Skeletons Museum – Orlando, FL

Maybe this was something I should have held off on until we got closer to Halloween, but It was just too interesting not to review.  At the I-Drive 360 site I had left the main building and headed out back to a courtyard with various store fronts for your usual chains like Walgreen’s, and Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.  I had barely walked a few feet outside when one of the signs caught my eye.

Skeletons Museum of Osteology.  With a strange morbid curiosity I walked inside and found myself in a gift shop.  Just inside one of the doors I found a penny machine.

This style of machine I find more often than not, rolls most designs short, but these actually came out pretty nicely.

The images on these coins were as strange as this place.  They included as you can probably guess skeletons of a Giraffe, a Wallaby, a Sea Otter, and a Piranha.  I will admit the gift shop was interesting with some models, puzzles and t-shirts all with various skeletons on them but I wanted to know what was inside the museum.  Curiosity just got the best of me so I paid for a ticket and headed in the back.

When I was a kid we had a history museum in our city that we would visit quite a few times during a year.  Mostly because I was obsessed with Dinosaurs, and that was the closest place that I could spend hours looking at Dino Fossils.  The Skeleton Museum had that same type of feel to it just with skeletons of any animal you could imagine.

As you can see in the above picture there were exhibits with Cheetah’s, Horses and people.

All different types of large cats of every different shape and size.  I’m not a snake fan, but there were some really cool skeletons of a King Cobra and a Boa Constrictors.  They were interesting but creeped me out at the same time and I had to quickly skip past before it came to life.

All the way in the back was some very large animals including a Giraffe, Elephant and Hippo.  The museum would around these different exhibits with similar groupings of creatures.  Eventually I made my way back towards the exit and just near the restrooms was a second penny machine.

I didn’t ask at the front desk as the employee was pretty busy with customers, but my guess is that you can only access this machine with a paid ticket.  But the one out from in the gift shop can be accessed during operating hours free of charge.

This second set of pennies had skeleton designs of a Pelican, a Cheetah, a Killer Whale and a Sea Horse.

I forgot to mention that all of the coins from both machines had a backstamp on them with the Skeleton Museum’s logo.

After I had my fill of flesh-eating beetles and skeletons I headed out of the museum.  It was definitely a unique place to visit, but if skeleton’s are not your thing this is probably something to skip.  There wasn’t anything stomach turning inside, but sometimes skeletons are just creepy.  The museum had a huge selection of skeletons and lots of information about them and how they are collected, and displayed.  If you are looking for something different while your on I-Drive make sure to check this place out.

Sea Life Aquarium – Orlando, FL

Continuing my day at the I-Drive 360 area I had just finished up with Madame Tussauds and had a few other places I could check out.  There was a small kiosk that would let me experience a 7-D attraction.  I have no real idea what that means, but the people seemed on the ride as I went by seemed to be screaming pretty loudly so I decided to keep moving.  All the way on the other side of the lobby was something more my speed.

The Sea Life Aquarium was tucked into the back corner of the building but don’t let the little store front deceive you this place was pretty big inside and had a lot of exhibits.

A nice little feature they had was tank just outside by the ticket window.  This way the kids had something to look at while you wait in line to buy the tickets.  The entrance fee was very reasonable and I always like to think most of it is going to help feed and take care of the sea creatures.

The exhibits throughout range from Amazon fish, to local creatures found just off the Florida shores.

The tanks appeared to be all well-kept and clean, plus the fish were of all shades of colors which are just beautiful to look at.  There is something mesmerizing about watching fish swim lazily around a tank.

There were also some larger tanks for bigger sea creatures include sharks, rays and sea turtles.

Another unique part of this aquarium is a large tunnel you walk through with the fish swimming all around you.  This can be found in many other aquariums but this one is different in that the floor below your feet is also clear, making is appear like you are actually in the tank surrounded by marine life.

Another cool thing was a touch tank with some star fish, and other small sea animals that you can gently touch.  There is a staff member always nearby to help ensure the animals aren’t harmed, and I must say that is a constant battle as some of the children do get kind of rough with the poor creatures.

After finishing up all the areas of the aquarium I found myself back in another gift shop with the usual plush animals, t-shirts and things I just really don’t have room for anymore.  But in the area over near the cooler filled with soda and bottles of water was something I always have time and space for.

This four design hand crank machine has a nice cabinet decorated with sharks and a pretty blue color of the ocean.  You can kind of see it to the left of the machine but there is a change maker right beside it should you not come prepared with coins to press.

The set of pennies included The Touch Tank, Jelly Fish, an Electric Eel, and a Shark.  These designs are similar to other aquariums but I guess that’s to be expected with the most popular creatures always being available.  To make these a little more unique all the coins do include the Sea Life Aquarium logo.

I’ve definitely been in larger aquariums but this is kind of a greatest hits place.  It’s not too large but not tiny either.  It took about an hour or so to go through the entire thing and really spend some time at each exhibit.  With my pennies pressed I was off to check out another museum of sorts that I had never experienced before.

Madame Tussauds – Orlando, FL

A year and a half ago I visited my very first Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in New York and was both intrigued by it and creeped out at the same time.  You can read out it here.  After moving down to the Orlando area my family has spent most weekend over at the Disney parks as we just feel like we are on vacation.  But as I truly hate to say this, after a while we wanted to do something else (gasp!).

One weekend I had dropped my mother in law off at the Florida Mall so she could get out of the house and do some shopping.  I had already exhausted that mall and wasn’t interesting in spending more time in there.  Instead I headed over towards International Drive and hit the jackpot.  From a distance I could see this huge ferris wheel type attraction and that just drew me towards it.  It’s known as the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye but more on that in another post as that was the finally to this little side adventure.  This road side attraction area was called the I Drive 360.

After parking in the lot (free parking by the way) I entered the building and came into a huge lobby type area with quite the assortment of things to do.  I first came across Madame Tussauds near the entrance so that’s what I headed into first.

Of course there is an entrance fee but they do have a free wax celebrity outside that you can pose with for free.  I couldn’t resist the draw of this place so I paid for a ticket and headed in.  There are the standard figures of Presidents and historical figures, but this location had a few I didn’t find in New York which I guess is due to their Florida connection.

The lady of honor herself, Madame Tussaud in the process of creating a wax figure.

Stephen Spielberg, I’m guess due to his relationship with Universal Studios?!?!  Sure sounds good to me.

Steve Jobs.  Now this could be due to his popularity with many Apple fans, but I liked to think it was due to his contribution with starting Pixar Animation.

Of course how could they not include Walt Disney.  This was a very busy figure with lots of people crowding around to get a selfie.  It was very cool to see a lot of different celebrities from the one I visited in New York.  As with the other location once I was done with the exhibits I found myself in the gift shop.  I figured I had spent enough money on the entrance ticket that I didn’t need any souvenirs but did spot one that was inexpensive and right up my alley.

Thankfully I always come with a pocket full of change for just these types of situations.  There were four designs available in this hand crank machine.

The pennies pressed nicely and had images of Madame Tussauds Orlando, an Astronaut, Orlando U.S.A., and a Movie Clapperboard.  All the designs did have the Madame Tussauds logo and I always like when these attraction chains have the city on the coins.  It helps make each set of coins a little unique, and fun to collect each location.

Now I will let you know that this machine is available just outside the gift shop so you do not need to pay the admission cost to use the machine.  But if you have the time I would recommend it as it’s a unique experience and a fun way to make your friends jealous of the celebrity sightings you had on your vacation.

Valley Forge National Historical Park – Valley Forge, PA

One day this past weekend I was out running errands with my youngest daughter Melody.  She had been a little cranky and in-between stops she fell asleep and I knew that I had to do whatever I could to ensure she got a nice long nap.  I just started driving and eventually found myself on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  I really was just trying to find someplace nearby that I could set the cruise control and not be stopping at a red light every one hundred yards.  Since I was heading out towards King of Prussia I knew that the Valley Forge park was nearby and was always on my to-do list.  As I get older I find myself more and more interested in American History (where you when I was in high school).  You can check out a previous visit to Gettysburg, PA here (Part 1 and Part 2).  As luck would have it just as I was pulling into the parking area Melody woke up and seemed ready to stretch her legs a bit, and what better place than a park.

Valley Forge was the camp where the American Continental Army spent the winter of 1777-78 during the American Revolutionary War.  More than 2,500 American soldiers perished here due to starvation, disease, and exposure to the harsh winter.


I’m no historian so I won’t go into much more detail about what happened at Valley Forge since I will most likely quote something incorrectly.  Instead be sure to stop by the Historical park and check out the visitor center.


I will say it’s always nice to be greeted upon arrival by the great General George Washington.


There are some very detailed exhibits throughout the Visitor Center museum detailing what Valley Forge.  What the conditions were like, how the soldiers spent their down time, living conditions and more.


There was also an interesting collection of weapons on display and detailed descriptions of each.  If you take your time visiting each exhibit you could easily spend an afternoon here, but there are many other places to see and things to do.  There is also a theatre showing a movie about the events at Valley Forge.  It’s not long only about 20 minutes or so but well worth the price of admission (did I mention this is all free? yup free).  After we finished checking everything out we headed back down to the main area of the visitor center for their gift shop.


Named the Encampment Store there is plenty of T-shirts, Christmas ornaments, shot glasses and books just like you would find in most of these little shops.  Over to one side of the store I came across one of the other reasons I had always wanted to visit this park.


It just wouldn’t be a weekend trip without coming across a penny machine somewhere. My family always laughs when I try to play it off like I didn’t know the machine was here.  Ahh they know me all too well.


The designs available here include The National Memorial Arch, a Revolutionary Cannon, America’s First Army, and Dogwoods.

I would have loved to spend even more time here, and we didn’t get to wonder around the park.  The wind was really making it hard to stay outside for too long and as I saw Melody’s cheeks getting red I knew she was ready to head back to our car.  Hopefully I’ll get back here in the near future when it’s a little warmer so I can really experience all there is.  Be sure to stop by and get a bit of a history lesson, a nice walk through the park and of course don’t forget to press a set of pennies before you go.

The Franklin Institute 2016 – Philadelphia, PA

On a recent weekend trip into Philadelphia with my daughter we decided to go check out The Franklin Institute.  We had visited this museum a year or so ago and my daughter really enjoyed all the interactive exhibits and of course all the other kids running around.  I have always likes science museums and this is really one of the best ones I’ve ever been to.  Plus they are notorious for having quite a few penny press machines, and was one of the first 8-design touch screen machine I had used (click here to read all about it).


Hanna and I did explore the entire museum, but just so you know most of the machines can actually be accessed right in the main Atrium shown above with no admission required (but if you park in their garage there is a fee).  Now I know I have a habit of calling these penny press machines which in most situations is correct, but more and more machines have been made available where the supply a coin like token instead.  So technically these machines were token presses but they work exactly the same.


The first machine was located right by the elevators that take you down to the parking garage below the museum.  This machine had four designs and each were $1.


The designs on this first set included the Liberty Bell, City of Brotherly Love Philadelphia, I Heart The Franklin Institute, and Fels Planetarium.


Just a few feet away was the second machine sitting right beside the Information Desk.  These designs were also $1 each.


The images available in this set: The Train Factory, The Franklin Institute Science Museum, Our Carbon Footprint, and the Philadelphia Phillies logo.


The next machine is situated in great location just outside the Restrooms.  I’m not sure why places put the machines here (seems very common) but I guess it’s to guarantee foot traffic.  These were also $1 each.


The designs on this set included the Joel M Bloom Observatory, Benjamin Franklin, Sir Isaac’s Loft and the Air Show.


I know I gave a link about this 8-Design machine above but couldn’t help including it in this post as well.  Please note that this machine is no longer near the Pendulum Staircase (which required admission), it is now located near the Restrooms (yay!) as well (no admission required).


I really do like these new machines and I couldn’t resist pressing another set.  It does take cash, credit or Apple Pay which is what I used and it worked perfectly.

As a recap this museum really is a great place to visit and an easy way to spend an afternoon with your kids (or just by yourself).  The exhibits are fantastic, the special exhibits are even better, plus you can press 20 new tokens all within a 100 foot radius.

Albany, New York

In just a few days we had been able to visit quite a few placed in our Upstate New York visit and on one of our last days it was late afternoon and we decided to pick a spot to get a hotel and rest for the evening.  We were coming up to Albany, NY and figured that would be a pretty easy place to find a hotel.

Albany Sign

We headed downtown and found a reasonable hotel that had a vacancy.  My family wanted to stay and rest in the room so I took the car out and decided to see if I could find any nearby penny machines.  As luck would have it there was one not too far away, I just had to hope the place was still open.

NY State Museum

The New York State Museum as you can see from the above picture is a very unique building.  They have some great exhibits and admission is free but donations are always welcome.  By the time I got inside they were actually starting the process of closing everything up.  I asked the security guard as nicely as I could if it would be okay for me to just stop over by the gift shop and use the penny machine.  He waved me through and I felt like I was getting away with something.

NY - New York State Museum

I fumbled some change out of my pocket and pressed a set of coins.  They all came out nicely even though the machine was a little rough rolling.

NY State Museum Pennies

In this set you will get a I Love (Heart) Albany, a Carousel Horse, a Wooly Mammoth, and a Trilobite.  I stored my new pennies away and thanked the guard again as I left and heard the doors being locked behind me.  After the short drive back to our hotel I was greeted by my family that seemed ready to go and find something to eat.  Having a secret up my sleeve I mentioned that we should go to the Crossgates Shopping Mall as they would have a varied selection of places to eat.  Everyone was on board and a sneaky grin crossed my lips.

Crossgates Mall Albany NY

The mall was a bit of drive away but we drove around the parking lot checking out the available restaurants.  We ended up choosing The Melting Pot which is a fondue restaurant.  All I’ll say is their desert Chocolate fondue is to die for.  Yes you do technically cook your own food, but the experience is still pretty cool and fun for the entire family.  Once our meal was over and we were completely stuffed with melted cheese and chocolate we figured it was a good idea to walk around the mall for a bit.  Eventually on the second floor we came across the food court and my plan fell into place.

NY - Crossgates Mall

A penny machine was are the changes?!?!  My family just laughed and realized how I had orchestrated this entire side trip.  You’d think they would know better by now.

Crossgates Mall Albany Pennies

I pressed my coins and we finished our after dinner stroll.  With the bloating feeling in our bellies starting to subside we eventually made it back to our car and then back to the hotel to get some sleep.  It was finally time to admit that our trip was over and time to head back home to Jersey.  Spending this time with my family was really a treat and we came back with some great memories and a pocket full of new pennies.  Overall it was another great family trip.

Franklin Institute 8 Design Penny Machine – Philadelphia, PA

Just a few days ago I was checking out to see if there were any new machines around my area and I almost jumped out of my seat when I scanned through the Philadelphia locations.  Last year I had taken my daughter Hanna on a day trip to Philly checking out some historical sites and ended with the Franklin Institute which is a huge science museum.  We had collected all the coins at that time, but brand new for 2016 they have added another machine.  Even more cool is that it’s one of those new super-multi design machines by the pennymen.

Franklin Institute 2016 Machine 01

Last spring I wrote about the first time I was able to use one of these machines which was located in Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World.  Below is the marquee at the top of this new machine.  I like the “Limited Edition” as it makes me hope there will be more designs available in the future.

Franklin Institute 2016 Machine 02

This machine functions exactly the same way as the one I used in Florida, except I did notice that this machine appears to be using coin blanks instead of pennies which are supplied by the machine.  To use the machine you start by making your selections on the touch screen.

Franklin Institute 2016 Machine 03

You can press one design for a dollar, or get all eight for $5.  You can pay with cash, credit, or Apple Pay.  Being the techie I am I used Apple Pay and elected for all eight designs.

Franklin Institute 2016 Machine 04

Above is a picture of the working parts of the machine and the die used to press each design along with samples of each coin.  Below I have included a short video I took of the machine in action.

After the machine finished pressing my designs I gathered them up and finished checking out the museum and eventually headed home.

Franklin Institute 2016 Pennies 01

You can see each design came out really nice.  I know when I used the machine in Disney almost every coin rolled a little short and the pennies used in the machine were not the greatest so the end results were a little disappointing.  But these really came out nice.

Franklin Institute 2016 Pennies 02

The first four designs include The Amazing Machine, Your Brain, the Sportszone, and Electricity (very cool exhibits by the way for electricity, so cool they will make your hair stand on end).

Franklin Institute 2016 Pennies 03

The second set of four designs are the Changing Earth, Kidscience, the Train Factory, and the Franklin Air show.

So if you are near Philly and in need of a science fix make sure to drop by the Franklin Institute.  It’s a beautiful museum with a whole lot of really great exhibits, and interactive things for people of all ages to enjoy.  The museum already had five penny machines available and this now makes six.  Plus these new machines are really cool and getting eight new pressed coins is a nice addition to your collection.

Madame Tussauds – New York, NY

When wandering around New York City you never know when you may run into a celebrity or walk by a movie set.  My dad used to work on Madison avenue and said there were numerous mornings he would be walking into the office building and there would be clean up crews getting Madison Ave back to working order from a night of shooting a movie.  However if you are only in town for one day or even just an afternoon there is a guaranteed way to have your picture taken with some celebs, although they are technically made of wax but you’re family and friends don’t need to know.

Madame Tussauds 01

Madame Tussauds is a famous wax museum chain that has locations all over the world. Last year when my family took a quick trip to Washington DC I wrote about visiting it and you can read about it here.  This location right off Times Square is huge.  As you enter the museum Alicia Keys, Al Roker and Matt Lauer are there to greet you as you wait in line for tickets.

Madame Tussauds 02

However before getting in line I headed over by the elevators and used the first penny machine that is located in the lobby.

Madame Tussauds Machine 01

No admission is needed to use this machine, however the second machine is found further inside and you do need a ticket to access that machine.

Madame Tussauds 01 Pennies

This first machine was also used to be located at the Empire State Building which I had visited years ago and picked up coins.  Recently it had been relocated but the designs available are still the same: Skyride, NYC Checkered Cab, Central Park NY, and an NYC Sightseeing Bus.  After using the machine I jumped in line to get my ticket and was then off to meet some celebrities.  First up Angelina Jolie.

Madame Tussauds 04

Unfortunately I’m not very good at selfies so the pictures I took me with arms around her didn’t come out very well which is probably for the best and will keep me out of trouble.  The museum is set up in different sections to try to organize the figures.

Madame Tussauds 06   Madame Tussauds 05

In the golden age of cinema I met James Dean and Marilyn Monroe.  Each section has up to 10 or 12 people and you are able to stand right up next to them for your celebrity photo-op.

Madame Tussauds 12   Madame Tussauds 08

For sports fans these mostly consisted of New York team players like Eli Manning of the New York Giants, but they just couldn’t leave out the great Joe Montana from the San Francisco 49ers.

Madame Tussauds 10   Madame Tussauds 11

There was even a Marvel Superheroes section that had all The Avengers available to match up with.  This area was packed with kids so I just snapped a couple of pictures and headed towards the next area which consisted of historic figures and U.S. Presidents past and present.  At the end of the tour you are sent into the gift shop and eventually to a set of elevators that take you back to street level.  While I waited for the elevator I noticed off to the side was the second penny machine.

Madame Tussauds Machine 02

Fortunately I was the first at the elevators so the area was empty while I used the machine.  But only after few minutes the place started to fill up with people anxious to leave.

Madame Tussauds 02 Pennies

The machine rolled the designs nicely and worked without any issue.  The penny designs all said “Madame Tussauds New York” and included images of the New Year’s Ball Drop, the New York Yankees, 9/11 We Will Never Forget, and Times Square Station.  I put the pennies away and stepped back over to hope on the elevator that arrived shortly after.

I was in need of something to each which was going to work our perfectly since my next stop was going to offer just that.  It was only a short walk away but being so close to Times Square the crowds make getting anywhere more difficult than it should be.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! – New York, NY

Have you ever hear a story about an event that was so unbelievable you had an internal debate with yourself about whether it maybe, possible could be true… or may not?  For me it was always urban legends that would get me.  At the beginning I would completely convince myself for sure they were fake, then as I heard more and more people retelling the same story I started to think otherwise.  In either case these stories are entertaining if nothing else.

Now why do I bring this up?  Well my next stop in New York city is part of a franchise that deals in just these sorts of things.  Ripley’s Believe It or Not! was founded by Robert Ripley who documented bizarre events, people, animals or items that would have people to this day still questioning their authenticity.  Ripley’s started as a cartoon “penal”, and eventual spanned numerous media formats like radio, TV, books, and eventually museums.

Ripley's 01

These museum are located all over the world and I will admit I have visited quite a few of them in the past.  To be honest I’m not sure exactly why I keep going into them as most of the items inside are the same in each of the locations, and some are pretty hard to look at.  I don’t have a week stomach but do tread lightly when visiting these locations.  However on this trip I had a location right next door that I did want to spend more time at so I didn’t actually go into this museum other than to press the pennies that are located in the gift shop (no admission required).  But as I walked inside from 42nd Street I did take a look at some of the “free” exhibits available by the front entrance.

Ripley's 03

As you can see the Auditorium included plenty of skeletons, creatures that can’t possibly exist (or did they?), pictures, things floating in jars full of fluids, tall people, short people, and plenty of people with physical anomalies.

Ripley's 02

The gift shop was to the right of the ticket area just next to the two-trunked elephant on the wall.  The doors slid open and the machine was located right inside.

Ripley's Machine 01

This machine was a little unique in that the gear ratio was pretty light.  Meaning that it was very easy to turn, but you needed to turn the handle about 10-12 times per penny. Also each penny cost twice as much as standard machines.  It was $1.00 per penny plus obviously your penny.  Luckily I had brought along some extra quarters just in case of a situation like this.

Ripley's Believe It NYC Pennies

These designs were really nice I must admit.  In my past trips to these museums they almost all have penny machines but these were the first nicely detailed coins I have found at a Ripley’s.  The designs included: The Ripley’s Odditorium Marquee, a Shrunken Head, the World’s Tallest Man, and a Two-headed Goat.

Another set in my pocket and it was time to get out of here.  I could feel the oddities calling my name, but I had other places to visit and more coins to collect.  Thankfully I didn’t have far to go as the next place was right next door.

Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum – New York, NY

When visiting New York City we are almost always drawn right to Times Square.  It’s a place you’ve seen on TV and in the movies so many times that when you are there for the first time it seems like you’ve been there before.  But over the years each time I visit the crowds just seem to get bigger and bigger and my patience grows smaller and smaller.  On this trip I did have a few places near Times Square to visit but first I was taking a break from the crowds.  As I walked down 12th Avenue towards the Lincoln Tunnel I saw a sign that told me I was closed to my next stop.

USS Intrepid 01

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space museum has been on my to-do list for years, but it is a little out of the way from where we usually visit in NYC.  This trip I was making sure to head over because I couldn’t wait to step aboard an actual Aircraft Carrier.

USS Intrepid 03

The museum was originally founded in 1982, but was closed in 2006 for a two-year renovation.  It is a military and maritime museum that houses numerous aircraft on board for visitors to see and learn about.  A recent additional to the museum that opened to the public on July 19th, 2012 was the Space Shuttle Enterprise and is now located in the Space Shuttle Pavilion on the top deck of the Intrepid.

Intrepid Space Shuttle

The Intrepid has some tight security before you can access the pier.  I had paid for my ticked online the night before so I was able to skip that line, and head right out onto the pier where the sheer size of the Intrepid became apparent.

USS Intrepid 06

Before boarding the Intrepid there are some things to see and do along the pier but still require admission.  The submarine USS Growler was a cruise missile submarine whose mission was to provider nuclear deterrent capabilities.  This was done off the west-coast of the Soviet Union during peak years of the cold war.

USS Growler

I was about to check out the Growler but something else on the pier caught my eye and was immediately drawn to it.

USS Intrepid 07

The British Airways Concorde SST.  It was a supersonic passenger jet that featured a maximum speed over twice the speed of sound at Mach 2.04.  First flown in 1969, and eventually entered service in 1976 and continued commercial flights for 27 years until 2003 when it was retired.  This aircraft was beautiful and really mesmerizing.  After taking my pictures and reading all the information they had on display I turned around and came face to face with a penny machine.  What can I say I’m obsessed!

USS Intrepid Machine 01

What was even better was that this coin set was all about the Concorde.  I put my first set of coins in the slider and as I pushed it in….it jammed.  I couldn’t believe it.  Taking a few minutes I tried to get the slider back out, but didn’t want to make things worse.  So a little dejected I had to move on without getting this set.

USS Intrepid Machine 01a

As you can see from the above picture of the machine marquee the four designs included the Concorde in various views of flight.  I was a little bummed about the machine but quickly remembered that I had a huge Aircraft Carrier in front of me that I hadn’t even stepped onto yet (oh and there were two more machines somewhere).  I decided to take the elevator up to the stop deck and work my way back down.

USS Intrepid 09   USS Intrepid 10

After getting off the elevator I snapped the above two pictures in an attempt to show how big the flight deck was by the number of aircraft located here.  In the picture on the right in the back you can see the Space Shuttle Pavilion “Tent” that houses the Shuttle.  I walked onto the deck and saw another aircraft I had been obsessed with as a child.

USS Intrepid 11

The Lockheed A-12 was a reconnaissance aircraft built for the CIA by Lockheed and had the internal code name “Archangel”.  It was the precursor to the famous SR-71 Blackbird also created by Lockheed.  Also on the deck from the US Air Force was an F-16 Fighting Falcon.  From the US Navy was an A-4 Skyhawk, F-8 Crusader, an A-6 Intruder.  From the US Marine Corp was an AV-8C Harrier which is really cool, this plane can take off and land vertically.  Lastly from the US Army a Vietnam-era UH-1 Iroquois.  These were just some of the amazing machines that you could get up close and personal with.  I actually spent a lot more time here than I had initially planned for but I just couldn’t pull myself away.

USS Intrepid 12

Due to time I didn’t go check out the Space Shuttle but I really kick myself now for not doing so.  There is a separate admission to see it, but after coming home I have seen some pictures online and it just looks amazing.  This just means I’ll have to go back and see it in the future.  Anyways, with the top deck done I took the elevator down to the next level.

USS Intrepid 14

Inside there were more plans, and as you can see from the above picture even one of the ships propellers that made this monster craft move.  Towards the far end was the Exploreum that has some interactive exhibits for the young (or young at heart) to play with.  Over in a small alcove I found the next penny machine.

USS Intrepid Machine 02

To be honest if I wasn’t specifically looking for this machine I probably would have missed it.  It just off to one side underneath a kind of platform.

USS Intrepid 02 Pennies

The four penny designs at this machine were an image of the U.S.S. Growler, an American Flag “Honor, Educate & Inspire”, the U.S.S. Intrepid, and the U.S.S. Intrepid 1943 Bell.  After storing these pennies away I began to look for the last machine located on the Intrepid.  I had a rough idea where it was but wasn’t exactly sure how to get there.  My online research said it was near the mess hall / food court but the map I was given didn’t really say how you got it to.  I eventually asked someone and they pointed me towards a door that revealed a set of stairs.  After doing down a few flights I came out in the food court.

USS Intrepid 16

As you can see in the above picture the machine is located on the right side just outside the restrooms.

USS Intrepid Machine 03

This place was pretty deserted even though the rest of the museum was fairly busy.  I assume from the lack of signage not many people know how to get here.

USS Intrepid 03 Pennies

The images on these pennies were the Lockheed A-12, the H019A Sikorsky, the A4 Skyhawk, and the Grumman F11 Tiger.  Apparently I wasn’t the only one looking for this machine.  As I started to pretty my set there was another couple that entered from the stairwell and came right up beside me. We spoke for a little bit and I found out they were new to collecting pressed coins but were having a great time coming across machines throughout the city on their weeklong trip.  I immediately welcomed them to the hobby and told them all about TEC (The Elongated Collectors) and for all their future trips.  They were very thankful for the information which I’m always more than happy to pass along.

With a smile on my face I headed back to the stairs and went all the way back down to the pier and towards the exit.  For anyone in military history, or airplanes in general this is really a great place to check out.  Unfortunately I had put off Times Square as long as I could and started to head back in that directly.  There were still a bunch of places I had to visit and the large crowds weren’t going to make it easy.

** Updated:  After I got back home I waited about a week and then sent my letter to the Intrepid explaining that the machine by the Concorde had been out-of-order and asked if someone would mind pressing me a set.  I had included a set of quarters and pennies as well as a self-addressed stamped envelope to aid in returning them to me.  I kind of forgot about it for a couple of weeks until one day I came home and there was a FedEx package on my front step.  I opened it to find a very nice letter from one of the management staff at the Intrepid.  They apologies for the machine not working and send me a set of the coins, but also returned my quarters and pennies because of the inconvenience.  This just made my day and I always really appreciate when these placed take the time to help our their guests whenever possible.  Thank you Intrepid Crew!!