Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) – Tampa, FL

On the weekend I was heading to Busch Gardens in Tampa for a special event but along the way, I passed the MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry) near the park.  I always loved science museums as a kid and knew I wanted to bring my daughter back to try it out.  This past weekend we finally made it back and had a great time.

There would usually be plenty of parking in the back of the museum.  However, during our visit, there was a renaissance fair going on nearby that was sharing the museums parking so spots were pretty sparse.  After a short walk, we made it to the museum entrance.

Even outside the museum were some fun science experiments like one with a couple large satellite dishes allowing you to whisper on one side for your friend to hear 30 feet away.

I will admit that the museum looks much larger from the outside.  Not to say it’s small, but I was thinking it may be more than one floor.  All the exhibits were spread out on the main floor that extended pretty far back.

The exhibits covered all sorts of different topics as they usually do.  At the very beginning was some info on the space program and even had a tire from one of the shuttles on display.

There was a hanging table that simulated seismic waves like an earthquake.  My daughter thought this was so much fun.  We would build a tower, then press the button and watch the table vibrate and our tower falls apart.

Another fun experiment was this tug of war contraption.  We watched a family pull on one side but couldn’t budge the one person holding the opposite end, due to all the pullies the rope was threaded through.  Ahh, science!

One area took me a bit by surprise as it had some dinosaur fossils, usually, I would think this more for a Natural History museum.  But there is science in all things so and I’m not complaining about being able to see some dinos.

Back in one corner of the museum was dedicated to hockey science.  They had displays showing all the different equipment the players wore and how it protects them against injuries.  Another display shows how they painted the lines on the ice and also how a Zamboni (the vehicle that cleans the ice) works.

Each area wasn’t huge in size but there were so many different topics to explore that we did get to spend a good portion of our day playing with all the different experiments.

However, one area of the museum that kept drawing my daughter was the obstacle course outside.  This is located outside in the courtyard of the museum.  There is a harness that you get strapped into that is connected to the support beams as you make your way through the course.  This just ensures you don’t have any way to fall or get hurt.  My daughter was so excited to try it but only made it a little way up as I think she underestimated how high up she would go.  It was still a lot of fun and she has been talking about it ever since.

We eventually headed back inside and were ready to call it a day.  Towards the entrance of the museum just past the admission desk, there was a wall of vending machines.  My daughter immediately headed to the Dippin’ Dots machine for some “ice cream of the future” as it’s labeled.  After she had her snack I used the pressed penny machine right beside it.

Each penny says the Museum of Science and Industry on it along with images of a T-Rex, a Sauropod, a Pirate and some Butterflies.

This museum had plenty for us to do and we will definitely be back for more fun.  They mentioned that new traveling exhibits come in and out all year long so we will keep an eye out for future visits.

One thing I thought of after we had left was about the penny machine and how they should make an exhibit out of it.  They could demonstrate the amount of pressure needed to squashed the coin, and how the gears work to allow us to create so much crushing power with so little arm strength.  I’ll have to submit a suggestion the next time we visit!  Happy collecting.

NEW Medallion Art of Disney Store – Disney Springs

On August 2nd the Disney Channel released the final movie in their Descendants series.  This is a series of movies my daughters have only recently found, but were immediately drawn into them and are their current obsession.  Basically the story revolves around the VKs (Villain Kids), the children of all the famous Disney movie villains like Mal the daughter of Maleficent, or Evie the daughter of the Evil Queen from Snow White, Carlos is the son of Cruella de Vil, and Jay the son of Jafar just to name a few.

To celebrate this new movie, over at Disney Springs on the Waterside Stage they started having nightly DescenDance Parties.  Basically, there is a DJ up on stage encouraging everyone to dance, and periodically there are video clips show on stage with the Villain Kids showing off new dance moves or of course promoting the new movie.  When I told my girls about it they immediately wanted to head over and check it out.  To be honest, I was kind of blown away, the movie is great and the kids absolutely loved it.  Most of the adults are sitting back on the benches watching, and down front by the stage are all the kids (or kids at heart) dancing around enjoying their favorite songs.  The show starts nightly at 7:30pm and runs through 10:30pm.  We stuck around for a couple hours at which time our girls were exhausted but we still had to drag them away.  No one was quite ready to head home yet so we wondered around Disney Springs a bit and just window shopped a few of our favorite stores.

Over near Rainforest Cafe is one of my favorite stores the Art of Disney.  I try not to buy too many items from this place but they have so much cool stuff it’s hard to just look and not buy.  It had been a while since my last visit so we headed inside to see what was new.

The artwork is constantly being rotated in the store but mostly because it’s very popular and people buy up all the artwork as quickly as they put it out.  They have paintings, prints, posters, sculptures and so much more.  There are even animators on hand that will hand draw your favorite Disney character if you want.

As we walked through the store I noticed in the far back corner where the collectible Medallion machine usually was located, it was no longer there.

I headed over to that side of the store just to make sure but did find it had just been moved to the opposite corner.  This seemed a little strange so I headed up to it just to see if anything else had changed.

The machine itself was the same with no changes.

Then when I looked at the designs that were available one immediately stuck out.  There used to be a Frozen design with Anna and Elsa as the far left option.  But now there was Mickey’s 90th Celebration design.

Here is a close up of the button on the machine.

Above is a picture of the actual medallion that I picked up for my collection.  The cost is also the same as before, $10 for 3 medallions or $5 each.  Definitely a bit pricey but these are not plastic or cheaply made coins, they have quite some weight to them and the designs have very nice detail with Mickey and his birthday hat.  Plus I love the slogan World’s Biggest Mouse Party.  This will make a nice addition to my Mickey’s 90th Celebration set of pressed pennies that the parks released earlier this year.  If you want to read about those pennies you can check it out here.

Since Mickey’s 90th is only going on until the end of the year, and this machine also has a dated 2019 medallion the odds are good they won’t be around forever.  I’ll have to remember to keep a closer eye on this machine as the designs seems to be changing more frequently than I would have guess.

2019 MLB All-Star Game – Cleveland, OH

It’s that time of year again for the Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star Game.  This year marked the 90th All-Star Game and was hosted by the Cleveland Indians.

The game was played on July 9th, 2019 and (SPOILER) the American league won 4-3.  As with previous years, there were some special pressed penny designs issued for the game.

There were six pennies in total which is similar to other years.  The designs included the 2019 All-Star Game Logo, the Host City, and some other really nice images.

This was the 6th time the All-Star Game was hosted by Cleveland and the first since 1997.  This also established Cleveland as the team to host the most All-Star games, breaking a previous four-way tie with the Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, and Cinncinati Red all having hosted 5 games.

The game was played at the Indian’s home Progressive Field.  The ballpark originally opened in 1994 as Jacobs Field and held that name until 2007 when it was renamed after the Progressive Company paid for the naming rights.

The above design was made for the Home Run Derby which is one of my favorite parts of the All-Star week.  This year’s winner was Pete Alonso of the New York Mets.

This is always a fun set of pennies I look forward to being released each year.  I wish I could say that I was able to press these in person but I’m not lucky enough to be able to attend every All-Star Game.  Thankfully the CTMGroup (Pennymen) press some extra sets and offer them for sale on their website.  If you are interested to be sure and head over there quickly before they sell out.  Now I just need to wait until next year.

Florida Theme Park Maps – Now Available

Over the years since I started posting about my pressed penny collection, and trying to keep everyone up to date on new Disney coins I receive quite a few comments and emails from all our wonderful readers.  The questions range from tips about starting or storing a collection to my guess on new coin designs.  But one question I do get quite often is if I have any maps of the Theme Parks that show the locations of all the coin press machines.

Years ago if you visited Walt Disney World you could head over to guess services and they would have printed maps showing where the machines were, but those quickly became outdated and are no longer available.  Then a few years ago I remember seeing a sign on one of the WDW machines listing a web address to maps that were being maintained by CTM Group, Inc (The Pennymen), they worked pretty well but that also quickly became outdated a year or so later.  Currently Disney has added the Coin Press machines to their myDisneyExperience mobile app which is a nice feature, but I find it lacks in information about what type of machine is there (Penny, Quarter, Dime), how much are the coins to press, and even if there is more than one machine in this location.

So in an effort to try and help fellow collectors, I have taken it upon myself to try and help with a series of updated maps.  These will be updated each time I visit the parks (which is on a pretty frequent basis right now).  I have been working on these for a few weeks now tweaking the layout and the information available that I feel would be most beneficial to anyone looking to press some coins.

First I want to review what maps are available.  Of course, there will be all of the Walt Disney World Theme Parks and Disney Springs:

We will also have maps of all the Disney Resorts:

 

Disney Water Parks, Mini-Golf Courses and even the ESPN Wide World of Sports.

There are also maps of the Universal Orlando Resort (Parks and Citywalk areas):

SeaWorld, Legoland, and even Busch Gardens.

 

Basically, we are going to try and keep updated maps for all the big Central Florida theme parks.  As you can see from the sample pictures above we are using updated maps directly from the parks, and we created a special legend to help review the cost per coin at each machine, whether a credit card can be used to pay, and whether you need to supply your own coin to be pressed, or if the machine supplied a preloaded zinc penny.

These maps have been added to its own area of the blog.  Located right underneath the main banner at the top of the page there is a menu option for “Penny Maps”.  Click here for a quick review of how the legend on each maps works, definitions used on the maps, and of course links to each available map.  The maps are all in standard PDF format and are completely FREE.  Please feel free to download, print, share and use these on your penny pressing trips and visits to the park.  If you have any comments about any changes you feel may be helpful in future revisions of the maps please let me know.  Happy Collecting!

Brevard Zoo – Melbourne, FL

Every so often on a weekend when I ask my daughters what they want to go and do they surprise me by saying no to a theme park.  As I child I would have given a limb to live so close to these world-famous theme parks, but I guess sometimes you just need to do something else.  A recent weekend had us in just this predicament so I quickly searched around for a place we haven’t visited yet and found the Brevard Zoo which was about an hour and a half away on the east coast.

Due to the drive, we arrived later than I would have usually preferred, and we did run into a bit of an issue finding a parking spot.  The parking area is a decent size, but it was packed which on the upside is a good sign that this is a popular place.

After we paid for our tickets we headed inside.  This was a really nice place with some wide-open areas to just sit and enjoy the day, plus a lot of different geographic zones showcasing the animals.

Weaving all around the zoo was a large pond/lake.  At one point we did see people canoeing with a guide which I believe is something the zoo offers for an additional cost.  We may have to come back and try that out when the girls are a little older so I don’t have to do all the paddling.

Even though we live in Florida it’s always still fun to see these zoos with a “Wild Florida” area filled with the wildlife we can see almost on a daily basis.

There were plenty of pathways taking you through the different exhibits, and most of them were a bit elevated so you could get a nice higher up view of the animals.

Of course in the Florida area, we saw plenty of Alligators both swimming (floating) or resting on land catching some sun.

We also came across a Bobcat which my daughter absolutely was fascinated with and wanted to bring home with us.  Thankfully we found a popcorn stand nearby and I was able to bribe her away from that idea with a snack.

After visiting our local Florida animal friends we headed into the Australian outback.

They had some big lizards back here but of course, the main event was the kangaroos.

Next was probably my favorite area of the zoo which was an African area.  It started out with an exhibit filled with Meerkats which is always fun to watch as they pop their heads out of the holes.

But then as we continued walking the path started to go up on an incline when we came to the big guys.  On one size were some zebras and a rhino all enjoying some lunch.

After that, we strolled over to the other side where the giraffes were found.  You could pay for some lettuce leaves to feed them which was a very popular activity.  I’m not sure exactly how much food a giraffe eats in a day, but I’m sure they get plenty at this place.  The walkway eventually deadends and you make your way back through the African area but we did spend most of our time here as I just thought it was a unique way to get up close and personal with the giraffes.

After we finished checking out the zoo and had some lunch along the way we headed back towards the front of the park.  Just outside of the Wonders of the Wild gift shop we found the penny machine that I maybe sorta kinda knew was here.

This was a really cool looking penny press.  It was shaped like a tree stump about four feet tall, and then had a statue of a monkey on top making sure you don’t use the machine incorrectly.  I’ve seen a similar machine at an Insect machine in Philadelphia years ago (just without the monkey).

The penny designs were pretty standard for a zoo.  Meerkats, a River Otter, an Alligator, and a Zebra.  To be honest, I’m kind of surprised there wasn’t a Giraffe design but I guess I’m one of the few that really liked that area of the zoo.

This wasn’t the largest zoo we have ever visited but it was a lot of fun and had some very unique exhibits that I really enjoyed.  I’ve always really loved visiting zoos and aquariums so you don’t have to twist my arm too hard to go to one.  Especially when they are within a reasonable drive from home, and of course having a pressed penny machines helps.