Our first full day in Miami started with an early start. We always go into vacation saying it won’t be too scheduled with things to do, and let’s sleep in. But with two young kids they seem to wake up even earlier on vacation. The afternoon was going to be saved for another trip to the beach, bu that gave us the morning to go do something. We grabbed some breakfast at a nearby diner and then headed to the Miami Seaquarium.
Located on Key Biscayne out in the Bay, it’s a very unique location and makes for a beautiful background for this indoor/outdoor Seaquarium (aquarium).
The front area was under quite a bit of construction. We saw some concept art of the future grand new entrance and it does look like it will be impressive when done, but for now it was a lot of construction equipment and torn up concrete. After we had our tickets scanned there was a bit of a walk to the main building and first gift shop. Just inside this gift shop I found the first penny machine.
The machine was in pretty good shape and worked well. As with so many of these machines it was also located just outside the bathroom area which makes them a little awkward to use sometimes due to the high traffic area.
This first set of pennies all said Miami Seaquarium Florida on each coin. The designs included images of a Sea Turtle, a Manatee, Shark and a couple of Dolphins.
We headed through the gift shop into the next part of the building which surrounded a large tank that housed a couple of their dolphins.
If you head upstairs you eventually end up outside on the top of the building where you can get a bird’s eye view of the dolphins.
You can get right up to the edge of the tank but you are still out of reach of the dolphins. This is more of a viewing area and they do have feeding shows you can watch periodically through the day.
Back downstairs on the main level there was a little side hallway. Initially I saw just medallion machine which I have not caught the collecting bug on yet. As I got closer I noticed the penny machine in the distance.
This was a bit of a unique machine. I have seen models like it from time to time but I have found them to be unreliable when pressing unfortunately. On this visit it was no different. There was no out-of-order sign on the machine but when I tried to press the coins it just ate the change and didn’t press anything. On my way out later in the day I mentioned it to a manager and they credited back my change. A couple of weeks after we got home from this trip I wrote a letter to the Seaquarium explaining what happened and included some quarters and pennies asking if they could press them when the machine was fixed. It did take another few weeks but eventually they showed up in the mail.
The designs all say Miami Seaquarium USA, and had images of a couple Manatees, a Whale, a Dolphin and a Seal. As you can see from the above picture the seal design still pressed pretty short. Whomever pressed the coins for me did include a few other copies of the seal coin in an attempt to get a better final outcome which was very nice of them. The above was the best one of the batch.
Eventually after we checked out the rest of the inside aquarium tanks along the wall and another large tank in the middle behind the dolphin one had a lot of various sea creatures inside. Then we made our way outside to see some of the other exhibits. They had the usual aquatic life such as seals and sea turtles.
Of course since we were in Florida there had to be some Manatees which I always find fun and relaxing to watch.
From 1963-67 the TV show Flipper had been filmed at the Seaquarium and they have areas designated with signs and historical info on the show and its famous star.
There is also an area that you can walk through (but don’t touch) some parrots and other beautiful birds. Just be careful as you walk around because there are some large iguanas walking around as well with free roam of the property.
Near the Parrot area is a Sting Ray touch tank which have become a staple exhibit at all aquariums. My kids love this and we always have to drag them away eventually.
Speaking of kids, towards the very back of the property is a kids area with a playground and other things they can enjoy. I wished there was more shaded areas for the parents to sit and rest but instead we were out in the blazing Miami sun.
Nearby the kids area was the third penny machine available at the Seaquarium. It was hiding just around the side of this little covered stand used to house some soda machines.
The machine worked fine, but a note on this as it was located in that sun I was just talking about. Because of that the handle and cabinet were extremely hot to the touch.
This last set of pennies had images of an Orca Whale, a Penguin, a Ray, and a Seal. They also had the Miami Seaquarium Florida listed on all the pennies.
The Seaquarium was larger than we had anticipated but were able still able to see everything in a few hours. Some of the exhibits are a little dated, and all the sea life are common to most aquariums. The Flipper information was cool, that show was a little before my time but I am well aware of it and plan on re-watching some episodes to see if I can recognize where we visited. The pressed penny sets were a nice addition to my collection and the first and last machines are obviously newer and work fine. But that second machine is definitely an older model that probably doesn’t get much regular maintenance. However if you do run into any issues with the machines don’t hesitate to let someone know. I’m my experience they are more than happy to help be either refunding your money or sometimes helping to get a set in the future when the machine is fixed. Never hurts to ask.