Miami Seaquarium – Miami, FL

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.

SeaWorld Part 3 – Orlando, FL

On this third time around to SeaWorld another few weeks after my previous visit I decided to start early in the day and stay late if needed to find the last batch of penny machines.  The entire drive over to the park my youngest daughter kept saying she wanted to see sharks.  So I make sure that our first stop once we got through security was over to the shark exhibit.

This type of exhibit is pretty common now among aquariums where you are surrounded by the tanks.

Once nice feature is that when you do make it to the large main tank with the sharks, there is a moving walkway which prevents people from blocking the pathway.  This keeps everyone moving through, but at a nice leisurely pace so you can take some nice pictures or have the sharks swim along with you.  After we were done with the sharks we headed into the far side of the park that we hadn’t visited before.

A strange sight in the middle of Florida were ice glaciers, and snow.  This was all themed to be like you were in Antarctica and is where we found the Empire of the Penguin exhibit.

Once inside where you can see all the penguins I will admit it’s freezing in there.  This obviously is for the comfort of the penguins, but since we were wearing t-shirts and shorts we didn’t stay inside too long.  As we exited of course we found ourselves in a penguin themed gift shop.

The shop wasn’t too big, but did have a penny machine located inside.  It’s kind of around the corner, and I think that if we didn’t go through the penguin exhibit I may not have noticed it was here.

   

With these pennies pressed and stored away we headed out the far side of “Antarctica” and heard the familiar screams / laughter from a water flume ride.  Here at SeaWorld they have one called Journey to Atlantis..

I’m not a fan of getting soaking wet in a theme park and avoid these water drop rides most of the time.  My sister loves Splash Mountain so when her family is in town visiting I’ll join her on that one just like when we were kids.

On this visit I decided to try to stay dry so we just stood by and watched a few boats go down the large drop and get drenched at the bottom.  When you are looking directly at this ride if you turn 180 degrees you will see the above three machines just waiting to be used.

   

The first machine on the left side was labeled around the Journey to Atlantis ride but strangely the penny designs didn’t have anything to do with that ride.

   

The machine in the middle of this trio was themed around the Kraken which is another intense roller coaster nearby.

   

The third machine has designs of some seals.  This is probably due to the Pacific Point Preserve area of the park back near Antarctica.

Before we headed on I wanted to make a quick stop into the gift shop for the Journey to Atlantis ride.  Whenever I’m hunting for penny machines Disney has met pretty trained to look inside souvenir stores.  Unfortunately there weren’t any penny machines there but they did have a small little aquarium.  As we wandered around the store I also found a pressed penny booklet that I just had to get.

I’ve posted in the past that I store all my pressed coins in 2×2 cardboard holders inside three-ring binders.  However that still doesn’t stop me from collecting these booklets.  I have a large plastic container in my house just filled with them.

A little further past the Journey to Atlantis ride was a pit stop area with some restrooms.  We made the stop but only because two more penny machines were located here.

   

One machine is by the women’s restroom and the second by the mens.  I’ve never been a fan of having penny machines hear restrooms as they just end up being used to lean on, or people loitering around them.  Most are nice enough to move aside when asked, and more often than not you also get a group of kids wanting to see how the machine works.

   

While using this second machine I did have a nice family give me a heads up about some other penny machines near by.  We chatted for a bit about pressing coins and also let them know about TEC (The Elongated Collectors)  Club which they were unaware of.  Wishing each other well on our collection we split up and went in search of the last few machines.

Taking the instructions from my new friends we headed over to the TurtleTrek and Manatee rehabilitation area.

Turtles are cool, but there is nothing like a manatee.  I’m still fascinated by these creatures.  There was a staff member near by giving a little presentation about some of their newest additions.

Two orphaned baby manatees.  It was a heartbreaking story that is always sad to hear.  People just not paying attention with their boats and these slows moving animals.  The two just don’t mix.  But these little ones were being well taken care of and they were just really fun to watch.

   

After visiting with the baby manatees I headed back over to the Turtle area and found the next penny machine.  By this time we had explored almost the entire park, but we had one last area to check out.

Dolphins, how could I have forgotten about dolphins.  At the top of the tank they do have feeding times where you can help feed the dolphins.  Or for a better view of these amazing mammals you can go to the underwater viewing area.

If you walk down the pathway towards the viewing area is where we found the last two penny machines.

   

The machines are on either side of the pathway, but because this is both the entrance and exit to the viewing area and of course with the popularity of dolphins this area does get a little congested.

   

It had been another busy day but we enjoyed every moment of it.  After visiting with the dolphins for a little while we headed back towards the front of the park.  We had visited every corner and gift shop of the park and found all the penny machines currently available.

SeaWorld definitely has a lot of offer and we will be back hopefully before too long.  With a total of 24 machines each with 4 penny designs that’s a total of 96 pennies.  Most of the machines do have the ability to make change if needed but I always recommend coming prepared whenever possible.  This would be a massive project to try to collect all of these during one visit, but not completely out of the question.  I’m not sure you would have time for much else.  As I mentioned there is a lot to see and do here so take your time and enjoy it.

SeaWorld Part 2 – Orlando, FL

A couple of weeks after my first visit to SeaWorld I finally got some free time to go back and pick up where I left off.  There were still quite a few penny machines here somewhere and I was determined to find them.

I headed back towards the Mako roller coaster but turned in towards the Shark Underwater Grill & Bar.  This is a restaurant that is similar to the Coral Reef in Epcot if you have ever visit it.  Basically you get to eat a table service meal in front of a large aquarium tank.  This one as the name would imply has quite a few sharks keeping their eyes on you while you eat.

Just outside the Shark restaurant is an area that you can feed sharks at certain designated times during the day.  Now I will admit you won’t be feeding great white sharks, instead they are much smaller and friendlier.

Located in this area are two penny machines.  One at each end of the feeding tank.

   

During feeding times this area can get a little crowded, and it was hard to use these machines as people were completely surrounding them.  But if you go during a non-feeding time they are pretty easily accessible.

   

Just down a short walk away is the other big roller coaster this park is home to called Manta.  This is a coaster that has you flying kind of like superman underneath a Manta Ray ride vehicle.  It looks really cool, but would be way out of my league.

Just outside the entrance / exit to Manta is a small little gift shop, and directly across the walk way is where I found the next penny machine.

   

There is a second penny machine just down the pathway towards the Flamingo exhibit.

   

It was getting a little late in the afternoon and I was supposed to meet my father over at the Orlando Convention Center to check out the Auto Show.  So unfortunately I only had time for a couple more machines.  There was one place I remember having a few machines years ago and thought I would stop by.

The Sting Ray lagoon and Feeding area is one big touch tank, and they do have staff nearby willing to answer questions and give presentations about the rays.

   

This first machine is located right in front of the lagoon as you walk up towards it.  The machine seemed like it needed a new dose of grease in the gears as it was really squeaky.  The hand crank was pretty tough to turn, and as you can see by the coins above they were rolling short.  I actually tried using this machine a few times over a couple other trips and the set pictured was the best of each coin.  Hopefully they will get someone out there to do some service on it.

There are quite a lot of rays available in this tank.  If you reference the times guide for the park you can find out when the feedings take place and for a small fee can help feed them.

At the back of the lagoon are some sinks so you can wash your hands after feeding or touching the sting rays.  This is also the area where you can buy the food during feeding times.  Back here is also where you can find the second penny machine.

   

This machine was working much better than the one out front.  With this second batch of pennies pressed my second visit was about over.  I headed back out of the park and eventually made it over to the convention center for the auto show.  Unfortunately there were not penny machines there (what were they thinking!).

SeaWorld was definitely growing on me and I couldn’t wait to get back.  There was another whole area I hadn’t checked out yet, more sea creatures to visit and of course a few more penny machines to find.

SeaWorld Part 1 – Orlando, FL

My youngest daughter has really gotten bit by the theme park bug.  It has become almost a weekly tradition now where we get up Sunday morning and she immediately says “Animal Park”.  This is her signal that she wants to visit a park and who am I to deprive her of that but this time I thought I would actually try to let her see some animals.  It has been probably over 10 years since the last time I visited SeaWorld so I thought it was about time to go back.

Now the park has been receiving some bad press lately, and it seemed to show in the crowd level.  It was pretty light on the day we visited, and they also had some great deals on tickets.

   

As soon as you enter the park you way by the one of the main gift shops that I believe is call Shamu’s Emporium.  It’s and indoor and outdoor shop which a lot of merchandise.  This store was a nice welcome to the park with six penny machines right off the bat.

   

Usually I go over what designs are on each penny, but to be honest a lot of these designs are of the animals.  Not duplicate designs, but I figured you may get tired of me saying Manatee or Turtle too many times.  Plus to be honest sometimes I’m just not sure exactly what creature is on the coin.  The pictures will give you a good look at the designs available at each machine.

   

This second machine was literally just a few steps to the left of the first one, and also had a nice change machine built in should you not heed my advice and always come prepared for penny pressing.

   

At the corner of the building is the next machine and you can also see the fourth machine right beside it.

   

As you keep walking past the store to the far side you will come across the last two machines found here.

I remember years ago when I was here there were a few electric penny presses, but on this trip I can confirm they are all gone and you will need to bring some elbow grease.  If you are planning on pressing all the coins in one day your arm is going to be soar.  It actually took me a couple visits to get all of these.

   

The second machine here is right beside the other.

   

I had been in the park for probably less than 15 minutes and only walked about 100 feed but already I had 24 pennies pressed and my elbow was starting to throb.  But I wasn’t complaining as my day was just beginning.

Just past Shamu’s emporium the path splits and you can go either left or right.  But as you can see in the picture above straight ahead was the SeaWorld Rescue store and a penny machine right outside.

   

After pressing this next set of pennies I opted to head towards the right path.  This took me past some small snack stands, the dolphin nursery, a quick service tex-mex restaurant and more souvenir stores.

   

Somehow I ended up on a boardwalk style path that extended out over a big area of water.  During the holiday season they had Christmas trees out in the water as part of a  light show and some were still up during our visit.  At the far side we found the famous Shamu Stadium and the inside looked very familiar.  Some of it had been updated but I remember that large tail fin shaped screen.  Sadly no shows were going on while we were there but it was nice to see the stadium again.

We said goodbye for now to Shamu’s stadium and walked over to a place called the Wild Arctic.  This is kind of a ride, but not really.  There is a motion simulator that you can take which makes it seem like you are making the trek up to the Arctic via helicopter I believe.  But since I had my youngest daughter with me we opted to skip the ride and just walk to the Arctic.  It’s all inside a building as you can see from the above picture.  The A/C is blasting inside to make it a little colder but not uncomfortable.  This is where you can see the beluga whales and polar bears.

Once you exit the Wild Arctic and make your way outside you will find the next penny machine just off the path next to a bench so you can take a quick break.

   

We headed back over towards the stadium and walked around to Shamu’s Happy Harbor which is like a kids play area and water park.  They do have some small rides and carnival style games, but to my surprise no penny machines were here.  Eventually we walked up to the parks newest roller coaster (for now) called Mako.

If you zoom in on the picture above you can see the penny machine off in the distance.

   

This first visit to the park I found this machine but the coin slider was jammed and I couldn’t use it.  We made it back a few weeks later and I was able to press the coins, but they did roll a little short.  With the sounds of roller coaster riders screaming over our heads we headed on our way.

I think this is a good place to stop for now.  Trust me there were a lot more penny machines to find.  As I mentioned it did take me a few trips back to get all of these pennies and check out the rest of the park.  Be sure to check back so we can find the rest of the machine.  Happy collecting.

Aquatica Water Park – Orlando, FL

This week I had it scheduled to go check out a water park and of course it ended up being cold here again.  But that wasn’t going to stop me, but I didn’t decide against actually going in the water.  Plus as an added perk due to the cold the park was nice and quite with not a lot of visitors making my tour around a nice leisurely one.

There were quite a few different water parks around Orlando to I could visit, but I decided to check out SeaWorld’s Aquatica.

This park was definitely much larger than I had anticipated.  When you first walk in you cross over a bridge that had part of the lazy river.

There is also a very large water slide that is clear and goes directly through a Dolphin tank which is where I found the first penny press machine.

Just to the right side of the dolphin viewing area is where the penny machine was located.

   

The designs on these pennies were really unique.  They are of very common animals we have all seen at different aquariums and zoos, but the way these were designed was really cool.  This set included designs of a Manta Ray, a Lizard, a Flat-billed bird, and a dolphin.

I started my tour around the park and basically followed the lazy river for most of the trip.  Eventually I did come to an area which was designed for some younger visitors and looks like a lot of fun.  Various buckets drop water on unsuspecting swimmers, and there are water sprinklers all over the place.

In one area of the park is a large sand “beach” covered with lounge chairs for sun tanning or just relaxing.  As you can see due to the colder temperature this day I had the pick of any chair I wanted.

Near the sand “beach” are two large wave pools.  On my visit only one of them was operational but you can see the size of it in the picture above.

Throughout the park there are various water attractions and slides.

As with a lot of parks there is always something new being added.  Aquatica is no different and there was an area with construction walls to hide the magic going on behind them.

In one area near the lazy river there are private cabanas that you can rent for the day.  During busier times of the year it’s recommended to book these ahead of your visit to ensure you can get one as they are very popular.  Since I didn’t have one I could go back into the area, but this was the private bridge heading back to the cabanas which include covered areas, private seating, and concierge to help get you anything you want like food or drinks.

Seeing things like this water fall, and the slides really made me regret I didn’t bring my bathing suit.

After touring around the entire park I headed back to the large gift shop called Kiwi Traders.  This was actually right near the dolphin viewing tank.

Inside the gift shop you can guy beach towels, sun tan lotion, and all store of standard theme park souvenirs.  They also do sell bathing suits which was tempting.  Outside the gift shop was this sculpture / water fountain which looked to have the same type of animal designs I found on the first set of pressed pennies.  Then I noticed behind the fountain was a second penny machine.

   

Just like I found with the rest of the park this penny machine was very colorful.  The set of pennies at this machine had images of a Kiwi Bird, a Puffin, a Woodpecker (maybe), and a Turtle.

My quick (and dry) tour of the park was a lot of fun.  I haven’t really been to a water park since I was a teenager and this made me miss it.  I can’t wait to get back here as soon as the weather warms up a bit.  Plus I must say it again, these coin designs are really cool and not something I’ve seen before and made a nice addition to my collection.

The Florida Aquarium – Tampa, FL

Over the last few months as we have continued to get used to our new surroundings in Central Florida but we haven’t wondered too far from home.  Most of this is due to us still getting used to our immediate area near home, and to be honest this still seems like an extended vacation.  But we have started to feel settled in our new life and this past weekend decided to go for a bit of a drive.

Living near Orlando there are a lot of tourist which causes big crowds at theme parks, and traffic on all the roads.  Shortly after we moved to Florida we had asked some neighbors where locals went to get break from the vacationers and we were told “Its Florida there are tourists everywhere”.  Knowing that pretty much wherever we went would probably be busy we decided to head about an hour south to Tampa.

As we cruised into town on the highway we were pleasantly surprised to see not much going on.  There was very little traffic and even a lack of people just walking around.  We weren’t complaining but it did seem kind of like we had ended up in a Zombie world where the city had been left behind.  I think we just lucked out by picking a Sunday with no football game going on plus we made sure to head out pretty early in the morning in case there was any traffic.

There were a few attractions we were thinking about trying, but our daughters had final say and wanted to visit the Florida Aquarium.

The aquarium is located right along the bay which gives a nice backdrop to the building.   We have finished a lot of aquariums over the years, but I’m always amazed how each one has some unique exhibits we haven’t seen before.  One area has us walking among some overhanging trees making you feel like you were in the wetlands looking into a pond at some local fish and other aquatic life.

Some of the exhibits are the same everywhere you go, like a Stingray viewing area, and of course a touch tank for the kids.

There are sections where the aquarium completely surrounds you as you walk by, and of course there has to be a shark tank.  When you first enter the aquarium you head upstairs to start your tour, and wind around through the second floor and eventually end up back on the first floor. This makes sure you don’t miss any of the exhibits which is always nice.  We had an aquarium in New Jersey that was all over the place and each time we left felt like we had missed some area.

Back one the main floor there is a food court and plenty of indoor and outdoor seating to have your lunch.  Outside towards the bay is a playground with some fun little water attractions for the kids to play in.  No additional cost is charged for this area, but usually ends up where you have to drag your kids away kicking and screaming.

Back inside the aquarium near the escalators to the second floor is  where the restrooms are located.  Across from those for some popular reason is where the penny machine is located.  Before visiting here I saw seen online that there were supposed to be four separate machines, but those all seemed to have been removed and replaced with just this one.

All eight of the designs from this machine have the Aquarium logo on them, and have images of different animals you can find during your visit.  One thing to note about this machine is that it supplies the pennies.  Now that is not unique with these machines, but lately they have been supplying penny sized tokens.  This machine actually supplied pennies, but of course this can be an issue for collectors that like to use specific coins for their pressings.  As you can see from the picture above there is a wide range of pennies I was given.  Some cleaner than others, some pre-1982 and others not.  The selection is completely random so make sure you cross your fingers for a good set.

The aquarium was a nice little trip, but I found it much smaller than I had thought.  It took maybe about an hour and a half to go through everything and that was make sure to take our time at each exhibit.  There are some other places in Tampa to check out like the zoo, children’s museum and science center.  I’m sure we will be making another trip back before too long and I’m sure there will be some more penny presses along the way.

Adventure Aquarium NEW 2016 – Camden, NJ

My daughter must have some really vivid dreams at night.  She wakes up most mornings asking to do or visit some place or thing that is completely out of left field and apparently a result of her nighttime adventures (Narnia?).  In the past I’ve helped her out of bed with a rest for Elephants, or the M&M ride (cable cars at Six Flags).  But just the other day she woke up asking to go and pet some Sting Rays.  Well being the softy that I am and having a day off from work the only place nearby I knew that had this exact exhibit was the Adventure Aquarium down in Camden, NJ.

Adv Aquarium 2016 01

I had bought our tickets online to avoid the line but as you can see in the above picture this Wednesday morning there were very few people visiting which was great for us.  After heading inside we always head to the furthest location which just so happens to be the KidZone which is a favorite of Hanna’s.

Adv Aquarium 2016 02

If you look very closely in the above picture just inside to the right was the first new penny machine.  Thankfully I checked this out online before we left as these new machines now required a $1 bill for each design.

Adv Aquarium Machine 01

I still reference these as penny machines but no penny is needed just your dollar bills.  The machine automatically loads a blank and after the pressing creates a very nice shiny finished product.

Adv Aquarium 01 Pennies

The only issue I had was that some of the designs did roll a little short.  The first set of images included the Philly Skyline, the Touch Tank, an Alligator, and a Mermaid.  We spent quite a bit of time in the Kidzone and Hanna loved the touch tank with large starfish and a horseshoe crab she reluctantly touched and squealed the entire time.  The next big area we came to was the Diver Tank and we arrived just in time to see some divers feeding the creatures inside.

Adv Aquarium 2016 04

We sat and watched the action for a few minutes before we headed to the next area but at the top of the drive theater was the next penny machine.

Adv Aquarium Machine 02

This machine actually had quite a group around it when we first got to it.  The kids were just playing with the machine and not actually using it.  When we walked up they left us through and were fascinated with how it worked and I proudly showed off the coins when they dropped out into the dispenser.

Adv Aquarium 02 Pennies

The coins had images of an Octopus, Sting Ray, Sharks Teeth, and a Porcupine.  The kids  all immediately scattered towards their parents and I could hear the requests for dollar bills.  Hanna and I headed to the next exhibit before their parents could get their hands on us.

Due to the strange layout of this aquarium we had to back track a bit to get to the next area which included two large and strangely cute Hippos.  There is a viewing area at the top (above water level) of their tank, and a lower viewing area to see them underwater.  Right beside the lower viewing area was the third penny machine.

 

Adv Aquarium Machine 03

I couldn’t pull Hanna away from the Hippos so she kept an eye on them while I pressed the coins.

Adv Aquarium 03 Pennies

This next batch of coin designs included images of a Hammer-head Shark, a Giant Squid, two Penguins, and a Jelly Fish.  With coins we continued on our way to the Shark area.

Adv Aquarium 2016 03

If only all sharks were as cute as the one above.  I will say I’m completely in awe of sharks and love watching them from a distance, but in truth they scare the daylights out of me.  As with most aquariums now this one has a shark tunnel that lets you walk among the sharks only protected by a 4-inch piece of glass.

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This does give a very interesting perspective of the sharks and it’s a little creepy when they swim right over top of you.

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After the tunnel however we came across something I have not seen before and this is apparently brand new attraction.  It’s called the Shark Bridge.

Adv Aquarium 2016 06

There is a very narrow bridge that is suspended across the top of the shark tank.  Yes the exact tank we just walked through we will now be walking over top of.  As all sorts of reasons popped into my head as to why we shouldn’t do this, Hanna was running ahead excited to “walk on the sharks”.

Adv Aquarium 2016 07

As you can see above the bridge (small narrow beam) is really quite sturdy and you are surrounded by strong netting on all sides.  The downside to this is that the netting makes it a little hard to see the sharks swimming below you, but it’s still a really cool experience.  After we finished walking across the Shark Bridge we headed into the last part of the aquarium and according to Hanna the most important, the gift shop.

Adv Aquarium Machine 04

While Hanna searched through bins and shelves of stuffed toys and novelties I went over by the check out area to use the final penny machine.

Adv Aquarium 04 Pennies

This final set of coins included designs of some Penguins, a Great White Shark, a Hippopotamus, and a large Sea Turtle.  I packed all the coins away and walked over to where Hanna had picked out a multi colored rainbow Sting Ray plush toy.  We checked out and headed toward the exit for our ride home.

Now for those of you paying attention you be saying “What happened to Hanna’s morning request to pet some Sting Rays”.  We did head to that area, but when we were there they were closing it down temporarily to let the Rays have a break from the feeding and petting.  No big deal this just means we will have to come back soon for another try.

Jenkinson’s Aquarium – Point Pleasant, NJ

One weekend back in February my daughter Hanna woke up a little earlier than usually, and when I went to get her she immediately asked to see some fish at the aquarium.  I was taken back a bit as this was the first she had asked for this and also it was very random to be asking for this at 6 o’clock in the morning.  But being the sucker I am for her I said we would go once everyone else was awake.  We decided against going to the large Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ we have gone to in the past.  It’s a little further away, and I found it was almost too big for Hanna to keep her interest.  Instead we took a shorter trip to Point Pleasant Beach.  Yes you read that right we headed to the beach in February, but just check out how beautiful the sandy/snowy beach looked.

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The water even looked cold, and the wind coming off the Atlantic ocean made it feel even colder.  This was the emptiest I had ever seen a boardwalk in New Jersey and it was kind of eery.  From where we parked we only had a short walk over to the Jenkinson’s Aquarium.

Jekinsons Aquarium 01

We paid the small reasonable admission fee and headed inside.  Hanna was really excited to see all the sea creatures and of course the other kids that were visiting as well.

Jenkinsons Aquarium 02

The aquarium is not very big which is probably due to people wanting to get back on to the beach during the warmer season, but they still pack a lot of things inside.  The tanks contain all the usual creatures, and there is also a second floor with a touch tank.  Below is a picture of Hanna trying to get up the nerve to touch a small ray.

Jenkinsons Aquarium 03

We eventually walked back down to the main floor and near the penguin exhibit I saw two magical pieces of machinery.

Jenkinsons Aquarium 04

Years ago I had visited this aquarium and came across the 3 design electric penny machine, but it hadn’t been previously listed on the penny collector.com website.  I scrambled to get spare change at the time to press the designs, and once I was hope I took great pride in adding this new location to their website for other collectors.  Right before this trip I did check the website and it was listed that this original machine had been retired and replace with a new 4 design hand crank model.  Always being prepared I had brought enough change for the new machine and some extra just incase another machine was found.  Good thing I did.  As you can see in the above picture both machines were there.

Jenkinsons Aquarium Machine 01

The original machine was in working order but did have the same designs I had collected 6 years prior.  I figured since I was here I would press a new set.

Jenkinsons Aquarium Pennies 01

For the most part these pennies pressed pretty well, and only one rolled a little short.  The designs included a Seal, two Penguins, and a Sea Turtle.

Jenkinsons Aquarium Machine 02

The second and brand new machine had some very nice cabinet art work and was in perfect working order.  Hanna had a great time trying to help me press the pennies.

Jenkinsons Aquarium Pennies 02

Each of these designs said Jenkinson’s Aquarium and had images of a Clown Fish, Penguin, Seahorse and a Shark.  With the two sets of pennies in my pocket we finished our visit to the Aquarium which was just the right size for Hanna.  He had a great time and it seemed to keep her entertained right up until we had to leave.