Maryland Science Center – Baltimore, MD

Leaving the harborplace pavilion we continued to walk along the water.  My daughter Hanna loved watching the boats zooming all around the harbor.  We didn’t do it this time but I did notice that there were some dining options on the boats that take you out into the harbor and serve you dinner while listening to music and dancing the night away.  There were other places we had to be, but this is something I will be keeping in mind for a future visit back to Charm City.

All the way at the end of the inner harbor walkway we came to the Maryland Science Center.  I always remember as a kid loving the science museum our elementary school class would visit a couple times year.  There was always the crooked room, space memorabilia, and some crazy mad scientist type doing things like freezing a balloon in liquid nitrogen and shattering it with a hammer.  Ah, the good old days.

md science ctr

The day was getting late so we didn’t actually go through the exhibits in the museum which I would have loved to do.  Instead we were just stopping in to use the penny machines.  The machines were located in the museum gift shop which was before the admission desk.  The staff is very nice and when told what we wanted to do we were given little stickers that allowed us access to just the gift shop.

My wife and daughter wandered around the gift shop checking out all the souvenirs.  I went straight to the back where the machines were located.  There must have been a school trip visiting the museum because there were a lot of kids running around.  Some where trying to use the penny machines but weren’t sure how it worked.  Being the responsible collector I am and wanted to try and encourage the hobby I politely explained how it worked and asked if they wanted to watch me press my pennies.  They all quickly agreed and stood a little too close (One almost took the machine handle to the face) but I managed to press the first machine and showed everyone the end results.


The first machine has 4 designs.  An Astrodon, Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab, a Human Body stating “The Universe Inside Us”, and the Baltimore Orioles Baseball team logo.

md science 1

I felt bad for the teachers of these kids and the parent chaparones because once I was done with the first machine they all ran towards them asking for pennies to press.  I used this opportunity to slide over and use the second machine that was about 4 feet away.


Feeling like a constant playing beat the clock I quickly rolled my pennies know that the kids would be back any moment.  With just a few last turns of the handle I pressed my last penny and got out of the way just in time to avoid the tidal wave of children rushing back with pennies and quarters in outstretched hands.

md science 2

The second set of pennies included designs of The Hubble Telescope, I Love Science, The Big Head, and Our Place in Space. I did stick around for a few more minutes just to make sure everyone was using the machine correctly.  There have been numerous times when I have gone out of my way to visit a machine only to find it was broker for one reason or another.  I take these opportunities to try and educate the kids on how the machine works and to not jam things into it.  This way we can try to keep all the machines running smoothly and efficiently for future collectors.

With the two machines collected I found my family in the gift shop and we made our way back outside.  Our quick one day side trip to Baltimore was complete.  We took our time heading back around the inner harbor as the sun began to set.  Once back at the parking garage we had left our car, we all piled in and started the second part of our drive to Washington, DC.

There were many more pennies to collect, and only a few days to get them all.


Harborplace Pavilion – Baltimore, MD

Summer has arrived!  Well technically not.  But the month of June is hear and the warm weather which had seemed to be avoiding the Northeast is finally here.  However it was finally the time of year when my wife (who is a saint, did I mention that already?) puts up with a “Family Vacation” where I trek us around multiple locations collecting pressed coins.  It’s always nice to get away for a week and some trips are further away than others but we do a lot of walking and don’t always get to enjoy every location for as long as we would like due to the tight schedule I create each time.  Just wait and see and you’ll be saying “How does his wife put up with this”, trust me she’s a saint.

The main portion of our trip was going to be in Washington, DC but before we got there we decided to stop in Baltimore to check out the aquarium and more importantly the inner harbor.  If you have never been you definitely must.  The inner harbor is beautiful and there is a lot of stuff to do including historic boats you can climb aboard and take a tour (there’s even a submarine for those that don’t suffer from claustrophobia), street performers and lots of shopping.

inner harbor

Our first stop was the National Aquarium.  This place is huge and really one of the best aquariums I have ever in.  The exhibits are well maintained, staff if knowledgeable, and the interactive exhibits are really cool.  The aquarium does have numerous penny machines throughout, but we had visited a couple years before and to my dismay the designs had not changed since them.  The path you take through the aquarium takes you up a number of floors and then you come down this circular walk way through the shark exhibit where it almost gives the impression that the sharks are circling you, very Jaws like.


We spend most of the afternoon visiting the aquarium, but one done we wandered around the inner harbor listening to the live music being played and watching the boats coming and going.  Our next stop was an indoor shopping area call the Harborplace Pavilion.  Lots of little shops with Maryland and Baltimore souvenirs, lots of places to eat and a nice place to slowly walk through and pick up some goodies to bring home.

Speaking of goodies as soon as we walked in we were met with the aroma of a fudge shop making a fresh batch while the employee’s same some catchy songs during the process.  While my wife and daughter stood by to watch the free entertainment (minus the $5 to a piece of Fudge, there’s always a catch) I found the first penny machine of the day.



The machine rolled really nicely and the designs came out clean and detailed.  Designs include a lighthouse, the Baltimore skyline, USS Constitution and the Maryland State seal.

harborplace 1

By this time I had my pennies and a nice piece of fudge to snack on as we continued walking through the pavilion.  As we neared the end of the shopping center we could smell fresh seafood which had to mean there was a Phillips Seafood.  Before we could even make it inside I found a second penny machine.


With our stomachs rumbling for some food I quickly pressed the pennies and we headed on our way.  These designs also came out nicely with no excessive stretch marks on the pennies (yes they get those too sometimes).  Designs include a Butterfly, Maryland Crab, the Inner Harbor and another design of the USS Constitution.

harborplace 2

Food was our next stop and we enjoy a great late afternoon meal.  Once we were sufficiently stuffed we headed outside to continue our walk along the inner harbor.  The day wasn’t done for us and there were more pennies to be found.