Bubba Gump Shrimp – New York, NY

Times Square New York what an amazing place.  Anything you can think of is most likely available here, from restaurants, shopping, art, and fake Rolex watches who needs a mall when Times Square is the true one stop shop.

Time Square

My stomach was starting to gurgle which meant it was time to stop and grab some food.  I’ve mentioned in the past that I’m a sucker for a fun themed restaurant and this is one I stop at pretty often.

Bubba Gump NYC 01

Located right on Broadway is Bubba Gump Shrimp.  For anyone that is a fan of the Forest Gump movie this is a really fun place to visit.  The entire place is filled with memorabilia from the movie, the wait staff will also ask you trivia about the movie, and there are signs on the table that say “Run Forest Run” or “Stop Forest Stop” which you can use to let your server know you need them to stop by for something.

Bubba Gump NYC 02

After successfully passing my trivia test I had my lunch of what else…a Shrimp boil, I headed back downstairs and visited the gift shop.  Located near the stairs that take you up to the restaurant was a penny machine.  Unfortunately my picture of the machine didn’t come out due to the poor lighting inside but the machine pressed the designs without any issue.

Bubba Gump Pennies

These coins were obviously Forest Gump inspired and included designs of the Bubba Gump logo, Life is like a box of Chocolates, My momma says I’m special, and Run Forest Run.  I felt better and a little energized from my lunch but can always go for some desert.  Thankfully my next stop specializes in sweet treats oh and of course they have a penny machine.  What a fantastic coincidence.

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.

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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.

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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 Pennycollector.com 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!!

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Happy New Year 2016

The ball has just dropped and I wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Year.  As I watched the festivities in Times Square New York it dawned on me that I had the perfect pressed pennies for just such an occasion.

New Years Eve 03

Millions of people watch the famous ball drop every New Years Eve in the most famous city in the world.  Sometimes I forget just how  close to that special place I actually live. Now I’ve never had the slightest urge to actually go into the city to watch the ball drop live, but have walked right through that area numerous times over the years.

New Years Eve 02

Times square is located at Broadway and West 42nd Street as shown in the penny design below.  There is also a Times square information center which is where I pressed these designs about 6 years ago.  Unfortunately the machine at this location has been removed but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share them as we celebrate the starting of 2016.

New Years Eve 01

Be safe and make sure to complete your resolutions.  Mines easy collect more pennies how can I possibly not fulfill that goal.  Thanks for a great 2015 and here’s to a fantastic 2016!!

Ellen’s Stardust Diner – New York, NY

With the Central Park Zoo behind me I wanted to make sure I didn’t run into the marathon again and need to make a long detour to get around.  So I headed straight down 5th Avenue passed the big Apple (hah) computer store.  I wasn’t in need of a new iPhone but did want to check it out however the line to get in was crazy so I skipped on by.

NYC Central Park Apple Store

I had to walk about 8 blocks south to 51st Street and then head towards Broadway passing Rockefeller Center and Radio City music hall.  Then at the corner of Broadway and 51st was my next stop Ellen’s Stardust Diner.

Ellen's Stardust Diner 01

The diner was opened in 1987 and was the first 1950s themed restaurant in New York City with the waitresses even wearing poodle skirts and even break out singing every now and then.  Once of their wait staff was even featured on a season of American Idol.  Confession time, I have visited this place a few times in the past but never actually eaten here.  Either the wait time is crazy, or as on this trip it was between meals and I wasn’t hungry.  So I’ve only ever been in the vestibule inside the front door just to use the penny machine.  But someday I’m sure I’ll make it for a meal.

Ellen's Stardust Diner Machine 01

My first visit here was able to get a set of pennies but that was over 6 years ago.  About two years ago I visited to try to get a set from their new penny machine but it was out-of-order.  Unfortunately this trip was no different and the coin slider was jammed inside and couldn’t be used.  I have a feeling with this machine located right where the masses wait for a table they are probably not too gentle with the machine.  Also with the large international crowd that visits Times Square each year I see lots of foreign currently stuck inside the machines.  This is also why I take any opportunity to help our international guests figure out the correct change to use.

Ellen's Stardust Diner Machine 01a

The designs that would have been available here included Ellen’s Stardust Diner, I Love New York City / Statue of Liberty, NYC Times Square, and We Will Never Forget / World Trade Center.  As with the machine that wasn’t working in the zoo after I got home I wrote a letter to the diner with some quarters and pennies asking for a set of the designs.  Hopefully they will be accommodating, but I don’t know how long it will take before the machine is working again.

So far on this trip I had visited a total of 9 machines and only two had been broken.  My success rate wasn’t too bad, but hopefully the rest of my trip would work out a little better.

Central Park Zoo – New York, NY

After leaving the Natural History museum I was confronted with the realization that the New York City Marathon was going on.  I wanted to head straight east across Central Park to the zoo but with the marathon route blocking my way I headed out on a long winding route through the park trying to get to the other side.  About 45 minutes later I finally made it to the Central Park Zoo.  Another zoo?  You bet this has definitely been the summer of zoo visits, maybe next year I’ll pick another type of attraction and visit as many as I can.  But come on it’s a zoo with lots of cute fuzzy animals.

Central Park Zoo 01

Before entering the actual zoo there are some placed to visit that are located outside the main entrance and no admission is required.  The Dancing Crane Cafe is a nice quick place to grab something to eat, or you can also visit the main gift shop.  I had paid for my ticked online the night before so thankfully I didn’t need to stand in the long ticket line.  Outside the gift shop and across from the zoo entrance were the first two penny machines available at the zoo.

Central Park Zoo Machine 01

Both machines were inside a cabinet that I’m sure helped protect them from the outside elements and there was a change machine right in the middle.

Central Park 02 Pennies

Each machine at the zoo had four designs available.  This first machine had images of a Pot-Bellied Pig, a Red Panda, a Black & White Ruffed Lemur, and a Poison Dart Frog.

Central Park Zoo Machine 02

Unfortunately the second machine was out-of-order with a label stuck across the coin slider.  I was temped to remove it and try the machine anyways, but I didn’t want to risk wasting my coins or worse breaking the machine further.

Central Park Zoo Machine 02a

The pennies available at this machine were an Emerald Tree Boa, Nubian Goat, a Sea Lion and a Grizzly Bear.  After my trip I wait about a week and then mailed off a set of quarters and pennies asking the zoo to press me a set from this machine.  I haven’t heard back but am keeping my fingers crossed I’ll receive something back to finish up this set.

With the pennies from the first machine stored away I handed my ticket to the attendant and headed inside to see the animals.  The Central Park Zoo isn’t huge and if you don’t linger too long you can see everything in an hour or so.

Central Park Zoo 07

One of the Grizzly Bears was pretty active and came right up close to the glass for us to catch a glimpse in-between naps.

Central Park Zoo 08

They also have Sea Lion tank and have regular feeding sessions you can watch throughout the day.  There are many other animals exhibits around the zoo but no animals really out of the ordinary.  One thing that is a little strange about this zoo is that there is a separate Children’s Zoo you can access with your regular admission but you have to leave the main zoo, walk under 65th Street via a tunnel/bridge and the Children’s zoo is on the other size.

Central Park Zoo 10

The Tisch Children’s Zoo had a petting area and mostly just contains some barnyard animals like goats and sheep.  But the animals are kept behind a fence so you have to try to coax them over with food you can pay for with a few quarters.

Central Park Zoo 12

After feeding some goats I had to make a pit stop and lucky for me the next penny machine was right outside the restrooms.

Central Park Zoo Machine 03

There were a bunch of younger kids playing with the machine but not actually using it.  When they noticed I was waiting patiently they moved out of the way and watched as I pressed a set.  This tends to happen quite often and I’m sure I have parents cursing my name after I leave as their kids always go running asking for loose change to use the machine.

Central Park 03 Pennies

These pennies included a Cow, a Tortoise, a Big, and a huge Spider in an intricate web.  I quickly left the area before the parents of the kids asking for change could hunt me down.  My research before coming into the city listed that there should be one more machine in the Dancing Crane Cafe.  I headed back in that direction, headed into the cafe and walked all around but didn’t see it.  I thought I may have missed it somewhere inside the zoo so I showed my hand stamp and went back inside.  Deciding to check every nook and cranny the first place I hadn’t gone to initially was the education center primarily used when schools come to visit the zoo.  In between the education center and a set of restrooms was a little hallway that connected to the cafe and this is where I found the last machine.

Central Park Zoo Machine 04

This machine wasn’t leveled correctly and when I cranked the handle it would dip to one side.  It made using the machine a little difficult and also made a lot of noise.  Not to be deterred I held the top of the machine to try to steady it while turning the handle.

Central Park 04 Pennies

These designs had a little more detail than the others which was probably due to this being a newer machine.  The images had a Rattlesnake, Snow Leopard, Snow Monkey and a Macaw.  I headed back inside the cafe and grabbed a Gatorade to try to re-hydrate due to all the walking I had done so far, but my trip was far from over.

**Updated (12/11/15)
A few days after my trip into New York City I sent a letter to the Central Park Zoo with some quarters and pennies letting them know I had recently visited but one of the machines had been out-of-order.  I asked if someone would be able to press me a set once the machine was fixed.  About 2 months later I received my envelope back with a fresh set of pressed coins and a nice letter from someone in their guest services apologizing for the machine being out-of-order.  I have done this a few times in the past and almost always receive the coins back.  It’s not always the quickest method to acquire pressed coins but I do appreciate the employee’s taking some time to help fill my collection.

Central Park Zoo Broken Pennies

American Museum of Natural History – New York, NY

Traveling the world has always been a goal of mine, but so far I haven’t made it much beyond Canada and a handful of U.S. states.  My cousin however has become quite the world traveler visiting places like the Philippines, China, Machu Picchu, and many more with plenty of great story to accompany each trip.  In between big trips to these far away lands the traveling bug still hits him and he has the need to go somewhere close.  He’s from Canada and coming down to New Jersey tends to be one of his stand by locations.  With our proximity to New York, Pennsylvania and even Washington DC it makes for an ideal place to visit a lot of places in a short amount of time.

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Being Canadian he has an extreme love of Hockey and has a bucket list to visit all the professional arenas.  On this most recent trip I was offered a few different venues to see a hockey game with him and decided to check out the New York Islander’s new home arena the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, NY.  The drop of the puck wasn’t until 7:30 that night so I had a whole day to wander around New York City and try to collect some new pennies.  Now where to start?

I wanted to make sure I got to visit as many places as I could so my trip began early in the morning with a train ride into Penn Station, then jumped on the Subway for a 10 minutes ride to the American Museum of Natural History.

AMNH Entrance

This museum is one of the largest in the world.  It was originally established in 1869 and the original building was opened in 1877.  The size of this place is truly amazing, and the number of exhibits really makes this a special place to visit.

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As soon as you walk in through the main entrance you realize how big the museum is.  There are two large dinosaur skeletons in the midst of battle looming over you as you buy your admission ticket.  The museum has four floors and includes a planetarium, and IMAX theater.  However the animal diorama’s are really something they are known for.

AMNH 01   AMNH 03

In the Akeley Hall of African Mammals there is a centerpiece that includes 8 African Elephants in a characteristic alarmed formation.

AMNH 05

Eventually I made my way over to the Hall of Ornithischian Dinosaurs which as I’ve mentioned in the past I just can’t resist.  Seeing the size of these animals is still almost too hard to contemplate that they walked the earth millions of years ago.  The names are always too complicated for me to pronounce but there is one favorite that I have to locate at each museum.

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Tyrannosaurus Rex who doesn’t want to see this fierce carnivore, just obviously not in person.  Thankfully Jurassic Park hasn’t become a reality just yet.

As I made my walk through all the exhibits I did come across each of the four penny machines located here.  I visited this museum about 7 years ago and three of the machines were the same but the fourth was new.  But that didn’t stop me from pressing a brand new set of each coin.

AMNH Museum Store

As with most museums they have a gift shop, but the main one located here has a staircase in the middle of it and actually covers multiple floors.  On the first floor just outside the gift shop was where I found the first machine.

AMNH Machine 01

I always come prepared with enough quarters and pennies (plus extra just in case of a short roll) but just in case each of the machines did have a change maker right beside them.

AMNH 01 Pennies

The first machine had four designs: Stegosaurus, Barosaurs, the American Museum of Natural History building, and a T-Rex Skull.  I took the stairs in the middle of the gift shop up to the second floor and found the next machine located outside the shop doors.

AMNH Machine 02

So far all the machines were working perfectly and I had no issues pressing the designs.

AMNH 02 Pennies

The next set of pennies has images the Alaska Brown Bear Diorama, The Rose Center for Earth and Space, a Haida War Canoe, and the Australopithecus Couple.  For the last two machines I had to go all the way up to the fourth floor.  The third machine was right outside the DinoStore.

AMNH Machine 03

Our of the four machines available in the museum this was the busiest one.  Since it was located right near the Dinosaur hall it wasn’t too surprising this has the largest crowd.

AMNH 03 Pennies

These four pennies were pressed with images of an Allosaurus, the huge Blue Whale, the herd of 8 African Elephants, and the main entrance to the Museum.  The last machine was located beyond the Dinosaur hall toward inside the gift shop by the temporary exhibit called Life at the Limits.

AMNH Machine 04

Just like the other machines this one was in perfect working condition, and was the only new machine since my last visit.

AMNH 04 Pennies

These last four coins had the Easter Island Head, a T-Rex skull, a Mammoth Fossil, and Theodore Roosevelt.  With all the coins acquired and safely stored in my jacket pocket I made my way back down to the 1st floor and headed outside into the unusually warm November day.  My next stop was directly across Central Park but suddenly I realized I had a huge obstacle in front of me.

NYC Marathon 2015 02

The New York Marathon was going on, and there were road blocks all over the place to keep people off of the Marathon route.  It was cool to be in the city and right alongside the runners but I had pennies to press and needed to figure out a way around the course.  It took a little longer than I thought it would but I eventually made it to the next stop on my list.

Staten Island Zoo – Staten Island, NY

With the summer slowly passing us by before we know it the temperature will begin to drop and we’ll be stuck inside more often than we would like.  With the weekends we have left my family has been trying to do as much as we can.  Just this past weekend we visited for the first time ever the Staten Island Zoo.

Staten island zoo sign

This zoo was about an hour drive from our house in central jersey, straight up the turnpike and over the Goethals bridge.  This isn’t a large zoo but still has a wide variety of animals and things to do.  After arriving one of the first exhibits we came across were the river otters.

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As you can see above Hanna had a great time playing with one of them through the glass.  Primarily the zoo has a central building with different wings that branch off in different directions.  Each wing houses a specific genre of animal for example the Reptile wing,  or the Tropical Forest wing.  While in the Tropical Forest wing I came across the first of two penny machines available at the zoo.

Staten Island Zoo 01

We visited the zoo right as it opened so there wasn’t a lot of traffic.  This area of the zoo was pretty empty so while I pressed the pennies I only had the nearby monkeys as an audience.  They didn’t look too impressed.

Staten Island Zoo 01 Pennies

The three designs at this machine were: A Leopard, Mandrill and an Emu.  The coins pressed very nicely and the machine was in pretty good shape.  We continued walking around the zoo and Hanna saw her most favorite ride of all, a carousel.  So we took a quick break to go for a ride.

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After taking a spin we headed to the last part of the zoo which was called the Kids Korral.  We had to first travel over a covered bridge which is also where we found the second penny machine.

Staten Island Zoo 02

I always come prepared with enough quarters and pennies (plus some extras just in case), but in case you need it there was a change machine located right nearby.

Staten Island Zoo 02 Pennies

The three designs at this machine were: The Staten Island Zoo Logo, A Red Panda, and a Horse.  With the last set of pennies in hand we went to the Kids Zoo to feed and pet some barnyard animals before heading home.

If you’re looking for a zoo to spend an entire day at this wouldn’t be the place to go.  But it was nice for a few hours which is just enough time to see a decent selection of exotic animals and of course press some coins.

MLB Hall of Fame – Cooperstown, NY

The first weekend in August every year for the last 37 years has been reserved for my mother’s side of the family to get together rain or shine for a family picnic.  My immediate family moved away from Canada about 19 years ago down to New Jersey and this makes for a great excuse to go back and visit.  The drive from New Jersey to Ottawa is about 8 hours give or take depending on how many pit stops need to be made along the way.  The last couple years we have tried to break up the trip back to Jersey by stopping someplace for the night and of course I take the opportunity to find a penny machine I may not get to visit again.  Last year we stopped by the Finger Lakes region in New York state and I posted a visit to a Bass Pro Shop in Auburn, NY which you can read about here.  As I have also posted in the past my family are pretty big baseball fans and this year we decided to make a little detour before heading home to visit the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

Cooperstown

This truly is a baseball fans paradise.  The hall of fame sits right on Main Street and is surrounded by amazing little stores that contain anything baseball related you could think of.  Our first stop of course was the Hall of Fame itself.

HOF Front

The weekend before we arrived had the induction ceremony for the new 2015 class that included four great players.  Craig Biggio, Randy “Big Unit” Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and John Smoltz.  The Hall of Fame has three floors with some really great memorabilia, history, interactive exhibits and even a loop of the classic Laurel and Hardy sketch “Who’s on First”.  We spend a good two hours checking everything out but to be honest we could have been there all day there was just so much interesting history to see.

HOF Yankees

The day before we visited the Hall of Fame we had actually arrived in Cooperstown in the late afternoon.  After checking into our hotel and a quick rest in the room to recharge, we headed down to Main Street to check out all the stores and attractions that filled the town.  Were there any penny machines?  Oh you bet.  I had done my usual research before our trip but found that there were a couple of machines that had seemed to move around from store to store over the years.  Most of the machine notes hadn’t been updated in over a year or two so I didn’t know if they would still be there or not.  Luckily they were still in their most recent locations and weren’t too hard to find.

Yastrzemski Store

First was the Yastrzemski Store.  This wasn’t a big place but did have some nice little souvenirs.  The penny machine was located inside the front door to the left.

NY - Yastrzemski Sports Machine

The machine worked very nicely.  It cranked smoothly and made almost no noise which I wasn’t used.  The designs came out very nicely and of course were baseball related.

Yastrzemski Sports

The 4 designs included: I caught this in Cooperstown NY, Peace Love Baseball, No plate like Home Plate, and Abner Doubleday the Father of Baseball.  We continued walking along Main Street checking out other stores when they peaked out interested, then crossed the street and started to head back.  Eventually I came to the next potential penny machine location in the Pioneer Sports Cards store.

Pioneer Sports Store

The machine was located towards the front of the store but was in among a lot of other things handing all around it.  For some reason I didn’t see it when I first walked in and ended up wandering around the entire store until my father thankfully pointed it out.

NY - Pioneer Sports Cards Machine 01

Now this machine is a 4 die model.  However as you can see from the Marquee in the picture above one of the designs is covered up, and there is also a note right above the handle stating that one of the designs doesn’t work.  I had read about this online and initially was going to try pressing it anyways, but once I was there I didn’t want to run the risk of damaging the machine.  So I only pressed the 3 known working designs.

Pioneer Sports Cards

The designs were: Doubleday Field, Play Ball and Sand Lot Kid.  Each penny also included Cooperstown, NY in the designs.  I was a little disappointed at not being able to acquire the full set but I’ll be on the look out for it online or maybe at a penny trading session with my fellow TEC members at a future get together.  I was able to find a picture of the fourth design through a quick google search.

Pioneer Fan Penny

It’s a pretty nice design and would have made a nice additional to my collection but sometimes it’s just not meant to be.  I’ll keep my eyes open and I’m sure at some time I’ll be able to find it.  I may even send a letter to the store in a few months to see if the machine is fixed and hopefully they will help press it for me.  It never hurts to ask.

After a nice long weekend trip of visiting family and indulging in some baseball history it was nice to get home.  I’ve already catalogue these new coins and have some other adventures scheduled for the next few weekends.  The end of summer is quickly approaching and I still have so many places to visit.