Union Station – Washington, DC

Recently my father has been commuting from New Jersey to Washington, DC for work.  Instead of driving the whole time he’s been taking the train at the beginning of the week and coming home at the end for the weekends.  After his first week when he came home he was telling us all about it and mentioned how amazed he was by Union Station in DC.

Union Station DC 01

A couple of years ago I had visited DC with my family for a long weekend vacation and we walked by Union Station but didn’t have time to go instead and look around.  My dad took some pictures and it really is a cool looking building.

Union Station DC 02

Then suddenly one day something struck me.  I remembered that the reason I had initially wanted to go inside Union Station was because they had some penny machines.  I quickly logged on to pennycollector.com and double checked to see if the machines were still available, and wouldn’t you know it they were still there.  I sent my dad off with some quarters and pennies and asked if he could stop by the Lower Level near the food court and press me a set.  Thankfully my dad doesn’t mind indulging me in my obsession and went out of his way to get them for me.

Union Station DC Machine 01

Both machines are located near each other but are in the food court area.  My dad said both machines were working fine, but that they were among some of the tables with people eating close by which made them a little awkward to use.

Union Station DC 01 Pennies

The four pennies at this first machine had images of the Union Station Building, The Washington Nationals MLB Baseball team Logo, The Capitol Building, and George Washington.  The second machine was located in a very similar location among the food court tables.  This one wasn’t as busy but I would assume it gets crazy at certain times of the day.

Union Station DC Machine 02

All the pennies rolled out nicely and the images were all Washington DC themed which was cool and were going to fill in the missing spots of my collection from a few years back.

Union Station DC 02 Pennies

The coins at this location had images of some famous landmarks nearby.  The White House, Martin Luther King Jr National Memorial, the Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial.  I thanked my dad for taking the time to get these for me.  It’s always fun to try to convince your family and friends to press some coins.  I’ve had some tell me it’s only for kids and they won’t do it (but I secretly think they enjoy it).  But most of the time they don’t mind and I always try to send them with everything they need to make it as easy as possible.

Smithsonian National Zoological Park – Washington, DC

As with a lot of my day trips I had to pass through Washington DC for a work thing and had the afternoon off before heading home so I jumped at the chance to get some new pennies.  A couple of years ago we took our first daughter Hanna on a long weekend trip to DC and visited all the museums and she especially loved the zoo which you can read about here.  I’m always checking online to see if and when new machines become available to try to keep my collection as up to date as possible, and wouldn’t you know it the zoo had all brand new machines.

Washington DC Zoo 01

One fantastic thing about the Smithsonian National Zoological Park (whew!) is that it’s absolutely free.  There are some places to donate to the zoo and help the animals which I would absolutely recommend everyone do.  This place is pretty big and I will give advanced notice part of it is along the side of a fairly steep hill / mountain.  I would probably recommend starting at the bottom when you first get there so that once you are heading home you just have to coast down the hill.  In any case I did not take my own advice and started at the back near the visitors center which was where I made my first stop.

Washington DC Zoo 02

Inside the visitors center is one of the gift shops, a set of restrooms and some other little exhibits to check out.  My reason for stopping by is the penny machine located right outside the restrooms.

Washington DC Zoo Machine 01

As you can see this is another one of those new fancy super multi mega design machines.  This one offers 2 designs for $1 or all 8 for $3.  But, it was out-of-order so I came back empty-handed with this one.  To help cheer myself up I grabbed an ice cream cone which always helps.  I visited various animal exhibits and next stopped at the Panda Shop.

Washington DC Zoo 03

As you can see in the above image the penny machine is located right outside the main door of this store.

Washington DC Zoo Machine 02

Another thing I will say about these machines is that they were all decorated really nicely.  I’m always a fan of nice cabinet images, the plain ones just never seem as exciting.

Washington DC Zoo Machine 02 Blog

This machine was back to the standard four designs and had images of a Giant Panda with Baby, Giant Panda lying on a rock, a Mountain Lion and a Seal.  Nearby was the Bus Stop area which is pretty self-explanatory.

Washington DC Zoo Machine 03

Each of these four design machines are $0.50 plus your penny.  I always come prepared but it was nice to see change machines available.  Please note that this Bus Stop is actually where all the school buses and tour buses drop off all their riders.  It took me a little while to use this machine because it was just swarmed by school kids from a bout 4 or 5 buses all at once.

Washington DC Zoo Machine 03 Blog

However the kids were very nice and let me by to use the machine without much fuss.  They were interested in watching me use the machine a little too closely (I like my personal space) but after I left I saw them all trying to find loose change for the machine.  The next four designs were of a Giant Panda eating, a Komodo Dragon, a Mountain Lion, and another Giant Panda walking.  Since I was in the Panda area and this zoo is known for their Panda’s that is what I checked out next.  Another FYI this area of the zoo is always PACKED with visitors.  It is not uncommon for the zoo to set up a queue for entering this area so be prepared to wait.

Washington DC Zoo 04

This trip however the Panda’s were actually being kept inside.  I’m not sure if it was due to the heat or not but this did help keep this area a little calmer.

Washington DC Zoo Machine 04

Down near the outside viewing area is nice coverage section with interactive displays and is a pleasant place to take a break from the sun.  This was also where the next penny machine.

Washington DC Zoo Machine 04 Blog

Sick of Pandas yet?  How can you possibly be they are so cute and watching them eat bamboo is fascinating to me for some reason.  Always, these pennies had the Elephant Trails, a Panda lying on a rock, a Spotted Eagle Ray, and an Elephant.

Washington DC Zoo 06

Once inside I finally found one but as you can see from the picture above he was not up to entertaining his guests.  Oh well maybe next time.  I made good time through the panda exhibit and as I left the crowd was really started to fill up (probably due to all the students, I really miss field trips).  Now I was at the top of the mountain and was making my way down trying not to think about the climb back up I would have later on. One of the first buildings I came to was the Great Ape House.

Washington DC Zoo 09

If you like primates this is the place for you.  There are some outside but again due to the heat most were inside.

Washington DC Zoo Machine 05

About half way through the Great Ape House I took a break from monkey watching to use the machine located inside.

Washington DC Zoo Machine 05 Blog

You may have guess that these coins would be themed after the primates and you would be absolutely correct.  The designs are as follows a Gorilla’s Face, an Orangutan on a vine, a Panda Face and one of my favorites a Ring-Tail Lemur.  I finished visiting with the monkeys and headed outside only to go immediately into the next building which was the Reptile House.

Washington DC Zoo 10

Here’s a little disclaimer I’m not a fan of snakes and Reptile houses are usually filled with them.  I do my best to confront my fears but I’m still convinced they will escape from their exhibits.  Sucking it up and made a mad dash inside, used the machine and got the heck out of there.

Washington DC Zoo Machine 06

Unfortunately due to this I can’t really tell you what other animals are inside, but I will say the machine worked perfectly for the few moments I was there.

Washington DC Zoo Machine 06 Blog

Next four pennies designs were reptile themed except for another panda.  The images included the Baby Panda, an Alligator, a Komodo Dragon, and a Turtle (Tortoise?).  I finished walking down the mountain and make a quick stop in the Mane Grill (Lion exit was near by get it, haha).  After a short snack I found the last penny machine near an Info Booth and a wall of vending machines.

Washington DC Zoo Machine 07

Even though I always had eaten some ice cream the Dippin’ Dots machine beside the penny machine was calling my name so I pressed the coins as quick as I could.

Washington DC Zoo Machine 07 Blog

These last four pennies had a Cobra, an Elephant, and Panda lying down, and lastly the famous Panda Bao Bao.  With Dippin’ Dots in hand I started my slow climb up the mountain and headed towards the exit where my car was located.  It had been a fun day visiting with the animals, doing some cardio and getting a whole bunch of new pennies.  Even though the big fancy 8 design machine was out-of-order I’ll try sending a letter to the zoo in an attempt to get a set.  This is a great zoo with some really unique exhibits I haven’t seen anywhere else.  Be sure to check it out if you’re in the Nations Capital but don’t forget to bring your walking shoes.

Washington, DC – Day 3

It was Smithsonian Museum day.  For our last full day in Washington, DC I had schedule us to try to do the unthinkable, visit all the major Smithsonian Museums in one day.  To be honest we had planned our trip during the week to try to avoid the crazy weekend crowds at these places and for the most part it had worked but ever so often you would run into huge crowds which I guess are just unavoidable.

I had found a parking garage only a few blocks away from the museums.  We parked the car, strapped Hanna into her stroller and we were off.  It only took a few minutes for us to arrive at the National Mall.  We did pass a few of the museums that we would eventually come back to but our first stop was The Castle.

castle

This is really just an information / visitors center but there was a gift shop and what do most gift shops have?  A Penny machine you are absolutely correct.  My daughter stood with her face right up against the penny machine watching as I pressed the coins.  She loves the clink, clink, clink noise the machine makes as I turned the handle.

The_Castle_01

Our popped the four new pennies with the following designs: The Castle, Smithsonian Institution, Abraham Lincoln, and a Carousel Animal.  Each of the Smithsonian museums had their own pressed penny booklet for temporary storage.  Before we left the castle we checked out the gift shop and they had all 4 of the booklets for the museums we were visiting.  Hoping to save time I bought one of each for my collection (yes I collect these penny booklets as well).

Leaving the castle we walked back out to the National Mall.  Hanna thought this was the perfect place to start running around and get the stored up energy out.  It was a beautiful day and she had a lot of fun, although we did have to watch out for the occasional bicyclist zooming by but we avoided any incidents.

Next up was the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.  When we arrived the museum had just recently opened, however we got stuck behind a school tour.  There was a massive amount of elementary school kids making it impossible to enter the museum.  We just waiting at the end of the line and eventually made it inside.  Unfortunately due to the massive amount of kids running around this museum we didn’t spend as much time here as we would have liked, but it was very impressive and had some really cool exhibits.  My wife really liked the Julia Child’s kitchen and even had her picture taken in front of it.  There was also an industrial revolution exhibit which some amazing machinery on display which Hanna seemed overwhelmed with how big everything was.  As we roamed around the museum we did come across the two penny machines that were available.  One was on the first floor outside the gift shop, and the second was on the lower level outside the cafeteria.

American_History_Museum_02   American_History_Museum_01

The first machine had 4 designs: The American History Museum, A Buffalo, Sparklab, and The First Ladies at the Smithsonian.  Second machine also had 4 designs: American on the move, Within these walls, The American Presidency, and a Steam Locomotive.

By this time we had spent enough time surrounded by rowdy children in a confined area that we needed some fresh air.  We headed back outside and walked a couple blocks down to the National Museum of Natural History.  As a dinosaur loving kid this was always my favorite type of museum growing up.

natural history mu

As soon as we walked inside we were met by a huge stuffed elephant in the middle of the main lobby.  Hanna started calling out to the elephant and we had to try to work our way closer to get her picture taken with it in the background.  This museum was also pretty busy not luckily the school kids hadn’t arrived yet.  We started with the primate exhibit, then eventually made it to the dinosaurs and fossil section (my favorite).  Hanna wasn’t too impressed but I was immediately transported back to my childhood and could have spent the entire afternoon reading about all the different dinosaurs.  We slowly made our way up through the different floors and found the Hope Diamond which is 45.52 carats in size.  Not sure if you know the history of this diamond but it is a very interesting story.  Search online for it if you have some time.

It was early afternoon by the time we headed down to the museums cafeteria.  We had our lunch and just as we left the cafeteria there were 3 machines.  There was a group of people standing and looking at the machines but not using them.  I asked if I could sneak through to use the machines and they watched in fascination as I pressed the coins.  I don’t think they spoke very much English but after I had pressed all the pennies one of them held out a hand of coins and I helped gather the correct number of quarters and pennies so they could press their own design.  They started taking pictures and laughing while using the machine.  Once they were done I said goodbye and headed back to my family who were waiting by the elevators.

Natural_History_Museum_01   Natural_History_Museum_02   Natural_History_Museum_03

Each machine had 4 designs that all pressed perfectly.  They consisted of different animals or creatures found within the museum.  I knew there was one more machine somewhere in the museum so we headed back upstairs towards the gift shop which always the best place to look.  Right outside the gift shop we found the machine which I pressed quickly as there was a line forming behind me.  This machine also had 4 designs.  A Tarantula, Elephant, Butterfly and T-Rex.

Natural_History_Museum_04

With the pennies safely stored away we headed outside and walked across the national mall to our last stop the National Air and Space Museum.  By this time Hanna was pretty much done for the day.  My wife and I were also tired and had done a lot of walking this entire trip.  We maneuvered around the museum fairly quickly checking out the different air and space crafts on display.  It’s really amazing to see these things up close and in person.  There were three machines in this museum.  Unfortunately I was only able to find the one by the cafeteria, and another outside the gift shop.

Air_and_Space_Museum_03   Air_and_Space_Museum_01

I pressed the coins for these machines and wanted to try to find the last machine but Hanna was really ready to go.  We packed up and headed out of the museum and back towards the parking garage.

Eventually I did get the coins from the third machine.  If you are new to pressed penny collecting please check out PennyCollector.com.  This is a great company that actually supply a lot of the machines listed above.  They have a huge list of penny machine locations you can use to see what is around where you live.  This is where I go to prep for my penny collecting trips.  They also have a store where you can purchase retired or limited quantity pressed coins, however they also offer a concierge service which is what I used to get the pennies from this last machine.

We spent the night at our hotel just outside of Washington and headed home the following morning.  We had seen a lot of places and collected a lot of pennies.  I met some interesting people and hopefully helped start some of their own pressed penny collections.  It had been a fun few days in Washington and we will definitely be back.

Did you keep up on this trip?  Sometimes at the end of these trips I think to myself “Maybe I should schedule fewer places to visit so we can spend more time at each location?”  But then once I’m at home in my basement putting all the new pennies away into storage I think “Nah” I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Every so often I take these pennies out and go look at each and every one of them and just remember the trips we and things we did.  It’s something I wouldn’t change for anything in the world and I’m just very great full my wife doesn’t mind this little vise.

Wow I need a vacation.

Washington, DC – Day 2

Our hotel was located right across from Andrew’s Air Force Base which I somehow didn’t realize when booking the room. Luckily I must say it was a very quiet area and there were no loud airplane noises during the night.  We woke up and headed to an IHOP for breakfast before taking a 15 minutes drive into downtown Washington, DC for day 2.

I picked a parking lot close to the center of our tour for the day so that it was within walking distance should we need to end the trip early for any reason (ie grumpy/tired daughter).  We took a short walk over to the White House and maneuvered our way through a variety of people protesting whatever conspiracy theory they believed was currently taking place.  You can see by the picture below this was about as close as we could get.

white

With the White House off our bucket list we started walking down Pennsylvania Avenue.  Our next stop was the Washington Welcome Center which is a large souvenir store that also has a tour bus service.  I already had our day planned out so we didn’t do the bus tour but it does seem like a great way to see all the popular sites in a quick amount of time.  My wife and Hanna started looking around the store as I came across the penny machine located here.

Washington_Welcome_Center

The designs included: The Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Trolley Tours and the Washington Monument.  While I was using it I did have a couple of people come up and ask about it.  This is a common thing that if you become a pressed penny collector you will run into and should try to encourage.  It’s a great way to meet new people and help keep the hobby going strong.  We left the store and walked up the street passed Ford’s Theatre (we were coming back to this shortly).  There was another store called Honest Abe’s souvenirs which I ran into and pressed the next batch of pennies.  My wife stayed outside with Hanna who was more interested in having a quick snack.

Honest_Abes_Souvenirs

The designs of this machine were: Abraham Lincoln, the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial and Ford’s Theatre.  For some reason this place was incredibly packed so I squeezed my way back outside and joined back up with my family.  Moving across the street we paid admission to see Madam Tussaud’s celebrity wax museum.  These usually freak me out as I always think one is going to come alive (watch the horror moving House of Wax if you don’t believe me).  We walked through the exhibits which were really well done.  This location really focused on American history so it included sculptures of all the Presidents, and other Washington, DC celebrities.  The museum ended with a snack bar and gift shop which also housed a penny machine.  See how dedicated a collector I am?  I risked going through a freaky wax museum just to get some pressed pennies.

Madame_Tussauds

Just like the wax figures in the museum these pennies focused on American Presidents.  The designs included Bill Clinton, John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama and the White House all including the Madame Tussaud’s’ logo and location.  The people working in the wax museum were very nice and thanked us for coming.  We left and walked back the way we had originally came so we could visit Ford’s Theatre.

Tour tickets were free but you had to wait in line as they only allow groups of people in periodically to help keep the crowds inside manageable.  We only had to wait about 15 minutes before we were allowed to enter.  Since we had Hanna’s carriage with us we were allowed to skip the line and use the elevator instead of the stairs.  We checked out the museum first which displays the pistol and bullet that shot President Lincoln.  There were other exhibits listing the details and timeline of events that occurred leading up to the assassination.  Very interesting, but at the same time very morbid and almost seemed inappropriate to be gawking over all these items.  The museum was starting to fill up with the next group of visitors so we headed back to the elevator and headed to the actual theatre balcony.

ford

We sat in the balcony and listened to a tour guide describe the history of the theatre.  By this time Hanna had fallen asleep in her carriage so we decided to skip the rest of the tour and head out.  Before leaving the theatre we did pass the gift shop that had a penny machine.  I pressed the pennies and met them outside before we were off to the next location.

Fords_Theater_01

Hanna continued to sleep as we walked a few blocks over to the American Art Museum.  Admission was free and they have an amazing collection.  I’ve always been a big Edward Hopper fan so I used the museum’s app on my phone to look up the artist and the app let me know there were a couple of his paintings on display and even gave directions on where to find them.  We walked over did the obligatory art stare as we tried to make it look like we were artsy folk.  To be honest I know very little about art, but just really like his paintings and style that’s it.  I try not to pretend I know anymore about it.  There was a part of the museum setup almost like a library or lounge with lots of seating and desks you could stay and work or relax at.  In this area there was a penny machine with 4 designs.  I pressed them and we continued our tour of the museum.

American_Art_Museum

With our art quota filled for the day we headed back outside and walked a few more blocks until we came to the National Building Museum.  This museum is dedicated to just that, buildings.  But also to architecture and structural design which makes it very interested.  There is an admission fee to view this museum, but we were just there to pressed some pennies and the machine was located outside the gift shop which was free to access.  The main floor was one huge room with a water fountain in the middle.  Hanna was awake by this time and wanted to stretch her legs so she took this opportunity to run around like a maniac.

National_Building_Museum

Each penny design included famous buildings from around the US.  They pressed very nicely and the machine even had an attached change machine which I hadn’t seen too many of so far on this trip.  I always come prepared with additional change and pennies but it was nice to see these change machines from time to time in case extra is needed.

We stopped for a quick bite to eat and then headed to the last location for the day.  It was a place called the Newseum.  This place was dedicated to the media in all forms, print, radio, and TV.  We starting going through the exhibits but by this time Hanna was ready for the day to end.  My wife kept Hanna occupied while I raced to find the two penny machines and do what needed to be done.

Newseum_01  Newseum_02

Both machines had 4 designs each.  The first machines has the Newseum building, News Hound, Freedom, and Not tonight dear I’m on a deadline pennies.  The second machine designs were a Microphone, Camera, Typewriter and another News Hound.  These machines didn’t roll very smoothly and the pennies came out a little short but designs still came out fine.

Leaving the Newseum we walked a few blocks back to where we had started and found our car in the parking garage exactly where we had left it (that’s always good).  We headed back to the hotel to relax before ordering in some food for dinner.  It was a great day, very busy and we saw lots of places and even feel more knowledgeable about some American history.  Let’s get some rest for tomorrow is another busy day.  I can hear those pennies calling my name.

Washington, DC – Day 1

With Baltimore behind us in the rear view mirror we had our sights set on Washington, DC.  We had been to Washington a few times in the past but always just to take in a Nationals baseball game, and then headed right back home.  This time we wanted to really check out the monuments, the history and of course the pennies.

For our first day in DC I had us scheduled to try to visit three different locations.  First up was the Smithsonian National Zoological Park home of the famous Giant Pandas.  One great thing I found out about DC was that most of the museums and attractions had free admission.  They do take donations at most of them, and the zoo even charged $2 for a map.

We had somehow managed to park in a lot right near the Panda area of the zoo.  After we had purchased our map we immediately came to panda information booth which had the first two penny machines.  The first machine has one design of a Giant Panda, and the second machines design was of a Tiger.  The information booth was closed but we came to the Panda gift shop and decided to check it out (never too early to shop for souvenirs).  Right inside the gift shop was the next penny machine that also had just one design of a panda holding a cub.

Panda_Plaza_Gift_Shop

After prying some stuffed animals out of my daughters hands we headed out of the gift shop and towards the Giant Panda exhibit.  The zoo had just opened and yet this area was already swarming with visits.  It took us almost 20 minutes just to get through the crowd and catch a glimpse of the pandas.  At the bottom of the viewing area for the pandas there were two more machines.  First machine has one design of the panda cub Bao Bao, and the second machine had one design of Tai Shan another cub born in 2005.  As soon as I had these pressed we got the heck out of there and headed towards calmer areas of the zoo.

Giant_Panda_Habitat_02

 

Next we wandered into the Visitor’s Center which has some details about conservation efforts at the zoo and as you would assume another gift shop.  There were two penny machines here but both were out-of-order.  The first machine had one design Mei Xiang and her Cub.  The second machine had three designs: A lion, a panda and an elephant.  I’ve been scouring eBay and my other penny collector friends but haven’t been able to get these designs from anyone yet.

After cooling off for a bit in the visitors center we continued following the path to the other exhibits along the way.  Eventually we came to my daughters favorite place which was the small mammal house.  For those afraid of mice, rat or other small animals this is not the place for you.  Hanna watched some Meerkats running around their area and thought it was the funniest thing.  We had to drag Hanna out of this place as she wanted to take everything home for a pet.  Across the path we found a refreshment stand and stopped by to get some snacks.  While waiting in line I noticed there was a penny machine to the right of the stand.

Food_Stand_Small_Mammal

This machine has just one design as well of a lion but still came out great.  Machines like this can sometimes be hit or miss as you don’t get to supply your own penny.  The machine has pennies already inside and you get whichever one comes out.  Sometimes it can be a nice one and other times not.  Luckily for me all these machines were spitting out very nice finished products.

With our snacks completed and bodies rehydrated we walked down to the Great Apes exhibit.  This was a large building that you walked through and could see all the usual primates.  Some were more active than others, and it’s always nice to see the exhibits that have large areas for them to swing around and show off their strength and agility.  This is another location in the zoo that had a large crowd moving through very slowly.  We took our time but eventually needed to get away from the really slow-moving people.  Right before the exit there were two penny machines.  The first had one design of an Orangutan, but the second machine was broken.  It had 3 designs: A zebra, a panda and a tiger.

Great_Ape_01

 

Our zoo trip was almost finished.  We slowly headed up hill back towards our parking spot.  We quickly stopped by Pachyderm Plaza and checked out the elephants.  They were outside roaming around which is always nice to see instead of them cooped up inside.  We said goodbye to the elephants and exited the zoo to the parking lot.  Got buckled in and started off to our next location.

No sooner had we started driving away from the zoo but Hanna fell asleep in the back seat.  The trip to our next location the National Cathedral only took a few minutes.  When we arrives it was really overwhelming to see the giant Cathedral in person.  You see it on TV a lot but don’t realize how huge it really is.

cath

My wife offered to stay in the car while Hanna slept so I quickly jumped out and headed inside.  They were offering tours but I didn’t want to partake in this without my family so I just headed off to try to find the pennies.  As I entered the Cathedral I was informed the machine was in the gift shop.  Heading straight back towards the gift shop I wandered around checking out all the items for sale but didn’t see the machine anywhere.  I finally broke down and asked the teller  behind the counter and she mentioned that the machine had been moved to the second gift shop which was located in the basement.  Following her directions I headed down the narrow stairwell to the basement and came out into a smaller gift shop.  About halfway towards the back of the shop I found the machine and pressed the coins.

Washington_National_Cathedral

Not wanting to keep my family waiting I headed back out to the parking garage.  Hanna was still sleeping so I started the car and headed to our last location of the day.  By now the bright sunny day had turned dark and started to rain.  The first parking lot I could find near our last location I pulled into, and we made a made dash around the corner to the National Geographic Society.  There was an admission fee but was pretty reasonable.  The museum has lots of very interesting exhibits and great history on the magazine.  I remember as a kid using these magazines for any school project I had as they covered every subject imaginable.  Towards the back of the museum near the restrooms was their penny machine.  While my wife started wrapping Hanna up for the mad dash back to the card I pressed the pennies.

National_Geographic_Society

This machine worked perfectly and pressed 4 very nice designs.  A Shark, T-Rex Fossil, Mt. Everest and I believe a Sabre tooth tiger skull.  We walked back outside and to our dismay it was still raining.  Running back around the corner to the parking lot luckily our car was pretty close to entrance so we jumped in and headed back to our hotel for some much needed rest.

Did you keep up?  Hope so as Day 1 was just the beginning.  Wait until you see what we do tomorrow.  Many more places to see and pennies to press.