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).

Atrium

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.

One Liberty Observation – Philadelphia, PA

Quick disclaimer: I wrote about this trip and had it published in the April-June 2016 TEC Newsletter.  I have tweaked it a little bit so it wasn’t exactly the same as what I had written for TEC.  For anyone not currently a member what are you waiting for?  These are the type of articles you can read about in the newsletter each quarter.  We have a lot of fabulous members with really great stories and tips you just won’t find anywhere else.  This is the only time I’m going to post the same adventure here and in the newsletter, and I hope TEC will forgive me for giving a free sample.  I really just wanted to give you an example of what you can expect when you become a member.  Sign up today so you don’t miss the next issue.

On a side note I was the second runner-up in this years design contest (patting myself on the back, I’m a really terrible artist but had fun designing). Congratulations to Jason Armstrong for his winning design I can’t wait to receive my pressed copy in the mail.  See all the fun your missing by not being a member.

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I was in Philadelphia the other day on business which was right near their city hall.  When my meeting was over I asked my hosts if there was anywhere good to eat nearby.  They then asked if I had ever gone up to the observation floor in One Liberty Place that was just a few blocks away.  I said that I had not and didn’t even know about it, which immediately got them all riled up and they insisted I go before leaving the city.

One Liberty Place

How could I say no.  With some time to spare we made the short walk over and as you can see from the picture above this is a beautiful building.  It’s filled with office space as usual, but also has a shops and a food court on the lower levels.

One Liberty Observation 12

As you walk up there is a separate entrance for the Observation deck, and there are numerous staff members around to ensure you don’t get lost.  There is a fee which isn’t too bad, but I promise you will forget all about it once at the top.

One Liberty Observation 02

The picture above shows the elevator coming back down from the 57th floor, and would be our ride up to the top.  Being that my visit was in the middle of the week and in the early afternoon there weren’t many people here which was kind of nice.

One Liberty Observation 05

After the quick elevator ride (there’s a video you get to watch so you forget how high you are going), we walked out onto the observation floor and I was blown away by the view.  Unfortunately the day was a little overcast but the views of the city were really gorgeous.

One Liberty Observation 06

We had the entire floor almost to ourselves and was able to stroll around the entire level trying out the interactive displays exhibits and just enjoying the break from work.  At one point I sat down in a comfy chair just enjoying the view when I saw something out of the corner of my eye.

One Liberty Observation 09

A penny machine how cool.  Years ago I pressed some coins at the Empire State Building’s Observation deck in New York, so these weren’t necessarily the highest altitude pennies I have ever collected but still a nice surprise.  I quickly pulled out my emergency package of coins and pressed myself a set.

PA - One Liberty Observation Pennies

The designs are very Philly themed as you might expect.  The images included the One Liberty Observation Deck, a Philly Cheesesteak, Benjamin Franklin and the Philly skyline.

I’m not going to lie, when I saw the cheesesteak design it made me hungry so after finishing up my visit on the 57th floor I headed back downstairs and grab one for a late lunch.  This observation deck was really awesome and one of the best I’ve been to.  I’m not sure how enjoyable it would have been if it was crowded but being one of only a handful of visitors that day made it very relaxing and enjoyable.  Plus there aren’t too many place where you can press a set of coins over 750 feet in the air.

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.

Zoo Visit 01

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.

Zoo Visit 02

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

Eastern State Penitentiary – Philadelphia, PA

With Halloween only a few days away I thought I would review a place over in Philadelphia that gets a lot of visitors throughout the year, but around Halloween is when this place really gets crazy.  There are day time tours you can take, or for the really adventurous once it gets dark outside you can experience a ghost tour that I have heard it terrifying.  Who wouldn’t want to walk through the hallowed halls of an abandoned prison known as Eastern State Penitentiary.

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I will admit I did not opt to go at night for the Terror Behind the Walls, but instead went in bright day light to hopefully ward off any spirits that may have wanted to see me screaming back out to my car.  As you can see from the pictures this place is plenty creepy during the day.

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Eastern State was opened in 1829 and remained in operation until 1971.  The prison consisted of cell wings radiating in a full circle from a center tower where the prison could be kept under constant surveillance.   This design became known as the hub-and-spoke plan.

Eastern State Penn Overview

Originally the system of incarceration dubbed the “Pennsylvania system” encouraged separate confinement as a form of rehabilitation.  The prison had design aspects with religious inspiration, for example the halls were designed to have a feel of a church, and each cell had a single overhead skylight representing the “Eye of God”.  This was to suggest to the prisoners that God was always watching them.

Cell Eye of God

The prison housed some famous criminals including bank robber Willie Sutton, and Al Capone who had a an unusually comfy looking cell (guess being a mob boss does pay off).

Al Capone Cell

There was also an unusual story about a dog named Pep.  In 1924 Pennsylvania Governor Gifford Pinchot allegedly sentenced Pep “The Cat-Murdering Dog” to a life sentence at Eastern State.  The dog supposedly murdered the governor’s wife’s beloved cat.  Prison record reflect that Pep was assigned an inmate number (C2559) which is also seen in his mug shot.

After walking through some of the cell blocks, courtyard and having the hair on my neck stand on end the entire time I made my way back towards the entrance of the prison.  Down one of the hallways close to the exit you will find the Museum store.

Eastern State Penn 05

As with any Museum gift shop there is all sorts of prison related souvenirs available including posters, t-shirts, hand cuffs and anything else you can image.  Among all these items was another reason I made the trip to the prison.

Eastern State Penn Machine 01

The four design penny machine seemed a little out-of-place among the prison walls.  I pressed each design without any issue, as I sometimes find these types of machines require a little extra arm strength to turn.

Eastern State Penn Pennies

Each design had very nice detail and referenced the prisons famous history.  The images on each coin were: The main entrance to the prison with the year 1829-1971, Al Capone, The hub-and-spoke prison layout, and Pep the dog.

With the freshly pressed pennies in my pocket I quickly made my way out of the prison and back to my car.  It was early afternoon but I wasn’t sticking around until sundown when all the prison ghosts made their appearance.  Plus I had one other place to visit that was also going to leave me with a creepy feeling.

U.S. Mint – Philadelphia, PA

On my recent day trip with my daughter Hanna to Philadelphia one of the few places we weren’t able to visit was the U.S. Mint.  Technically we did try to go inside but found that the mint did not have any visiting hours on Sundays.  There were a couple other places we wanted to check out that day but just weren’t able to fit it all in.  Luckily however only a couple of weeks later I had a day off from work and was in the area for another appoint.  But I figured this was my chance to get to these last places on my list because as you may expect there were penny machines to be found.

I parked my car near the Independence Visitors Center which I had reviewed in a previous post you can see here.  This was a relatively inexpensive parking lot for center city, and after a short walk past the National Constitution Center I arrived at the U.S. Mint facility located in Philadelphia.

US Mint 01

For those of you that may come here for a visit in the future please note that security is pretty tight here.  There is a scanning procedure much like you would find at the airport where you must empty your pockets of all metal objects and walk through a metal detector.  Also, this was a big one that I was informed of numerous times was that Photography and Videography is strictly prohibited.  I spoke to some people who had visited the mint in the past and said they had no issues taking pictures, so I don’t know if this is a new policy or not.  But the security guards did not look like they were in a forgiving mood when they were explaining this rules.  So being the good little visitor I am I didn’t take any pictures so this post will be pretty short.

The U.S. Mints largest facility is this one located in Philadelphia and this location was originally opened in 1968.  This is actually the fourth mint that has been located in Philadelphia.  The first was built in 1792 when Philly was still the U.S. Capital  and began operation in 1793 and was known as “Ye Olde Mint”.

Ye_Olde_Mint,1792

After submitting to a body cavity search (just kidding, only the metal detector I promise) the first stop was actually the gift shop.  For any coin collector this is really a great place and has a wide range of proof coins available, books, collecting supplies and other unique coin related souvenirs.  Just outside the gift shop was where the pressed penny machine was located.

As I mentioned above I wasn’t able to take a picture of the machine myself.  I must say I really wanted to test my luck as I figured this machine didn’t have anything to do with the actual coin minting process which I assumed is what they are actually trying to protect.  But regardless my conscience got the best of me, and wasn’t up to spending the afternoon with Homeland Security just for taking a picture for the website.  Instead I have above the picture from pennycollector.com and I hope they don’t mind me using it so you can see what the machine looks like.  I must admit that the machine itself was really very nice.

US Mint Pennies

Each penny pressed very nicely with only a slight extra curve to each coin, but that was easily corrected once I got home.  The four images available were: a Majestic Eagle with wings spread, Ye Ole Mint 1792-1833, Ben Franklin with the LOVE sign, and the Philadelphia Skyline.

Just around the corner from the Penny machine was the escalator that started the self-guided tour through the mint.  There was no admission for the tour and took about 30-45 minutes depending on whether you read every piece of material posted along the way.  This was a really nice tour and had a ton of information that to be honest mostly went over my head.  I’m just a simple man who likes to look at nice shiny new coins, but understanding a little bit more about the entire process makes collecting them that much more special.

I will admit that after watching all the work that goes into making coins (including the penny) I kind of feel bad about squashing them.  But I just kept telling myself that they did have a penny pressing machine located in their gift shop so they must be okay with it.

Stop one was done but after a quick walk back to my car I was off.  Who knows, if I did risk taking the picture of the machine inside the mint I may have gotten a free ride to my next destination.

Independence Seaport Museum – Philadelphia, PA

It had been a long day and Hanna was quite the trooper.  We had visited numerous historical sites in downtown Philadelphia, but before heading home there was one last place to stop.  Located at Penn’s Landing was the Independence Seaport Museum.

Seaport Museum 01

It’s a museum dedicated to the maritime history of Philadelphia and other ports along the Delaware river.  There is a parking garage nearby but be aware it is pricey as they charge the same amount whether you are there for 5 minutes of the first 2 hours.  Usually this wouldn’t have been a big deal as I would enjoy spending quite a bit of time here, but since we had already had a big day I was just planning on stopping by for a quick visit.

Seaport Museum 02

The outside of the building has a fun nautical theme.  With your admission to the museum you can also access two vessels outside in the river.

Seaport Museum 04

In the above picture on the left is the WWII Submarine USS Becuna.  On the right is the Spanish-American war era Cruiser Olympia.  I have gone aboard on a past visit to the museum and these are really interesting to walk through an learn about their history.  Unfortunately this time around we were just here for the penny machine located inside the museum.

PA - Seaport Museum 01

The last time I had visited the machine was located near the restrooms and is where I immediately headed to but it was nowhere to be found.  Hanna had already decided she wanted to check out the gift shop which ended up being where the machine was now located.

Ind Seaport Pennies

As pictures above the pennies pressed very nicely with only a bit of a short roll on one of them.  Each of the designs have Independence Seaport Museum displayed.  Forgive my nautical ignorance but I’m going to list the designs as simply: A Large Ship, Anchor, Sailor at the Helm, and the City of Brotherly Love.

We headed back to our car and Hanna pretty much fell asleep as soon as we got back on the highway.

Heading Home

It was a great day, Hanna and I had a lot of fun trekking all over Philly and collecting a whole batch of new coins for our collection.  We learned some things about American history, Dinosaurs and Science and hopefully gave Hanna a day to remember.

The Franklin Institute – Philadelphia, PA

Finally we had made it to the big one.  This was the place that Hanna was most looking forward to, mostly because she just wants to run around like a maniac.  The Franklin Institute is a huge Science museum, and as I’m sure you can guess is named in honor of Benjamin Franklin.  It was founded in 1824 and is one of the oldest centers for science education in the United States.

Franklin Institute 01

We walked up the big set of stairs on the 20th street entrance and headed inside only to be greeted by Mr. Franklin himself.  Unfortunately it was only a huge marble statue but it was still nice to see him.

Beyond the statue we entered into the main atrium of the museum where we picked up our tickets, and also found the first set of penny machines.  The first machine we found was over by the elevators that took you to the parking garage.

PA - Franklin Institute 05 2015

However I should mention that this was actually not a penny machine.  If you click on the picture above you can view a full size version for more detail.  The machine actually had blank medallions that is supplies.  The instructions were pretty simple, use the handle to select the design you want, insert your $1 (per design), and then crank the handle until the pressed medallion dispenses at the bottom.  I will say it was nice not having to supply my own coin for once and they came out really bright and shiny.

Franklin Institute Pennies 05

These designs were listed as a limited edition which I would assume is because they listed the year 2015 on each of them.  But this also gives me hope that maybe these will be updated each year moving forward (fingers crossed).  The designs included: Electricity, Observatory, Your Brain, and The Train Factory.

Next we headed over towards the restrooms and found three more machines all right beside each other.  I always find when the machines are located near restrooms they are sometimes hard to used with so much traffic and people using them to lean against.  There were no different unfortunately but after a few minutes of excusing ourselves Hanna and I were able to press a set of each.

PA - Franklin Institute 02 2015   PA - Franklin Institute 03 2015

The first two machines were separated by a collectible token machine and an ATM machine.  They both pressed without any issue and were in nice working condition.

Franklin Institute Pennies 02

The first machine had a plain marquee on the top, but the bottom of the cabinet did have a zoomed in picture of one of the designs.  The images on each coin were: Benjamin Franklin, an Old Steam Engine, the Human Heart, and the Weather Center.

Franklin Institute Pennies 03

The next machine as you can see above had a nice American Flag theme to the cabinet.  The designs available in this machine were: The Fire Company Union, the Foucault Pendulum, Time Keepers, and the KidScience Logo.  A few feet to our left and we found the last machine in this area.

PA - Franklin Institute 01 2015

This machine also had the plain top marquee with the clear acrylic casing.  The bottom of the machine did say “Franklin Institute”.

Franklin Institute Pennies 01

This machine had designs of: The Human Heart, A Steam Engine, City of Brotherly Love, and Albert Einstein.

Just as a reminder, we hadn’t even gone into the museum exhibit areas yet.  All four of these machines were located in the main atrium and no admission was required to get them.  However there was one more machine lurking inside that you would need to pay to access.

With all the new sets of pennies stashed away we gave the attendant our tickets and headed towards the first set of exhibits.  This place is truly a science lovers dream, and has a lot of great interactive things for the kids and adults of all ages to enjoy.

Franklin Institute 02

Hanna found the giant human heart that you can walk through all the chambers and follow how blood flows through this amazing muscle.  There were sounds effects of blood pumping which Hanna wasn’t a fan of, but was fun walking through and taking in the detail of the model.

Franklin Institute 03

Eventually we worked our way into the Electricity section of the museum.  There were numerous activities helping to explain how electricity works.  Hanna had fun turning the handle and watching the light bulb light up.

We continued walking around the different areas of the museum and eventually made our way downstairs to the Space Command.  For anyone that enjoys outer space and astronauts this area would be for you.  As we rounded a corned to go into the next exhibit area we found the last penny machine.

PA - Franklin Institute 04 2015

This machine was nicely decorated with a Space themed cabinet, and the four designs were also themed accordingly.

Franklin Institute Pennies 04

As you can see from the above picture the designs are kind of a history of flight set: A Biplane, Space Module, Space Shuttle and a Delta Wing Jet.

After finishing our space mission we headed back upstairs and checked out the last few exhibits.  We began packing up all our things and headed outside to start walking back to our car.  Hanna was about ready to head home but we still had one last quick stop to make before our day was done.

Academy of Natural Sciences – Philadelphia, PA

After a short drive down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway we found a place to park that was closer to our final few destinations.  We took a little side trip to Logan Square and walked around the Swann Memorial Fountain.  By this time of day the temperature was in the mid seventies and we were just taking some time to enjoy the day outside.  There was actually a Polish-American parade taking place so we stood around and watched it pass us by for a little bit.  Once we had our fill we headed to one of my all time favorite types of museums.

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The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University is the full title.  What can I say I’ve been fascinated with Dinosaurs since I was a kid.  This is listed as being the older Natural Science Museum in the world, it was founded way back in 1812.

We headed inside, paid our admission and started at the top floor so we could work our way back down.  They have 37 dioramas for viewing which are simply three-dimensional displays showing a wide variety of animals in their natural settings.  Back in the 1930’s and 40’s when most of these dioramas were first installed they provided generations of museum goers their only opportunity to experience distant places and exotic wildlife.

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The only tip I would really give to anyone visiting this museum is to make sure you take a map from the admission desk.  There are some areas that you can only access by a specific elevator or staircase.  I’m always more of a fan when the layout flows more naturally and takes you through each area without having to backtrack.  We did find ourselves viewing the same areas a few different times when we tried to get from one area to another, but eventually we figured it out.  Saving the best for last we headed to the Mezzanine that gave a very cool overview of the Dinosaur Fossil area.

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Up on the Mezzanine there were some interactive exhibits that Hanna had fun with.  We walked to the far side and came down the stairs so we were face to face with the Dino’s which I don’t think Hanna realized just how big they actually were.

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She seemed didn’t mind the stationary fossils as much but there were a few that were animated and made some loud noises that she wasn’t a fan of.  We avoided those but enjoyed looking at the all different types of dinosaurs and of course we had to take a closer look at the T-Rex.

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We headed back out towards the main entrance and headed into the gift shop.  Hanna wasn’t interested in any souvenirs so we headed just outside the store and found the penny machine.

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This was another machine I had collected years ago.  The designs were still the same but the signage on the machine had been updated.

Academy Natural Science Pennies

All four designs said “The Academy of Natural Sciences” and included images of: A Polar Bear, The T-Rex Fossil, a Butterfly, and a Cannon.  The machine pressed the coins without any issue.  I had decided to get an updated set on nice new coins since my originals had been pressed on old crappy pennies.

I managed to carry Hanna’s stroller down the front steps and back outside.  We headed back over to Logan Square as it was a bit of short cut to our next destination.