Busch Gardens Tampa – Penny Machines Converted to $1

Time for bit of house keeping.  Busch Gardens Tampa has slowly become one of my favorite parks in Florida.  I’ll always have a special place for the Disney parks but there is just something about Busch Gardens that I really enjoy.  Whether it’s the animals, the rides, the food festivals or maybe even their Howl-o-Scream events each fall, they just do it all really well.  I reviewed all their pressed penny machines in a previous post which you can read all about here.

However, on a trip last fall I noticed that a couple of the pressed penny machines had disappeared.  This piqued my interest hoping for some new designs, so I revisited the park again a few weeks later and instead of new designs I found that just like the Disney parks the machines had the price increased.  It did take quite a few trips throughout the year before I was able to document all of the machine changes and that is what we are going to go over today.

See I told you this all started back in 2020.  Unfortunately as we all know theme parks and most other outdoor activities were closed for part of that year due to the COVID pandemic, but they did eventually reopen with some new safety precautions.

After you park, use the tram (or walk) then go through a temperature check tent you come to the main entrance of the park.  This is also where you can purchase tickets if you didn’t do so previously online.  On the side of one of the ticket booths are the first two machines.  Previously there were actually four machines here, two on each side of the main pathway down the middle, but now there are just these two.


Here is a close up of the new cabinets.  They did appear to get a fresh coat of pain and the colors of the signage looks nice and fresh.  However the designs are the same as before the upgrade.  The only real changes made are to the cost which is $1 per penny.  You can pay with cash, credit card or Digital payment like ApplePay.  Just note that when paying by Credit or ApplePay you automatically get all four designs.  You cannot pay for just one, two or three designs.  For that you must pay with cash.  Also as we have review in the past with similar changes the machine now supplies the penny to be pressed so you cannot use your own penny any longer.

Next you head through a security check with metal detectors and bag checks before having your park ticket scanned.  Then you are officially inside the park and are greeted with some gift shops and a couple small food kiosks.  Near one of the gift shops there is a bit of a breezeway between two buildings.  Down this little pathway are the next two penny machines.


Just as with the other machines we just visited, the cabinets have been freshened up a bit but the designs are unchanged.  I didn’t check my records but I believe these machines were found in a different location before the changes.  That seemed to be something I found on these trips was that the machines had been moved around a bit.  On a side note, if you need help finding the machines you can check out our Maps pages for this park and other Central Florida theme parks here.  We update them weekly and in my humble opinion will be the most reliable resource for your penny pressing trips!

I did mention a little earlier that the park had rolled out some new safety procedures to help encourage things like facial coverings and social distancing.  I thought the above sign was a cute way to make sure you are one “alligator” distanced from other guests.

These are a bit larger than 6 feet long so if you want to be extra cautious feel free to use these as your reference.  How are they not just eating those turtles?

Just like other parks, I find that for some unknown reason I always walk the same direction each time I go.  At Busch Gardens I head towards the right side of the park and find myself near Cheetah Hunt.  They have had a penny press in the past, that used to be right inside the gift shop.

But for now, it’s been moved outside in the courtyard area in front of the Serengeti Overlook restaurant just across from Cheetah Hunt.  Then we headed towards Cobra’s Curse, Montu and the Safari plains.  There are some nice little paths in between animal exhibits for meerkats, African dogs and even some Tigers.  Eventually you cross some railroad tracks into the Nairobi area of the park.

Near the Nairobi train station you will find a pressed penny machine and a mold-o-rama machine.  In past trips my daughters have collected all of the molds throughout the park and I may need to post about those in the future as I do get a lot of comments about them.

But on this trip we were focusing on the pressed pennies.  As you could see from the previous picture this machine is right near a crossing for the safari train.  When those barriers go down and the train passes by this area can get pretty crowded as guests taking pictures of the train or are just waiting for it to pass so they can cross the tracks. I have found when this happens the machine can be swarmed by guests making it a little hard to use, but fret not the train isn’t that long and will pass pretty quickly.

We kept walking through the park enjoying our day and found ourselves in the Pantopia section of the park.  There are quite a few places to eat and drink here, along with some attractions for some of the smaller ones in your party.

When you pass through the other side there is a ramp that takes you to the next area of the park which is on a bit higher ground.  Up at the top of this ramp is the next pressed penny machine.  My daughters really enjoyed the color of this one!

Not too far away from the top of that ramp is the U-Banga Banga bumper cars.  The penny machine located here used to be a little further down the path near the restrooms.

Thankfully they have been moved out of that area which was always crowded.  I really liked the orange color of the signage, just something a little different.

Eventually we came to the Orangutan area which is a guest favorite.  If you time it right you can see them being fed which is fun to watch.  There is a covered bridge / walkway near the viewing building that used to have two penny machines, but now only has one.

The designs from this machine are the same as they were before the cabinet upgrade.

Lastly we ended up in the Stanleyville section of the park.  Just across from the water flume ride is where I found the last penny machine.  This machine did offer four new designs all themed around the nearby Tigris roller coaster.


Tigris has been open for a couple years now, but I was very happy to see some new designs celebrating this attraction.  Sometime in 2021 they will be opening their next coaster called Iron Gwazi and I’m crossing my fingers for some new penny designs when that opens.  But if it’s like Tigris we may not see those for a while after the attraction opens.

Those were all the pressed penny machines.  For those of you that read my previous posts may have noticed that the park used to have a total of 12 machines, and now only have 10.  I have gone back a few more times but haven’t seen the other machines so I’m thinking they just downsized a bit.  Each machine is numbers, and the highest number I found was 10 so I don’t believe I missed any.  Maybe this is just temporary and when the new attraction opens we will see additional machine(s) released.  As I mentioned at the beginning this has become one of my favorite parks and I’ll definitely be back to keep an eye out for anything new.

Thank for visiting this week, stay safe and Keep on Pressing!


Happy St. Patrick’s Day 2021

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!

01 St Patricks Day Penny

To help celebrate I wanted to showcase a really cute pressed penny from The Penny Depot and is called Lucky Gnomes.  They really do have some fun designs over at their online store which you should check out.  I’m over there quite often buying up all their new designs for my collection.

An uncle of mine was from Ireland and used to laugh at all the St. Patrick’s Day “traditions” we have here in the US.  But you know what I really enjoy Corned Beef and Cabbage.  However more importantly for us it’s just another excuse for our family to get together for some great food and catch up.  Plus another little strange part of our celebration is that we do our St. Patrick’s Day on the 16th instead.

02 St Patricks Day

The reason for this is that March 17th is my wedding anniversary.  We are not Irish, and to be honest when we initially picked our wedding date we completely forgot it was St. Patrick’s day.  But it certainly makes it an easy day to remember.  I found the above penny design in The Penny Depot store and had to buy it.  This is such a cute saying and I know I’ve heard my kids say it to their grand parents and it’s really become a new way to express you feelings for someone.

03 St Patricks Day

To my amazing wife Monica, thank you for being such an amazing part of my life.  I love you to the Moon and Back!

Enjoy your St. Patrick’s Day celebration, we have a fun day planned for our Anniversary.
Keep on Pressing!!

Among Us – Video Game Pressed Pennies

My family has recently become obsessed with a video game.  To be honest I haven’t really played many video games recently, but loved them when I was younger.  When my sister and I got our first Super Nintendo System we were hooked.  But as the years went by the excitement for me slowly faded along with my hand-eye coordination.  I started to feel my age when I played a game recently and thought to myself “It’s too fast and I just can’t do it”.  Yikes have I really gotten to that age already?

This has all recently changed when I had heard some podcasters I listen to talking about a game called Among Us.  I didn’t think much about it until soon after my oldest daughter was playing a new game, and she was using some of the same “terms” I had heard on the podcast like “Imposter” and “Sus”.  Sure enough she was playing the same game.  Now being the diligent parent I am, I was curious to investigate what she was playing so I created my own account and we started playing together.  It only took one game for me to get hooked and now it’s become our new nightly routine after homework and before bedtime.

First let me give you a bit of background on this game.  Among Us is an online multiplayer “Social Deductive” game created by American game studio Innersloth.  Basically it’s like a murder mystery in space.  My inner Agatha Christie fan may be part of why I like this game so much.


The game takes place in Space on a Spaceship and players are randomly assigned one of two roles.  Most are Crewmates, but either one, two or three (depending on that games configuration) are assigned as an Impostor.

The goal of the crewmates is to try and identify the imposters, and eliminate them all while completing various tasks throughout the ship.

There is a map within the game that players can view to see the different rooms of the ship and where their tasks are located.

But beware when you are doing a task some of them cover the entire screen so you cannot see if an imposter enters the room to try and take you out.

This also means you may come across a recently deceased player in a room and will want to report it immediately, or depending on your strategy maybe you want to leave it for someone else to find.

When a body is report this sparks a meeting of all players back in the cafeteria.

At the time you can chat with other active players to try and deduce what happened.  Any deceased players cannot be apart of the chat but are allowed to watch so they can see how the rest of the game plays out.  A common term players use is “Sus” meaning someone was doing something Suspicious or Suspect.  In the chat it’s very common to see someone say “Orange was acting very Sus” which could be true, or maybe the imposter is trying to get you off their trail by changing the focus to another player.

Once the players have chatted about who they think may be the imposter(s) a vote screen pops up where you can make your selection.  Or if there is not enough information you can opt to skip the vote.

But be careful if the imposter is doing their job well you may end of voting the wrong person out and they are tossed off the ship.

As I mentioned a little earlier, any player that is either killed by the imposter or ejected from the ship due to an incorrect vote, they will become a ghost.  Only other ghosts can see each other, but you are invisible to the active players.  So you can follow who you think may be the imposter or you can help the crewmates complete all the outstanding tasks to help win the game.

The imposter will win if they are successful in killing off a majority of the crewmates while also sabotaging the ship.  The crewmates win by either completing all their tasks before the imposer kills everyone, or if they identify the imposter and vote them off.

It’s just a fun whodunit.  I remember back in High School my English class read Agatha Christie’s play The Mousetrap which became a favorite of mine, but I also enjoy her other play And Then There Were None.  Both take place in a secluded locate with a set number of characters that are all slowly being killed off, and the mystery is on to try and figure out who the killer is.  This game is the digital version of those plays and I just immediately fell in love with the concept.

On a recent visit to The Penny Depot website which I have really come to enjoy their fun and unique penny designs, I came across these two new coins.  Just weeks ago I’m sure I would have just passed by them not giving them a second thought as I just didn’t understand what they were about.  But on this recent visit as soon as I saw them I called my daughter over to see them and she said we needed them for our collection.  I couldn’t order these fast enough and was so excited when they did arrive in my mail just the other day.

This game is free to play and thankfully for me doesn’t require much skill or gaming dexterity.  It’s more about just wondering around a ship trying to solve simple little puzzle tasks while figuring out a mystery.  I’m sure I won’t be playing this forever, but for now I really enjoy being able to experience this with my daughter.

Have a fantastic week and as always Keep on Pressing!