Universal Florida Holiday Medallions 2021

For quite a few years my family’s Holiday tradition was to head over to Disney and check out the Christmas Tree trail at Disney Springs, or maybe a Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. But with prices and crowds soaring lately we have been looking for other options. Thankfully not too far away is Universal Studios Florida which has quickly become our new favorite place to help us get into the holiday spirit.

In 2020 we had quite a limited offering of Holiday events, but this year the parks were starting to get back into the swing of things. It’s not quite like it was before, but we are getting there slowly. The decorations at Universal are always some of my favorite and it starts before you even walk into the park.

One of my favorite activities Universal offers is their Holiday Tree Scavenger Hunt. The way it works if you buy a scavenger hunt map which contains the locations you need to visit. These are primarily all the different gift shops throughout City Walk, Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios. Once you find the tree inside the store, just head over to the nearest team member and they will stamp your map. After you have found all the trees there are a couple redemption locations you can visit to claim your prize which is a fun ornament you get to take home. The tree pictures above was one of my favorites with some Gone But Not Forgotten Universal attractions, but there were so many of them and they were all fantastic.

In years past Universal would only offer Hot Butterbeer during the “Colder” months, but recently that has changed and it’s offered year round now. For me however, trying to enjoy this beverage during the middle of a steamy Florida summer is far from enjoyable. So I save this for a nice cool December day, I’m mean 65 degrees is cool enough right? I do enjoy all the different versions of Butterbeer in the Harry Potter areas of the park, but I will admit that the Hot version is my all time favorite. If you haven’t tried it make sure you do the next time you visit. But maybe just not in the middle of the summer.

Back in the New York area of Universal Studios near the Jimmy Fallon Race through New York Ride, and the Mummy coaster is where you can find the centerpiece tree for the parks. This thing is huge, with a ton of lights and ornaments. Plus if you keep an eye out you may even see the infamous Earl the Squire pop his head out of the tree.

Right near the big Universal Tree is the fan favorite Tribute Store. Not too long ago we were in here for the Halloween version and you check that out here. They certainly change these stores over quickly, which is amazing when you see all the details and decorations they have inside.

The first room you walk into is setup like Santa’s workshop. You can find some toys in the midst of being built, plus a much of actual items for sale. I even saw a model train moving around the perimeter of the ceiling pushing the Back to the Future Delorean.

The second room was themed all around Earl the Squirrel and had an amazing variety of sweet treats including the pictures Christmas Tree cupcakes. But there was so much more, gingerbread cookies that looks like a squirrel, Grinch candy apples, colorful holiday macarons and so much more. There was something else of note in here, but we will come back to that shortly.

The third room was all about the Grinch and Whoville. Plenty of great t-shirts, sweaters, grinch pajamas, and plenty more. with the Grinchmas music playing in the background I found myself spending quite a lot of time just hanging out in this area. It felt almost like I was up on that mountain scheming with the Grinch.

The last area of the Tribute Store this year was designs all around Harry Potter. This was really a beautiful design with plenty of snow and icicles all along the walls and fixtures. They even had projection snow falling along the walls as you walked by. I always enjoy spending time back at home in Hogwarts Castle. As you finish with this room you find yourself down a little hallway that exits back out into the park. But…..

Remember that Earl the Squirrel room with all the sweet treats I mentioned earlier? Well inside that room I came across a new set of Collectible Medallions. Some of you may remember that during Halloween Horror Nights they had released a special set of medallions that were extremely popular. At that time I had hoped this would be a continuing trend and so far it looks like my prayers have been answered.

As with the previous medallion set the cost is $5 for one coin, or $15 for the entire set of four. The designs were amazing and included the Universal Studios Logo with the Christmas Tree, The Grinch himself, Earl the Squirrel all dressed up for winter, and the facade of the Tribute Store.

The reverse image on all the coins is the same and had a fun design with some holiday lights surrounding a few snow flakes and Universal Studios. These really are a nice new set of medallions and I’m so happy Universal made these available.

For the rest of our visit we finished the tree scavenger hunt but didn’t do much else. On this holiday visit we were really just enjoying the decorations, atmosphere and eventually we stayed to watch the Parade with Macy’s Balloons. Rides would wait until the next time we visited, but on this outing our focus to getting into the Holiday spirit even if though the temperature eventually rose over 85 degrees and I just had to remove my ugly Christmas sweater to ensure I didn’t pass out.

One last note on these collectible medallions, when I visited this machine during Halloween there was almost always a line of guests picking up a set. So far I haven’t seen that type of popularity with these holiday designs but I don’t that doesn’t deter Universal from releasing more for each new event. Early in 2022 they will be having their Mardi Gras events and I would love to see some new coins with maybe a King Cake, or the famous King Gator Float. There are so many possibilities I just can’t wait to see what comes out next. If you visiting Universal Florida be sure to let them know how much we love these new coins and pick up a set so they keep making more.

Have a fantastic Holiday everyone. Enjoy some special time with your family and friends and I’ll see you in 2022.


Racing’s North Turn Restaurant Pressed Pennies | Daytona Beach Vacation Day 5

There was so much racing history inside this restaurant I wasn’t able to include too much in our post below, but you can check out so much more on our YouTube video here.

It finally had come, the last morning of our family vacation. We took our time packing up all our stuff and checking out of our hotel. Then we visited a few last souvenir shops before heading back down south to Ponce Inlet where we had spent most of the previous day.

During our drive the day before to the Lighthouse we passed by a restaurant that was right along the highway and on the beach that caught out eye. We tried to visit after the Lighthouse but the place was packed so we thought we would try for an early lunch and even then we had to wait a bit for a table.

Daytona Beach has quite a history when it comes to motorsports and other automotive racing. This place was called Racing’s North Turn Restaurant and it sits on the exact location of the first sanctioned Nascar Stock Car and Motorcycle racing took place from 1948-58.

The parking lot right near the restaurant only had a few spots available, but there was a much larger parking area across the highway but was a bit dicey trying to cross the busy road. This place was like a museum inside with tons of historic pictures, memorability, racing trophies, and even cars both inside and out.

The whole back of the restaurant was completely wide open and you could see the beach and Atlantic ocean not too far away. The exhilarating ocean air always makes for a relaxing eating experience. The food offerings here included plenty of fresh seasons, burgers, and so much more. I opted for some Chicken Tacos which were stuffed with chunks of fried chicken, shredded lettuce and homemade pico salsa then tossed in a supercharged spice sauce. These were a bit messy but so delicious.

I’m a sucker for some good onion rings and order them always anywhere we got that has them on the menu. These were nice big sweet onions with a super crunch but light batter. With a nice ice-cold draft beer to top things off this place made for a really great lunch experience.

Back inside the restaurant, there is a small gift shop near the check-in desk when waiting for a table. In this same area, they had a pretty interesting-looking penny press machine. It had a really striking dark cabinet and a big plexiglass display in the middle showing off the larger inner working of the machine. There seemed to be a lot of extra parts inside but after using the machine I realized it was because this machine supplied the pennies to be pressed. You can see the three storage tubes in the middle and extending up towards the top of the machine. Quite an interesting design. The machine was $1 per press and only took dollar bills, there were no credit card or digital payment options here. Also, the machine was extremely slow to press.

The penny sets available here were all about the area’s racing history. You can see above the designs of a racing motorcycle, the classic 22 race car that could be found out front of the restaurant, a couple classic cards on one coin, and my favorite the restaurant’s logo Racing’s North Turn Bar & Grill.

We paid our tab, headed back across the highway, into our car, and then started heading back home. This wasn’t a long vacation, but we certainly packed it with plenty of things to see and do. My entire family had such a great time and we are already coming up with ideas of where we want to visit next. Thank you for tagging along on our vacation to Daytona Beach, we pressed plenty of pennies and had plenty of fun in the sun. Stay safe and Keep on Pressing!

Pressed Penny Holiday Ornament

As some of you may know, I am constantly scowering the internet looking for new and unique items that are Pressed Penny related. If you have been with us for awhile you may remember things like the Holiday Porcelain Statue, or Pressed Penny Jewelry, and how can we forget about the recent Edible Pressed Penny we found at Walt Disney World.

Just recently I came across a post on a pressed penny club Facebook group from a fellow collector Colleen Williams who had designed a special Christmas Tree ornament that allows you to display one of your favorite pressed pennies. As soon as I saw this I thought it was such a cool idea that I reached out to her and placed my order. They just recently showed up and they are even cooler in person. The dark background and clear front really helps to show off the coin you place inside. There is a secure clip at the top that opens and closes to house the penny inside. The only note I have is that the coin will need to be almost completely flat to ensure it fits nicely inside.

Photo Credit: Colleen Williams

Colleen was offering these ornaments to all collectors and the cost was a Set of 5 for $12, 10 for $22 and 25 for $49 plus the cost of shipping. If you are interested I have included a link here for the post she made on Facebook about the ornaments and you can use that to contact her directly to place your order. She also mentioned that she is currently working on a slightly different design for medallions and we all know how popular those 50th Anniversary Walt Disney World medallions have been. Those would look so cool all over your tree.

I hope you are all having a fantastic Holiday Season so far and the New Year is quickly approaching. Enjoy the rest of your day and as always Keep on Pressing.

Edible Pressed Penny?

As most of you I’m sure are aware Walt Disney World is currently celebrating their 50th Anniversary. The celebration kicked off October 2021 and will continue on for 18 months. Previously we posted about the special 50 (ahem..53) pressed pennies, and the the 50 (ahem again..53) collectible medallions. But during this time they are also releasing some very special merchandise, and near and dear to my heart snacks. There were so many to try, but one immediately caught my eye so it was time for a trip back into the Magic Kingdom.

We didn’t have too far to go since the item was available at Casey’s Corner which is located at the end of Main Street USA towards Cinderella Castle. Currently they are still encouraging everyone to use their mobile order system so I grabbed my phone and placed my order.

The item we were here to try is the Pressed Penny Silk Pie. Yes you hear that correctly, this is a special edible pressed penny dessert.

The ordering process was pretty quick and within a few minutes I was walking out with our snack. I headed over to the picnic area in front of the castle and settled in to get a closer look at this beauty. The description said this was a Chocolate tart shell, with a silky chocolate filling, sweet whipped cream, dark chocolate curls and topped with a chocolate pressed penny.

The above is my attempt at a cross section picture for you, but it was pretty hot out and this thing was starting to melt a bit. My first spoonful was incredible, it has a very chocolatey taste to it, but since it was a silk pie it was light and airy at the same time. Once I started eating I couldn’t stop, this was really fantastic.

How could I forget about that chocolate pressed penny on top. I remember seeing a picture online from Disney previewing this item and the penny design looked familiar so I searched through my collection and found it. I think this was such a cool touch to the snack by including an actual pressed penny design that was available in the park. I brought my penny along for a bit of a photoshoot, then enjoyed taking a bite of the penny…umm I mean the chocolate penny that is.

I’m hoping this snack sticks around for the entire 50th celebration and maybe even beyond if it’s that popular. I really enjoyed it, but I’m not sure if I would have wanted to immediately jump on a ride afterwards. Probably a better idea would be to have this as mid-afternoon sweet pick-me-up, then grab a Joffrey’s coffee and just enjoy the park ambience for a little while before finishing off your day.

I still can’t believe I was a able to enjoy an edible pressed penny. Only Disney could come up with something this creative. If you are visiting Disney during their 50th be sure to head over to Casey’s and pick up one of these Pressed Penny Silk Pie desserts you won’t be disappointed!

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse Pressed Pennies | Daytona Beach Vacation Day 4

For even more of our visit to the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, head over and check out the full adventure on our YouTube video here.

After our fantastic Beach day our vacation was quickly coming to an end. We had decided to take a trip south down the coast with our windows down and just enjoying a leisurely cruise. We made our way all the way down to an area called Ponce Inlet.

As we drove around we started seeing signed for a Lighthouse which I’m always a sucker for and love visiting. Coming from New Jersey we had plenty of Lighthouses and I really enjoy the history of them so we followed the signed to our destination.

The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse was on quite large piece of property. There were quite a few different buildings nearby that were previously used as the dwellings for the three different keepers that used to live and work at the Lighthouse. They were all very preserved, but we were limited to only looking in through the windows as tours were not currently happening.

The lighthouse stands at a total height of 175 feet is one of the tallest in the state of Florida. It was constructed in 1887 and has guided mariners along the Florida coast for over 130 years. The Lighthouse was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1998.

Thankfully the lighthouse was open and available for guests to who are interested in climbing the 203 steps to the top observation area.

This is a very high spiral staircase that is pretty narrow. There are some flat platform areas that can be used to allow other visitors to pass by when going in the opposite directly. But this can be quite a daunting climb for some.

However once you get to the top the circular observation area that wrapped around the lighthouse gives some breathtaking views of the surrounding area. After that long climb up we were not in a rush to head back down and really took our time to check out the views.

Eventually it was time for us to start heading back down to ground level. It was a little easier going down, but as much as you may want to I would highly recommend you don’t look down if you are at all susceptible to vertigo or just not a fan of heights.

Once back on the ground we headed towards the exit of the property which as any good road side attraction does, put us right into a gift shop.

In one corner of the store I can across the pressed penny machine I knew was here somewhere. In a couple of the lighthouses in New Jersey the machines are actually inside the Lighthouse, but here they kept it at a safe distance inside the store.

I have used quite a few of these Penny Press style machines in the past and they work really well. This one really stuck out to me because of the cool picture of the lighthouse on the front of the cabinet. This was surrounded by some nice intricate swirling wood work and really made it stand out.

The set of penny designs that were available here included a couple different views of the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, a semi-generic I Love you! design that included Ponce Inlet FL at the bottom, and the last design was showcasing one of the famous black and white cats that have lived at the Lighthouse for over 100 years.

I was so happy that I could check off another great lighthouse from my list. The history behind these amazing structures is always just a guilty pleasure of mine, and as I said even thought I don’t like heights I can’t resist going up to the top and just taking in some amazing views. This was our last full day in the Daytona Beach area and we would be checking out the next day from our hotel but had one last thing to do before we headed back home. Stay tuned for the post about our last day of Vacation and one final set of pressed pennies.

Beach Day and Boardwalk Pressed Pennies | Daytona Beach Vacation Day 3

If you are interested in seeing even more of our Beach Day and visit along the Daytona Beach Boardwalk, head on over and check out the full adventure on our YouTube video here.

I remember years ago when my wife and I would go on vacation just the two of us, staying out late and then sleeping in until noon. Well those days are long gone, and we now have two active daughters who are up before the sun on most days even when we are not on vacation. This trip however I actually wanted to be up before the sun so I could catch it rising above the Atlantic. The night before I asked if anyone would get up with me and they all shot me down. So I set my alarm and was up and out on the Boardwalk with many other visitors to catch the most amazing sunrise.

I had my camera all setup on a tripod and just sat on a nearby bench enjoying the show. The sound of the waves crashing into the beach was just so relaxing and zen I probably could have almost fallen sleep out there. But here in Florida once the sun is up the temperature rises and it’s time to jump in the water.

I did head back into our hotel room to help pack up our beach things, like blankets, towels, sand castle building equipment and a truckload of sunscreen. Thankfully we didn’t have far to walk and headed down on to beach.

Once perk up getting up early and heading to the beach is you get the primo spots nice and close to the water before the beach fills up. I did find that crowds were pretty manageable during the day, but in the afternoon and into the evenings they got much busier. The water was perfect and after setting up our temporary home on the beach, then slathering on the sunscreen we all ran into the ocean. The waves weren’t too high during this day which was nice since our girls always want to go further and further out.

We spent the entire morning switching between swimming, building an terribly designed sand castle, sun bathing, and snacking. It was fun to just be here together with no agenda. Laughing at me for dropping my hot dog in the sand, but most importantly just being a family and enjoying each others company.

Eventually we were all pretty tired and decided to pack up all our things. We headed back to our room to try and remove as much sand from ourselves as we could and took a bit of a nap. Then in the early evening we were all pretty hungry and found an intriguing place nearby called Sloppy Joe’s.

The restaurant was located on the second floor of an outdoor shopping complex. They had huge windows open allowing that wonderful sea breeze to flow through and that sound of the ocean was just hypnotic. The food was a mix of coastal favorites like fresh seafood but also had plenty of sandwiches and burgers. I opted to try their namesake Sloppy Joe sandwich was just as I remembered from my high school cafeteria, but a little more upscale. It won’t be winning any awards but after a long day at the beach this classic comfort food really hit the spot.

After dinner we decided to walk around a bit more and just enjoy the evening. Nearby we found another gift shop that we didn’t know about called Beach Express.

As soon as we opened the front door I was met with a wonderful sight a pressed penny machine. Now I will admit this was in a terrible location. My family headed inside to do some shopping while I attempted to use the machine. I’m not sure if the above picture does it justice, but to use the machine I basically needed to keep the front door open otherwise the hand crank would hit the door. Plus people were coming in and out of the shop while I was blocking their way. Anyways, I eventually got the pennies pressed and headed inside to see what my kids had picked out.

This was another great set of pennies that included similar designs we had seen before of Bike Week, Racing Capitol of the World, but then had a one of a Dolphin with a Lighthouse stating Daytona Beach as the World’s Most Famous Beach, and a cute couple walking on the beach.

We finished our shopping in the store for a few items we wanted to bring back for our family and friends, and then headed back out to the Boardwalk. I’ve mentioned in the past I lived in New Jersey for over 20 years and am no stranger to Boardwalks. This was a far cry from some of the ones I’m used to like Point Pleasant or Seaside, but this was still a fun experience. Plenty of places to sit, eat and even play.

One place I wanted to visit was the Joyland Arcade. As I’m sure you can surmise there was indeed a pressed penny machine inside but first I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce our kids to a classic arcade. I remember when I was young and would spend all my spare quarters at an arcade near my house. They were dark, smokey and kind of seedy now that I think back on them, but I absolutely loved being in there and playing all those games.

Thankfully this arcade was not dark, smokey or seedy but instead it was extremely hot inside. I don’t think they had any a/c inside, plus they had a to go window where they were selling all sorts of fried foods which I’m sure added to the heat inside. That all disappear from my mind as soon as I we started playing some games. My kids were looking to play things like Angry Birds. For my choice however I headed into the back to play things like Ms. Pac-Man, POW and Cruisin’ USA. I was in nostalgia overload and was enjoying every moment of it.

After awhile my kids and I had spent all our allotted quarters and were ready for a sweet treat before heading back to our room. First however I needed to pressed another set of pennies at the machine inside the arcade.

This set continued the trend we have been seeing of designs themed around Racing, Bike week and Dolphins with slightly different images than before but the fourth design was a great way to top of our day as it showcased The Daytona Beach Boardwalk. Oh and incase you are wondering about those sweet props in the picture above, those were our prizes from the arcade! Needless to say we weren’t very good.

As we walked back towards our hotel the sun had set, the temperature was perfect, and it just made for an amazing evening. By the time we got back to our room everyone was ready to crash which I took as a good sign that we had another amazing day.

Lights on Apache Drive | Holiday Pressed Coins 2021

Happy Holidays everyone, I hope you are getting into the Holiday spirit. If not hopefully this week I can help by sharing some information on an amazing holiday light show by one of our friends and fellow collectors who has also created a custom pressed coin design. Let’s take a closer look at the Lights on Apache Drive by Bob Frazier and his family.

Bob has been with and worked for the Independence Missouri Fire Department for over 34 years which is an incredible milestone. Their holiday display started about 20 years ago as just some lights on their roof and a few inflatable in the front yard. Then over the years it got bigger and bigger.

About 5 years ago the show evolved into what you see today. Currently their show includes 15,000 l.e.d. pixel lights and about 25 animated props all set to music.

Visitors can tune their car radios to 100.3 FM and enjoy the show from the warms of their cars. On warmer evenings kids will stand out on the sidewalk and dance to the lights and music. If you are in the area please be sure to stop by and check out this amazing show which is located at 911 N. Apache Drive Independence Missouri.

Four years ago they added the Santa and Friends events. On Saturday evenings Santa makes an appearance with Mrs. Claus and all their friends. Every child who comes by gets one on one time with Santa, has their picture taken, and also gets a candy cane.

The pictures are placed on the events facebook page making them available for parents to download afterwards as a nice keepsake of their visit. During these Santa event nights hot chocolate and cookies are also available to all who stop by.

Three year ago they started the Santa letters box. Every child who leaves a letter in the Santa mailbox gets a personalized letter from Santa mailed to their home. All of this is completely free of charge to guests which is such an unbelievable gesture from Bob and his family.

Each year visitors were always offering to donate towards the show which recently sparked and idea among the family. Bob’s youngest daughter has volunteered at Camp Moja for over 15 years. This is a week long summer camp for adults with intellectual disabilities. About 3 years ago they started accepting donations at the Santa events with all proceeds going directly to the camp.

As I’m sure you can tell Bob is always coming up with new ideas to enhance their show, and recently with his love of pressed pennies he thought that would make for another fun addition. In 2019 with Paul Connor’s help Bob designed the first pressed penny called “Lights on Apache Drive”

For 2020 they changed it up a bit. A large portion of the campers have Autism, and so they decided to c create an Autism Awareness penny design.

Down Syndrome is also very prevalent at the camp, and for this years 2021 design they chose Down Syndrome Awareness.

Every child that visits Santa receives a pressed penny. Bob also made the design not just on a US Cent, but also as a denomination set of coins which he makes available to the elongated coin community. Our fellow collectors have been amazing, and the donations collected for the coins is almost as much as they collect from the guests visiting the light show in person.

The suggested donation for the penny is $3 each, 2 for $5, or 5 for $10 plus $1 shipping for each 5 coins. The denomination set includes a penny, nickel, dome and quarter are available for a donation of $20 plus $2 shipping. The denomination sets are limited to only 40 sets so be sure to act fast if you are interested. Bob also let me know that the 2019 and 2020 penny designs are still available if you would like to acquire the entire set for your collection. Of course these are only suggested amounts and no donation will be reused no matter how big or how small. They have setup special PayPal and Venmo accounts to accept donations by using the account email: thelightsonapachedrive@gmail.com.

For more information about their holiday light show or about Camp Moja I have included the links here. Lastly I have included Bob’s email: bobfrazier1963@gmail.com should you have any questions or would like to reach out to him directly.

Now on a personal note I want to take a moment to really Thank Bob and his Family for this entire event. As you can see from the pictures above this is a huge undertaking they do for not just their own enjoyment, but also for their community, as well as to benefit Camp Moja. I was honored when Bob reached out and asked if we would put together a YouTube video which you can check out here as well as this post to help share this information with as many friends as we can. My family had a lot of fun putting this video together and I hope you will take a few minutes to check it out. Also please reach out and let Bob know what a truly incredible job he and his family have done. Be sure to pick up a set of these coins for your own collection, and know that your donation is going to a great cause.

Happy Holidays everyone, Keep on Pressing and I hope you enjoyed a quick look at the amazing Lights on Apache Drive.

Beach Gift Shop Pressed Pennies | Daytona Beach Vacation Day 2

If you are interested in seeing even more of our shopping adventures in the Daytona Beach gift shops, head on over and check out the full adventure on our YouTube video here.

In our previous post we had visited the Museum of Arts & Science which you can read about here, but after we finished up at that museum we found some food and headed to our hotel which was a Hilton located right on Highway A1A and would give us instant access to the beach.

This was a very nice hotel, but we found out afterwards that there was a huge car show going on this week and it was very busy with guests. Also there was some parking at the hotel but it was for valet only, and trying to save a few bucks we opted for the self-parking option which was about 4 blocks away. Not very convenient when you have two younger kids and about 6 pieces of luggage, a ton of camera a equipment and a small fortune in quarters and pennies (wink wink).

Upon check in we received a nice surprise with a bit of a free upgrade to one of their beach front cabanas. Basically this is just a regular room but it is on the ground level so you have the beach only a few feet away. There was also a bit of a private patio area just out front of our door.

Now a few notes on this room. We definitely appreciated the upgrade but I’m sure it was due to the hotel giving away our room to someone else for whatever reason. Our little private patio didn’t have much privacy to it, but we did have a great view towards the ocean.

The easy access to the beach was great, but because of how close we were to the boardwalk there was a lot of noise and lots of traffic with people walking by. During the day this wasn’t too bad, but at night there was a lot of partying going on (goodness I sound like an old curmudgeon).

Above is a picture down Highway A1A right outside our hotel. It was a bit deceiving since the highway wasn’t too busy, but on the boardwalk and beaches it was pretty intense. Since we were here for a few days we just decided to get our bearings this first day in town and just walk around. There were plenty of restaurants, tourist attractions like those big crazy sling shot “rides”, but we spent most of our time checking out those classic Florida souvenir shops. I’m a sucker for these places and could spend hours inside them.

The first one that immediately caught my attention was the Big Shark gifts and souvenirs. Check out that big shark just jumping out of the building. How could we not go inside?

Inside was a pretty intense offering of t-shirts, mugs, shot glasses, bumper stickers and so much more. I’m sure you are familiar with the type of offerings in these stores. Even though I’ve seen most of this stuff before I still enjoy wondering through the aisles. This store was narrow but long and had a few different sets of doors along the sides. About halfway in just near one of these doors was a pressed penny machine. I’ve used this style of machine before and they usually work pretty well. Most of them that I have come across only have one design just like this one did.

I pressed my penny and then started to use some of the nearby souvenirs for a quick impromptu photo shoot. The staff inside must have wondered what I was doing, but I promise I didn’t make too much of a mess and put everything back after I was done. There is a lot of history in Daytona when it comes to automotive racing and that can be seen everywhere you go. The penny in this store had a fun design of a classic race car and included Daytona Beach around the dotted boarder.

We continued to walk all along A1A visiting plenty of other stores, and also stopped for a bit of a break for lunch at an IHOP we passed by. Not too unique but the syrupy pancakes hit the spot. With a jolt of sugar in our systems we started to head back towards our hotel and stopped in one last store called Ocean Blue Beach Shop.

You can see in the above picture these places are simply jammed with all sorts of things and sometimes it can be bit hard to maneuver inside the store.

I knew this shop was supposed to have a penny press inside but I couldn’t find it initially. Then my spidey senses eventually found it behind a cardboard display showcasing some sunset beach calendars. I politely asked the employee behind the counter if I could move the calendars to use the machine they he came right out to help me. Apparently from what he told me this machine doesn’t get used much which is why they kind of had it hidden. But hopefully now that I helped clear it off, maybe some other customers will use it.

I didn’t want to make a mess of their inventory, although by the looks of things inside they probably wouldn’t have noticed. Instead I put the coins in my pocket and we headed over to the boardwalk for a nice evening stroll on the beach before we crashed for the day. The penny designs that this shop included images of some dolphins, an alligator, a race car and a bike celebrating Bike week. I thought this was a great set as it kind of wraps up everything Daytona all in one set of coins. Well maybe not the Alligator but the other three definitely.

We had a pretty busy day of walking and shopping so we headed back to our room and crashed. Eventually I headed out and found a takeout pizza place so we could have some dinner in our room. Sometimes those are the moments I remember most on these trips when it’s just our family in our room with the cartoon Bluey on the TV, all of us balancing on the bed trying to eat greasy slices of pizza and just having a great time.