Last year my family had quite a bit of travel plans scheduled but unfortunately due to various situations that arose we were unable to enjoy many of those plans. It had been quite awhile since the last time we took a little family vacation and were antsy to get back out on the road. Hopefully later this year some of those long distance plans will come to fruition, but to start things off we decided to head out to the Atlantic Coast for a few days just to get out of town. We have been slowly visiting many of the well known Florida beaches on both Atlantic and Gulf sides of the state, and this time we opted to check out West Palm Beach. However if you’ve been following along here for any length of time you will know that I take any opportunity along the way to stop for elongated coins.
Juno Beach was not too far from West Palm Beach and gave us a nice opportunity to stop for lunch and stretch our legs a bit. Nearby was the Loggerhead Park and Loggerhead Marinelife Center.
This place is one of Florida’s most visited non-profit scientific destinations focused on ocean and sea turtle conservation. Years ago we visited Disney’s Vero Beach Resort and just fell in love with sea turtles and the amazing job group’s like this take to help rescue and eventually release them.
Inside the main building is a large reception desk with volunteers there to explain their mission at the marinelife center. There is no admission to visit, but they do accept donations which I would highly recommend. There is also a pretty large gift shop in this building that my kids really enjoyed checking out and we were persuaded that a few new stuffed animals needed to join our family trip. Out behind this building is the main courtyard area that has quite a few large tanks scattered around but are nicely shaded by large overhead canopies.
Some of these tanks had a nice variety of fish that could easily be seen through these large acrylic viewing areas. There was some bench style seating nearby if you wanted to take a bit of a break, and some volunteers were walking around to answer any questions you may have.
Unfortunately or maybe fortunately depending on how you look at it. There were currently no sea turtles in their care. Unfortunately since we were looking forward to seeing some of them up close, but I guess fortunate to the turtles that they have been rehabbed and released back into the ocean. The volunteer at the main registration desk did let us know this before we entered and they did have quite a few signs like the one above.
In this back courtyard area near the gift shop doors is where I found the first pressed penny machine. This cabinet was beautiful, and I loved the colors of this wrap and the giant sea turtle photo at the bottom was amazing. As you can see this machine fell victim to the price increase we have seen back in central Florida at all the major theme parks.
The designs on these pennies were just as fantastic as the machine cabinet. I’ve got quite a few turtle pressed pennies in my collection but none that looked like these, and of course I always love when they include the location name in the designs. Any way to help me remember where they came from is a plus.
Running along both sides of the courtyard were long buildings that looked to be for the research teams, as well as classrooms because this seems to be a popular place for nearby school field trips. Nearby one set of classrooms was where I found the second pressed penny machine. This was one of the newer and larger versions with a similar wrap design.
Just like the first set of pennies we pressed, this second set had even more really detailed designs available that I haven’t seen before. Many times you find that aquariums and zoos all seem to recycle very similar generic animal designs in their machines but not here which I appreciated.
There was one last machine I came across but instead of pressed pennies, this machine offered collectible medallions. I was a bit worried because the number of coins displayed in the center section of the machine looked pretty sparse. Thankfully my gamble paid off and after swiping my card for payment I was able to collect one of each design. I wouldn’t be so lucky in a few of our other locations on this trip, but you’ll have to stick around to find out more about those.
These medallions were nice, but not as impressive in my mind as the pennies. I do really enjoy the one showing the Juno Beach Fishing Pier, and I’m a sucker for a good Manatee baby design.
The reverse image on all of the designs was the same image of a Loggerhead Turtle and the name of the Marinelife Center that was a wonderful design idea.
Our first stop on our trip was pretty successful, with a total of 12 new pressed pennies and 4 medallions we were off to a great start. With all our gift shop purchases made, we hopped back in the car to finish our drive to the hotel we were staying at in West Palm Beach. We would be there for a few days and had plenty of things to do, places to visit and of course pennies to press.