restrooms by the carousel.  The designs were a Carousel Horse, Milton S. Hershey, a Hershey Kiss Lightpole, and Hershey Chocolate Bar.

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The second machine was over near the Wildcat Roller Coaster.  This set of Medallions were of Hershey The Sweetest Place on Earth, Ms. Hershey Kiss, Cocoa Bushes, and Reese’s Peanut Butter cups.

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This third machine was available in the area near the Zoo America entrance, by the restrooms at the Loft Catering.  This set has pictures of Fahrenheit, Mr. Hershey Chocolate Bar, a Hershey Kiss, and the Hershey Smoke Stacks.

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Finally the fourth Medallion machine was located by the restrooms near the Chevrolet Music Box Theatre.  This set included the Hershey Park Boardwalk, the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup character, the Kissing Tower, and Laff Trakk.

With all the penny (and Medallion) machines photographed and documented for my collection it was time to head back and see how everyone was doing in the water park.  As usually Hanna didn’t want to leave but with the promise of chocolate on the way out she reluctantly agreed to dry off and start our trip back home.  This is a really great place to enjoy a day of rides, food, chocolate and pennies.  How does that not sound like fun!

Zoo America – Hershey, PA

While we spent the day in Hersey Pennsylvania we stopped in to check out Zoo America.  Now this isn’t a huge zoo and you can probably get through the whole thing in about 30-45 minutes if you walk really slow, but still has some unique exhibits I haven’t seen at other zoos.  You can access this separately from Hershey Park and there is a pretty reasonable admission.  However, if you are visiting Hershey Park you can access the zoo for free.  Just make sure to get your hand stamped before walking over the bridge as that is how you will get back into the Park once you’re done with the zoo.

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Once you enter the Zoo there is a recommended trail to follow which will ensure you get to visit all the areas and exhibits.  Once of my favorite is the Desert with a nice assortment of animals and is one of the unique exhibits I had mentioned above.

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For years this Zoo has had 3 penny machines available.  They have changed designs over the years and as luck would have it during this visit I was able to get the brand new sets.

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The first machine along the recommended trail is located in Bear Country.  It’s just outside the covered viewing area of the Black bears.

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You will see that each of these designs includes the name of the animal pictures (thank you!) which is nice as sometimes I have a hard time figuring out what it’s supposed to be.  This set included a River Otter, Great Horned Owl, American Black Bear and an American Alligator.

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The second machines is located on the main path of the zoo and is located right near the small little concession stand.

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These coins were on the very of rolling short but thankfully still came out okay.  The images on these coins are a Canada Lynx, North American Porcupine, a Road runner, and a Gray Wolf.

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The last machine is located just before the exit of the zoo before you enter the gift shop.  Technically this is also located right at the entrance, but if you follow the recommended trail you will go up some stairs behind this machine and won’t be able to access it until the end.  Another good reason to stick to the trail is it will ensure you find all three machines.

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The final set of pennies has a Rattlesnake, an American Marten, Swift Fox, and a Thick Billed Parrot.

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Each of the 12 designs does include a backstamp of the zoo’s website zooamerica.com. The image was not very centered in any of the coins I pressed and the above is the best one I could find.

As I mentioned above it would be hard to spend an entire day at this zoo as it isn’t that big.  But it does make a nice side trip away from the crowds and screaming from the Theme Park.  With out fill of animals and yet more pennies collected it was time to meet up with the rest of our family back in Hershey Park.  Roller coasters were calling our name.

Chocolate World – Hershey, PA

This past weekend we decided to take a trip over to a magical town in Pennsylvania that’s name explains it all.  Hershey.  Driving along roads named Chocolate Avenue and Cocoa Avenue you can’t help feeling like you are entering into Willy Wonka’s Factory.

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Unfortunately we didn’t have a special golden ticket, but thankfully Hershey takes credit cards instead and lets you wonder through a building known as Chocolate World.

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This is located just outside Hersheypark, and can be accessed without a Theme Park ticket, and is quite the attraction all its own.  Inside there is a theater showing the 4D chocolate mystery movie, the Hershey Chocolate tour ride, you can create your own candy bar, and of course one of the largest Hershey stores I have ever seen.

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This is a really deadly place to visit for me as Hershey chocolate is a childhood favorite of mine, and I usually need a large truck to get all the candy and souvenirs out of this place.  But they also have a couple of penny machines which is just the cherry on top.

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The first machine is located near the main entrance doors towards the bathroom area.  The machine does have a change machine attached incase you didn’t come prepared (Shame!).

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This set of pennies includes images of a Cow “Made on the Farm”, Hershey’s Chocolate Soldier, A Kiss for You, and Airplane.  As luck would have it you need to make your way through racks and racks of chocolate bars, peanut butter cups, and licorice until you find the food court.  In among the tables you will find the second penny machine.

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As you can see above this machine also has an available change machine.  When this area of the food court is busy I would anticipate this machine is a little hard to use because there were some tables located right beside it.  But thankfully the area was pretty calm so I was able to press the coins without any issue.

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This set includes some familiar faces, Mr. Reese’s, Miss Kiss, Chocolate Bar Man, and one with all three together.  With my new pennies collected I finished shopping for more candy than anyone really should try to consume.

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Case in point check out the 5 pound Hershey bar my daughter Hanna found.  As much as it would have been entertaining to watch her try to eat this we convinced her to put it back and get something a little more portable.  Chocolate World is really a chocolate lovers wonderland.  If you’re in the Hershey area be sure to check it out and let your inner child just have a blast.

Gettysburg, PA – Part 2

With the first half of my Gettysburg trip completed, and a longer than anticipated stop in an antique store I was ready … for some food.  I made a quick stop for a very late lunch and then made it over to my next destination.

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The Jennie Wade House.  For just a little history, Jennie at the age of 20 was the only direct civilian casualty of the battle.  This is the house where she was hit by a stray bullet on July 3rd, 1863.  They do offer tours but unfortunately when I visited they were closed for the season.

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At the end of the tour you enter the gift shop.  This shop is available to anyone and do not need to take the tour to go inside.  At the back of the store is a one die electric penny machine.

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The image on the penny is an exterior image of Jennie Wade’s House.  Directly across the street was my next stop.

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The Old Gettysburg Village is a collection of small stores that surround a central area that has a gazebo and nice little gardens (when there isn’t snow all over the place) for a quite place to relax.

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Most of these stores were closed during my visit, but the penny machine was available outside for use.

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The four penny designs available at this machine were: A Civil War Soldier, a Cannon, United States & Confederate Flags, and a Military Drum.  With pennies in hand I packed them away with the others and headed about a block down the street to the Gettysburg Tour Center.

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This place was also closed for the season as they offer bus tours around the battlefield.  I lucked out that there was someone inside and they allowed me in real quick to use their two machines.  Since the place was technically closed they didn’t have any of the overhead lights on and my pictures of the machines came out really dark so I’m not bothering to post them.  Guess I’ll just have to go back again sometime.

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The first machine had one design which was of a Soldier firing a cannon with Gettysburg, PA across the bottom.

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The second machine had three available designs that were images of General Lee, General Meade, and General Chamberlain.  Once I was done I quickly thanked the employee and let myself out.  The last stop on this particular street was again right across the street.

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The impressive looking building was the Hall of Presidents museum.  Unfortunately like a lot of the places this time of season were not open.  I did send them a letter when I got home asking if someone could press the penny for me and it come back pretty quickly.

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This penny has the beginning of President Lincolns famous “Fourscore and even years ago, our forefathers established, upon this continent, a new nation …”.  After finding out this museum was closed I started my way back.  Luckily as I mentioned in the previous post these machines were all located along two streets that met like a “Y”.  Back by the Old Gettysburg Village I was able to cut through over to the other street and only a couple blocks away was the Lincoln Train Museum where my car was parked.  But this was not the end of my trip, there were still a couple of machines left to find.

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Just a few minute drive south I drove into the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum & Visitor Center.  This is a huge park with paths you can walk along and enjoy some fresh air.  Unfortunately when I was their it was cold so I just headed towards the museum but came across a familiar face.

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President Lincoln is an overwhelming presence here in Gettysburg.  With my selfie-stick nowhere to be found I wasn’t able to take a proper picture with the former President.

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Inside the museum there are all types of artifacts pertaining to the Gettysburg battle.  There is an admission to visit the entire museum, but there are some small areas you can look at for no fee.  Just outside the theatre is their gift shop which has quite a selection of items for purchase.  Just near the one exit tot he gift shop I found penny machine.

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This seemed to be a fairly new machine, but all the images had 2015 listed on them.  It only takes dollar bills and spits out the design on a coin blank.  I will say they came out really shiny.

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The images on the coins are President Lincoln, a Cannon, Part of the Museum Tower, and the Military Park’s logo.  After I was done the gift shop was calling my name again so I went back in to wonder around.  Towards the opposite end there was an exit towards where the restrooms.  I figured I may as well make a pit stop before hitting the road but just before I left I saw another penny machine.

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When I had done my pre-trip planning only the one machine had been listed as active here which is why this one caught me off guard.  Thankfully I had my emergency backup kit in my car with some extra coins (I wrote out this kit here, always be prepared).  I ran out to my car, got the change and came back to press a set before leaving.

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Two of the pennies rolled a little long, and the other two a little short, but the images still came out pretty nicely.  The designs included Our Country’s Common Ground, Abraham Lincoln, a Military Drum, and the United States and Confederate Flags 1863.  Back in my car I had only one more stop to make and thankfully it was in the direction back home.

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The Drummer Boy Camping Resort was only a few miles away and was right off the highway.  I took the exit and made my way into the woods towards the General Store.

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As soon as I walked in I was greeted by a very friendly women that asked if she could help me.  I told her I was there to use the penny machine and she walked me back to where it was.

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The machine had three designs to press: the Drummer Boy, a Cannon and July 1-3, 1863 Gettysburg.  I thanked her for her help and hopped back in my car.  My very short stop over in Gettysburg had been quite a success at least when it came to the pennies.  In the near future I hope to come back here and be able to spend more time exploring all the history and stories this place has to offer.

Gettysburg, PA – Part 1

A recent work trip had me passing through a town I had been interested in visiting for quite a while.  With my family recently going through the US Citizenship process we had lots of American History to read up on.  One of the most important battles in our country’s history was the Civil War and one of the battlefields was not only a turning point but the location of President Lincolns most important speeches.

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Gettysburg Pennsylvania is a few hours away from where we live in Jersey.  As I planned out my trip for work I noticed that one of the routes had me passing right through the center of town.  I wasn’t going to have a lot of spare time on my trip but not knowing when I would be able to come back gave me enough incentive to stop for a bit and collect some pressed pennies.  Going through my usual preparations I checked online for a complete list of machine locations, marked them on a map and started organizing the appropriate change needed for each machine.

The day of my trip came and after my meetings I headed into the heart of Gettysburg which had me drive through the famous battlefields.

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Most of the penny machine locations were located along two streets that connected like a “Y”.  This made it quite a bit easier to start at one end and make my way around.  My first stop was the Lincoln Train Museum.

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I parked in their lot and headed to the front door but as my luck would have it I was there on the one day of the week they weren’t open.  The penny machine was located just inside the door teasing me.

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I took the above picture of the machine from outside which is why it looks a little far away.  After I got home I put together a package with a letter and some coins mentioning I had stopped by when they were closed, and asking if someone would press a set for me.  A week or so later the coins arrive back along with some nice reading material about the museum.

Lincoln Train Museum

The designs included President Lincoln, a Steam Engine and the 1899 Maryland & Pennsylvania Bobber Caboose that is available at the museum to explore (ahem when it’s open of course).

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I left my card at the Train Museum and started walking since everything now was pretty close together.  Located on the next block was the Gettysburg Heritage Center.  I had read online this used to be a Wax Museum with animated scenes from the Civil War but those were all long gone.  There was a tour you could take but due to time constraints I just stuck to the gift shop.

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The machine was located near the admission counter right next to the tour entrance.  I have come across these style of machines from time to time and always find them a little hard to use and the pennies usually press short.

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However this machine actually surprised me and worked very nicely.  The staff member that was at the counter told me they had just serviced this machine which may have been why it worked so well.  These pennies have images of Two crossed Civil War swords with Gettysburg across the top, the Lord’s Prayer, My Lucky Penny with four-leaf clovers, and a special coin to cash in for a Free Hug and Kiss anytime … anywhere.  I really should have pressed more of that one!

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A short ways away was my next stop the Gettysburg Diorama.  As the name says this place has a scale model of the Battle of Gettysburg.  It is over 800 square feet and includes a light and sound show.  You get a bird’s-eye view of the entire battlefield which is a really cool way to see it all at once.

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Just inside the front door is the penny machine.  No admission is required to use the machine, but the cost to see the diorama is only about $7 and I would recommend taking a look at it really is pretty impressive.

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This machine has only three designs which include Gettysburg 150th Anniversary, Civil War Soldiers, and Abraham Lincoln.  After I was done with the diorama I headed out to my next stop.

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The Gettysburg Ghost Tours as you can see from the sign in the above picture is a Candlelight Walking Tour at night.

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In case a Ghost Tour isn’t your thing, worry not the penny machine is located outside so you don’t even need to go in.

Gettysburg Ghost Tours

Four coin designs are available at this location which include: The Gettysburg Ghost Tour logo, a Cannon, the United States & Confederate flags, and Abraham Lincoln (this is a popular design here).  The next machine was literally right next door.

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It’s a little store called Bases Loaded.  Just like the Ghost Tours their machine is located right outside and can be used even when the store isn’t open.

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The machine is a Penny Pincher four design model.  It was a little squeaky as I turned the handle to press my designs but the end results came out pretty good.

Bases Loaded Pennies

My last stop before taking a break was a little more of a hike.  Only a few blocks but I ended up spending much more time inside than I had anticipated.

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The Antique Center of Gettysburg was an amazing trip back in time.  But first a little business, as soon as I walked inside the penny machine was located to the left.

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The machine only had one design available, but as you can see in the picture above they also had 2×2 elongated cardboard coin holders.  I thought this was actually pretty clever by the store especially since I had yet to see a pressed penny booklet anywhere.

Antique Center of Gettysburg

The penny had an image of the National Tower Gettysburg with a cannon and the United States and Confederate Flags.  With the penny safely stored away I was initially going to head back outside, but the draw of the antique items in this store drew me further inside.  I was just mesmerized by the things they had in there that were all from the Battlefield.  From musket balls and other civil war weaponry, to union army metal plates and canteens.  I probably could have stayed in there for an hour at least, but kept my visit to about 20 minutes and I had only scratched the surface of what they had available for purchase.

Eventually I did head back outside and started to visit the last half of my stops before I needed to head home.

Philadelphia Zoo 2016 – New Machines!!

Last year we had decided to support our nearby Philadelphia Zoo by becoming members.  The fee for the family was really quite reasonable and not only could we visit that zoo but we also had free admission to hundreds of zoos and aquariums across the country.  We have had some really cold weather recently in Jersey and going outside even just running to the card was more than we could take.  Finally this past weekend we had some nice weather and I jumped at the change to take my daughter Hanna out for a trip to see some animals.  When we visited the zoo in previous years they always had a few penny machines around, and when we went last year they were all gone and I wrote out it here.  In that post I said I hoped that this was a sign that new machines were on the way and wouldn’t you know it I was absolutely correct.  Plus there was news about a mystery machine that was to be available but no pictures or information were available.  This sounded like a challenge.

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After a 40 minute trip we arrived at the zoo and headed inside.  We didn’t make it far before running into the first new machine.

Ticketing Booth

Right beside the admission ticket booth was a brand spanking new machine.  I will say I’m not a huge fan of the wheel instead of the handle crank, but that didn’t stop me from pressing a set.

Ticketing Booth Pennies

The first set of designs included a Flamingo, Monkey, Lion and the 6ABC Zoo Balloon.  All of the designs also said Philadelphia Zoo.  Thankfully with our membership we didn’t have to wait in line for any tickets and just headed through the gate.  Making our way methodically around every inch of the zoo we eventually came to big cat country which Hanna always likes.

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Apparently this Leopard was fond of Hanna as she kept following her as we walked past her.  After exiting the big cat area we were facing the Trading Post Gift Shop which was the location of the next machine.

Trading Post Gift Shop

Hanna helped collect the pennies as I pressed them.  She always likes to show them off to other kids that may be nearby.

Trading Post Pennies

These next four designs included two Giraffes, a Rhino, another Lion, and a Lemur.  By this time Hanna was hungry so we stopped for some lunch.  A couple of the kids Hanna had shown off our pennies to came up with their parents and asked if we knew of any other machines.  I told them we were on the lookout as well but had some tips on where they could be found.  The family was very appreciative and headed off on their search.  Once we were done eating we headed back out and it didn’t take long before we found the third machine.

Grove Gift Shop

The machine was right outside the Grove Gift Shop which was closed for the season.  Thankfully they kept the machine outside so we could use it.

Grove Shop Pennies

Continuing the theme of the zoo these next four designs had another set of animals on them.  A Cheetah, Gorilla, Seal and a red Panda.  Next we headed into the bird sanctuary which I liked but Hanna wasn’t a big fan of the birds walking and flying all around here.

Zoo Visit 03

Leaving before any of the birds could escape with us we headed down the last stretch of the zoo.  Here we found the Giraffes, Rhinos and Zebras.  Across from them was the Polar Bear Observation area which has an above water view and a below water view.  On the lower viewing area we found another machine.

Polar Bear Observation

The family we had met back at lunch was just leaving this machine and waved as they left.  We made our way up to the machine and pressed out set.

Polar Bear Pennies

As you can see in the above picture the images were of a Frog, Peacock, a Kangaroo and what I believe is an Aye-aye Lemur.

These above four machines were the ones that I knew about from pennycollector.com but we still had to find the mystery machine.  I did have some doubt that it may not have been made available yet, but I was holding out hope we would find it.  There were a few areas we had only briefly checked out and now we headed back in for a more thorough search but we didn’t find it.  As we started to head towards the exit I had one last glimmer of home the ZooShop.  Hanna ran in to try to find a toy to bring home and after she carefully selected a stuffed Pink Baby Elephant we headed out the middle set of doors and found the last machine.

Philly Zoo Machine 05 2016

As an extra special surprise this was another one of the latest and greatest super-multi design machines.  It had 8 brand spanking new designs available in total.

Zooshop Designs

Above is a close up of the 8 designs available that are displayed in the machine.  The cost for this machine was 2 designs for $1 or all 8 for $3.

Philly Zoo 05 Pennies 2016

All the designs are pressed on blanks which give a nice shiny finished product.  The designs included: The Zoo Logo, a Black Bear, and orangutan, a Parrot, a Three-toed Sloth, a Crocodile, a Northern Bald Eagle, and a Amur Tiger.

We were happy with our visit and had a pocket full of new pennies to add to our collection.  Another great use of our annual pass which really turned out to be a great investment for our family.  Looks like I’ll be renewing it very soon so I can keep an eye on these new machines.

Franklin Institute 8 Design Penny Machine – Philadelphia, PA

Just a few days ago I was checking out pennycollector.com to see if there were any new machines around my area and I almost jumped out of my seat when I scanned through the Philadelphia locations.  Last year I had taken my daughter Hanna on a day trip to Philly checking out some historical sites and ended with the Franklin Institute which is a huge science museum.  We had collected all the coins at that time, but brand new for 2016 they have added another machine.  Even more cool is that it’s one of those new super-multi design machines by the pennymen.

Franklin Institute 2016 Machine 01

Last spring I wrote about the first time I was able to use one of these machines which was located in Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World.  Below is the marquee at the top of this new machine.  I like the “Limited Edition” as it makes me hope there will be more designs available in the future.

Franklin Institute 2016 Machine 02

This machine functions exactly the same way as the one I used in Florida, except I did notice that this machine appears to be using coin blanks instead of pennies which are supplied by the machine.  To use the machine you start by making your selections on the touch screen.

Franklin Institute 2016 Machine 03

You can press one design for a dollar, or get all eight for $5.  You can pay with cash, credit, or Apple Pay.  Being the techie I am I used Apple Pay and elected for all eight designs.

Franklin Institute 2016 Machine 04

Above is a picture of the working parts of the machine and the die used to press each design along with samples of each coin.  Below I have included a short video I took of the machine in action.

After the machine finished pressing my designs I gathered them up and finished checking out the museum and eventually headed home.

Franklin Institute 2016 Pennies 01

You can see each design came out really nice.  I know when I used the machine in Disney almost every coin rolled a little short and the pennies used in the machine were not the greatest so the end results were a little disappointing.  But these really came out nice.

Franklin Institute 2016 Pennies 02

The first four designs include The Amazing Machine, Your Brain, the Sportszone, and Electricity (very cool exhibits by the way for electricity, so cool they will make your hair stand on end).

Franklin Institute 2016 Pennies 03

The second set of four designs are the Changing Earth, Kidscience, the Train Factory, and the Franklin Air show.

So if you are near Philly and in need of a science fix make sure to drop by the Franklin Institute.  It’s a beautiful museum with a whole lot of really great exhibits, and interactive things for people of all ages to enjoy.  The museum already had five penny machines available and this now makes six.  Plus these new machines are really cool and getting eight new pressed coins is a nice addition to your collection.

Insectarium – Philadelphia, PA

What’s better to celebrate Halloween than some creepy crawly bugs?  As I’ve mentioned in the past I am not a fan of bugs.  I don’t want to touch them, don’t want them near me and especially try everything I can to keep them out of our house.  But then I read online that a new penny machine is available at a place called Insectarium just outside of Philadelphia.  Well I tuck my pant legs into my socks and summon all my courage to not just bug out (sorry I had to) and do what I need to do for the pennies.

Insectarium 04

The Insectarium is located about 20 minutes outside of Philly.  On my recent little trip to the U.S. Mint and the Penitentiary this was my last stop for the day and thankfully I didn’t have a lot of time to explore all the insects located inside.  As you can see from the above picture the outside of the building is decorated with some large cutouts and even a giant ant crawling up the wall.

Insectarium 01

Earlier this summer Hanna and I had visited a similar place called Insectropolis that was originally an exterminating service, and then must have used their clients bugs to start their museum.  This place is no different and you can see that they do also offer an exterminating service.

Insectarium 03

Upon entering the front door you are immediately placed in the gift shop that has all sorts of bug related merchandise.  I had been in the store for all of 3 seconds, did not see any live bugs running loose, but was still feeling like I was covered in bugs.  Wow I really needed to get a grip.

Insectarium 02

My biggest issues is with spiders.  The large picture you can see above was located on the wall just beside the penny machine.  I swear the spider was looking at me.

Insectarium Machine 01

Feeling panic setting in quicker than I had anticipated I slowly moved towards the penny machine which was designed to look like a tree stump.  This was really a cool design and fit perfectly in this bug tortureland….uhh wonderland.

Insectarium Pennies

The four designs passed very nicely and the designs were simple but still a nice set.  The images included a Scorpion, Praying Mantis, Ant and Butterfly.  All of the pennies also had Insectarium printed across them.

As I was using the machine a nice lady that was sitting at the front desk asked if I wanted to go into the museum.  I confessed that I didn’t have much time, and had just stopped in to use the penny machine.  She insisted on handing me a bunch of flyers about the museum and encouraged me to come back as they had some great interactive exhibits.  This invitation did sound fun (Not really).  I thanked her and made my way back outside.  If you do want to visit the museum there is a small admission fee, or if you are like me and just want to stop by for the pennies there is no charge.  The people working there did seem really nice so I may suck it up and bring Hanna back to see the bugs.

With my quick trip to Philly done I headed home to catalogue my newest coin sets.  It took me two trip in but was able to visit all the machines and my Philly collection is now up to date for now.  Thankfully this hobby doesn’t stand still too long and I’m sure there will be new machines available next year.  That will just give me another excuse to come back and enjoy an authentic cheesesteak with a side of pressed pennies.