Port Orleans French Quarter & Riverside Resorts – Lake Buena Vista, FL

Click here to see my YouTube channel video on these machines
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Years ago my wife and I had decided to take a last-minute trip to the most Magical Place on Earth.  This was out of the ordinary for me as I’m always much more of a detailed pre-planner.  We only had a few resorts available to us at the time, but we wanted to stay somewhere we hadn’t been before.  Port Orleans French Quarter was the one we decided to book and to this day we will talk about how much we loved that resort.

All this time later I wanted to make another trip back and just walk around the resort and see what has changed.  Plus I figured I can also go check out the related sister resort Riverside.  The French Quarter resort opened in May of 1991 as is themed like New Orleans during Mardi Gras.

After I parked my car I headed inside the French Quarter resort first and wandered past the registration area.  Nearby is the Jackson Square Gift shop.

As with pretty much every other resort gift shop it has the same merchandise with not too much variance.

Towards the back of the store near where the coolers are with soda and other refrigerated snacks is where I came across the first penny machine.

The penny set available here included images of Mickey playing the Trumpet, Donald with a Trombone, and Jester Goofy.  We were going to finish up our visit back at this resort, but decided to head over to the Riverside part of the resort for quick visit.

The more scenic way over to the resort would be to walk but this is a quite a long hike, and with our younger daughter with us we opted for the air-conditioned car.

The Riverside resort is themed after the American South along the Mississippi River.  It opened less than a year after the French Quarter in February 1992.

The large lobby and registration area really transform you into the deep south.  The staff has that wonderful southern charm as well and as the Disney saying goes welcomes you home.  Located in the registration area are the next two penny machines we came across.

The first machine has three designs with images of the Prince from Snow White, Princess Jasmine, and Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse.

Only a few steps away on the opposite side of the large window was the second machine.  Unfortunately when we visited this machine was out-of-order, but thankfully for my collection I already acquired these coins on my previous stay here.

The set of pennies from this machine (when working) have designs of Grumpy Dwarf, Spaceman Mickey, and the Wicked Queen from Snow White.

Just across from the registration area is this resorts gift shop known as Fulton’s General Store.

As you walk into the gift shop you will find the next penny machine.

The penny set available at this machine are all about your friends from the Hundred Acre Wood.  Tigger, Winnie the Pooh, and Eeyore.

At the back of the General Store is the fifth and final machine currently available at the Port Orleans resorts.

The last set of pennies has designs of Classic Mickey Mouse, Sleepy Dwarf, and Goofy with a Swimming Tube.  With all the coins pressed we headed back outside to take a look around.

This resort has a few different dining options and one of them is the Riverside Mill Food court, and the above picture is of the outside of that building.  The raised boardwalk pathway around the resort is a fun way to take in the entire atmosphere of the south.  After aimlessly walking around we went back to our car for a quick stop back at the French Quarter resort for a special treat.

In the Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory is the main food court for the resort.  They have items known in New Orleans like Po’ boys, Gumbo, and Jambalaya.  For dessert there is my daughters favorite straight from Tiana’s Place in The Princess and the Frog, beignets.  Fried squares of dough covered with powdered sugar just can’t be beat and was a nice ending to our staycation.  My daughter’s reaction below explains just how we felt about those beignets.  Happy collecting.

Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Lake Buena Vista, FL

Click here to see my YouTube channel video on these machines
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Over these last few weeks as I’ve been checking out the different resorts and pretending I was staying for a short vacation there was one resort on the list I was really looking forward to.  I’ve stayed at a lot of the different resorts but one has always been on my bucket list but with my usual vacation budget could probably only stay there for a night or two.

My previous trips to the Grand Floridian usually amount to a quick scan as the monorail rooms passed on our way to the Magic Kingdom.  To be honest I hadn’t actually planned to visit this resort this soon but my wife’s birthday was quickly approaching and I decided to splurge for her to get a morning spa treatment.  There are a few different locations on Disney property with a Spa but I could think of no better place to go all out than the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.  Plus this would give me a chance to wander around and see what they had to offer.

This resort is just simply magnificent to look at, and the exudes luxury.  It opened it’s doors in June 1988 and was themed as a Victorian era beach resort.  This is one of the Deluxe hotels on property and has the AAA Five Diamond award-winning restaurant called Victoria & Albert’s.  As I mentioned above this on the monorail loop and makes for a quick trip into the Magic Kingdom.

If you are staying here and want to visit one of the other parks, or Disney Springs there is a bus stop just beyond the main entrance where the registration and lobby are located.

While you wait for your bus to arrive be sure to use the penny machine located in this area.  If there are a lot of people waiting for a ride this can get a little congested.

The designs available in this first set of pennies includes: Mickey in a Tuxedo, Winnie the Pooh & Tigger playing in a Flower Patch, and the Siamese Cats from Lady & the Tramp.  Turning around I headed back inside the registration area and you just can’t help but be overwhelmed this main building.  There is a large lobby area in the middle, and if you are lucky you can enjoy a pianist playing, or maybe even Cinderella making a grand entrance down the stairs.  Near the bell services area are a set of restrooms which also is near the exit to a restaurant called 1900 Park Fare.

This is usually a buffet style character meal with a rotating cast of characters including Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Alice in Wonderland and the Mad Hatter.

In this side hallway where the exit is located you can find an additional pressed Penny and Quarter machine.

The quarter machine has a cute set of coins that are part of a numbered set called “Friends”.  The designs include Mickey Donald & Goofy, Mulan & Mushu, and Pumbaa Simba & Timon.

The second machine here has three images pressed on pennies that include: Gus & Jaq from Cinderella, Alice, and Prince Charming.  The final machine available at this resort is up on at the second floor lobby.  From the exit of 1900 Park Fare you can either take the elevators or the grand staircase on the opposite side of the lobby.  Once upstairs you get a wonderful view of the main floor, and the beautiful chandeliers.

On the second floor there are a few different type of stores available, and Mizner’s Lounge if you need a stiff drink.  If you are heading out to the monorail station to head over to the Magic Kingdom, beside to check out the penny machine that is located just before the doors leading outside.

One of the dates 2017 pennies is available at this machine along with images of Mickey’s Face, and Pearl from Finding Nemo.  With all the coins visited and collected I wandered a little more around the grounds of the resort and was just really impressed with this resort.  Some day hopefully I can scrounge up enough to stay here for at least one night (but hopefully longer) so I can really enjoy the benefits of this location.

Happy Thanksgiving 2017!

As the years go by I’m always amazed at just how quickly times seems to fly by.  At lot has happened this past year for my family with a big relocation move, and adjusting to a new city and state.  My family has been enjoying our new surroundings and I’m thankful they were willing to partake on this big change with open minds and open hearts.

Photo credit: StudioTwelve 28

A special Thank you to everyone out there reading this.  I’m always thankful for all of you that come back week after week and follow my adventures as I aimlessly wander around trying to find pressed penny machines.  Keep all those comments and messages coming I love hearing from all of you and always enjoy answering any questions you may have about the hobby.

The above pressed penny is in my collection (somewhere) but I just couldn’t find it for some reason.  But the image above is from StudioTwelve28.com that has a wide variety of special occasion designs available.  I have quite a few of their coins in my collection and use them quite often for gifts and special thank you.

Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!!

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.

Nightmare Before Christmas Penny Set – Days of Christmas Store in Disney Springs

Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away and Disney has definitely started helping people in Florida get into the Holiday spirit.  It’s still a little strange to be walking through the theme parks with fake snow falling from the rooftops and Christmas trees everywhere you look but I’m still wearing shorts and a t-shirt with mid-70 degree weather.  This is going to take some getting used any.

Of course Disney also has some places that celebrate the holiday’s year round including one store in Disney Springs called the Days of Christmas.  This place is almost always very busy regardless of the time of year.  People just really love Christmas and who can blame them.  While working today I got a notification that a new 8-Design penny machine was just released and located in this store.

Inside is the biggest selection of Christmas ornaments I have ever seen, and they are Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars related.  Some can be customized which is fun to watch the cast members with steady hands working endlessly on these special souvenirs.

The dated ornaments with the year listed on them are always popular with people commemorating their trips.  I’ll admit I am one of them as well.  Towards the back of the main store is another room that has some clothing, Santa hats, and other souvenirs.  This is where I found the new machine just near the door.

I’m not sure if I’m surprise or not but this was another 8-design penny-sized token machine.  These have definitely become the popular option for new machines of late on Disney property and even Universal.

I had to double-check on some of the characters as I didn’t initially remember all their names.  This is a pretty cool set and I’m sure this is a first appearance in coin form for a lot of these characters.  The designs include images of: Jack Skellington, Sally & Jack in the moonlight, Zero, Oogie Boogie, the Mayor of Halloween town, Sally with a veil, Jack clasping his hands, and Barrel.

As usual I have not intel on whether this is a temporary machine or not.  But since this store is holiday themed all year round, and does include quite a bit of Nightmare Before Christmas merchandise I think it’s a same assumption that this machine will be around for a while.  This is a very popular movie, and people really love these characters so I’m sure this machine will be very popular.  Make sure to get your set as this is definitely a nice additional to any collection.

 

Silver Screen Collectibles – Universal Studios Orlando

I’m going to try my best and start keeping everyone informed on new Penny machines that become available throughout the Universe Studios resorts.  I must be a glutton for hard work and long hours.

I’ve always been a Disney Fanboy at heart, it’s my favorite vacation spot and now that we live in Florida I had a Disney annual pass within hours of crossing over into the state.  I would never say I get tired of Disney as it’s a true passion for me, the movies, stories, characters, parks, resorts and pressed coins are all things I’m completely obsessed with.  But Orlando is the Theme park capital of the world so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to spread out a bit and see what others may be interested in as well.

My last trip to Universal had been earlier this year during a quick trip (at that time) down from Jersey to Florida doing some house prep before our move later that summer.  I raced through both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure trying to document all the machines and jump on a few rides in between.   After almost 6 months since my last trip I thought it would a good time to check on if anything had changed.  As luck would have it I found a new machine.  Shortly after you walk into Universal Studios you come across a store called Silver Screen Collectibles which in the past primarily specialized in Betty Boop merchandise.  However more recently an area of this store had changed over to a small little cat.

Hello Kitty seems like a strange choice, but even though the picture above doesn’t show it that place was pretty packed with people later on in the day.  Must be more popular than I thought.

As with a lot of new machines I’ve been coming across lately this store has a new 8 Design penny machine.  Touch screen and just like the other machines it supplies penny sized zinc tokens.

Now as you can tell from my above ignorance of Hello Kitty’s popularity I really have no idea who any of these characters are.  But I’m making an educated guess that they are all part of the Hello Kitty universe.  Each coin does list the name of the character and my daughter thinks they all “look soooo cute”.  So I’ll take that as a stamp of approval on this new set.

With all the Hello Kitty merchandise in that store I don’t see this machine leaving any time soon but you just never know.  I’ll keep checking back at these parks to make sure and document any more new machines.

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Click here to see my YouTube channel video on this machine

Old Key West Resort – Lake Buena Vista, FL

Click here to see my YouTube channel video on these machines
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Over the years when I would come down to Florida to visit Walt Disney World I always tried to stay at a different Disney resort.  Each of the resorts has their own unique theming and experiences.  It was always on my so-called Disney bucket list to try to stay at all the resorts at least once.  Now as anyone that has stayed on property at a Disney resort knows they can get a little pricey making that type of task potentially out of reach.  Since we have moved to Florida I would still like to mark this off my list as some point, but for now I’ll just stick to driving over and visiting each resort for an afternoon.  With 20 plus resorts this should keep me busy for a while, now I just need to figure out where to start.

Since we are on the topic of places on my bucket list, Key West is pretty high on that list so I figured why not check out Disney’s version of this intriguing locale.  Old Key West Resort was the very first Disney Vacation Club Resort and opened in December of 1991.  You do not need to be  DVC member to stay here, but since the rooms are either a Deluxe Studio, or 1 , 2 or 3 Bedroom Villas (including a kitchenette) these can get a little pricing if not using your club member points.

You can see by the above picture that the style of this place is very Key West, at least from what I’ve seen on TV and in vacation magazines.  There is just a very calming feeling that washed over me as I walked around this resort.  It was pretty quiet, and everything seemed to move at a nice leisurely pace.  Now this could be due to my visit being during the week in the early afternoon, but still it was really a nice environment to enjoy.

There is plenty of waterfront space to be entertained by.  Some of the Disney resorts used to have boats you could rent which looks to be the case here, but during my visit there were none available.

Olivia’s Cafe is the main table service restaurant here serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with a Key West flair.

The pools here are really nice and the kids area is themed like a giant sand castle.  When I visited they seemed unusually quiet and not much activity but I’m sure most days this is not the norm.

Back towards the main entrance to the resort is the Conch Flats General Store.  Really just their souvenir / gift shop.  My daughter always thinks these are her personal toy closet, and I usually have to drag her out even though they have pretty much the same stuff all over the place.  There are a few unique Old Key West items found here like luggage tags, coffee mugs and t-shirts.  Directly across from the General Store is the main registration building.

Inside this building the interior is a lot of wood paneling and gave me a very nautical feel.  There was an area to the far end with little chairs and Mickey cartoons for the kids to watch while their parents get checked into the resort.  On display is also a model of a Disney Cruise ship which I will admit I looked at for a least 10 minutes, it was very incredibly detailed.  Also in this area were two pressed coins machines.

The first machine was an older model which you can tell by the marquee.  The penny designs available her included Abu from Aladdin, Iago also from Aladdin, and the Disney’s Old Key West Resort Logo.  If you make a 180 degree turn you will come face to face with the second coin press machine.

This second machine only has one design available and pressed on a quarter.  This type of machine automatically starts to press your quarter as soon as you slide the required coins into the machine.  These used to be more common, but have been getting replaced with newer versions containing 3 designs.

This design is another resort special and has Pirate Mickey with a Parrot on his arm with Disney’s Old Key West above him.

My first adventure of casually visiting  a resort and checking out what they have to offer was a lot of fun.  Plus it gives me an excuse to collect even more pressed coins.  I’ll keep visiting the different resorts from time to time and will be sure to bring you a long.

Saratoga Springs Resort – Lake Buena Vista, FL

Click here to see my YouTube channel video on these machines
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When my wife was pregnant with our first daughter we went on a babymoon which I still think is strange.  However a doctor prescribed vacation wasn’t something I was going to turn down so we tried to pick someplace within driving distance but still someplace different that we hadn’t been to before.  After a few nights of online searching we eventually decided on Lake George in upstate New York.  Along the drive up there we made a stop in Saratoga Springs to grab some food and were amazed with this little town.  Everything about it seemed to have popped up around the horse track. It was a quaint place to visit and we ended up spending more time there than we originally planned.

When I was trying to figure out the next Disney resort to explore I saw the Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa and immediately was drawn back to that afternoon in upstate New York.

A soon as you start walking around this beautiful resort the connection to the horse track is clearly apparent.  The resort was originally opened in May of 2004 and was finished over multiple phases.  Currently it is the largest Disney Vacation Club resort.

High Rock Spring Pool is the original main pool of the resort and is situation right near the main registration building.  It was created to look like a natural spring with geysers, trees and other natural features.  Since I wasn’t staying at the resort I couldn’t try out the pool but it definitely looks cool.

Back at the main registration building called The Carriage House you will find the different eateries like The Turf Club Bar and Grill or the quick service Artist’s Palette.  The spa and fitness center are also located here as well and of course there is a resort gift shop.

inside the Carriage House continued the theming which was fun to see all the little details.  The registration area above looked like it should have horses wandering around with their jockeys preparing for a race.

The lobby area in-between registration and the gift shop area was a very relaxing area.  I found myself sitting her for a bit just enjoying where I was, regardless of the fact that I really wasn’t on vacation.  But at that moment it felt like I was.

Just across from where I was sitting was a set of public restrooms, and the penny machine I had been looking for.

There are three designs available here and fit in perfectly with this resort.  The pennies have images of Mickey riding a Horse, Angry Donald Jumping, and Cinderella hugging her Horse.

Part of the charm of the city Saratoga Springs New York was the main street that ran through the center of town with all its little shops, cafes and restaurants.  Obviously this resort couldn’t quite recreate that  setting, but walking around the grounds definitely gave me that tranquil feeling I remember all those years ago.  It may have all been in my head, but this made for a fantastic afternoon even if I was in Florida and not New York.

RunDisney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend – Pressed Penny Set

Click here to see my YouTube channel video on these machines
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This weekend is usually one to stay away from the Walt Disney World property if you are not participating in the Marathon as the crowd levels can be a little above normal.

I am not currently a runner, but would like to participant sometime in the future hopefully if I can get some proper training done first.  Of course I’m always up to get out of the house and run (fast walk) when there is a rumor of a new penny machine.  Of course on Friday I read online that a machine with some runDisney designs had been placed for the event at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

As I mentioned above crowd levels can be a bit crazy for these special events.  Parking at the ESPN Complex can be a little challenging on normal days, and next to impossible during marathon weekend.  My plan of attack was to park over at the All-Star Sports resort, hope on the Wide World of Sports bus and just cruise on in.  To be honest this worked perfectly and my daughter and I were the only passengers.  Then we got off the bus and encountered the crowd.

The information I received about the new penny machine was that it was in a building called the “J Center”.  Thankfully I could see it from roughly the area where the bus let us off.

We walked up the main path with the crowd and I will say the energy of everyone, runners and spectators was really infectious.  People were walking around with their medals and everyone was congratulating each other which was nice to see and partake in.

The above banner was up in a lot of different places.  I wish it was on a t-shirt or something as I really like this design.

Eventually we made our way over to the J Center and entered into the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Health & Fitness Expo.

Lots more people.  This was basically a trade show for health and fitness, which included tech gadgets, trainers, and all matter of things along with lots of free giveaways.  There was a specific path down to the lower level with you heading down a set of stairs to the left, and then coming back up on the right side of the building.

We walked around for a bit and eventually found the machine over by the “up” stairs.

This was not a special cabinet, but rather just a plain wood version.  It was a three design electric model and was pressing the designs very nicely.

The designs were themed around runDisney which was a nice touch.  Images were of Marathon Mickey, an Outline of Mickey’s Head, and the runDisney Logo.  All of the designs include the phrase “Every Mile is Magic” which I think is a really nice touch.

Now there is no way to know how long this machine will be available.  There are other runDisney events throughout the year so it may be available moving forward.  However the J Center is only open to the public when events are taking place.  If you go on a day with no events this building is usually locked up tight.  Make sure you plan ahead if you are looking to try to get a set.

Gatorland – Orlando, FL

A Long long time ago when I was much younger I remember a family vacation to Florida.  Some of our extended family also came down to join in the events, and one of those days my sister and I went to a scary but amazing place with our grandparents.  Recently I decided to take my daughters to this very same place and in the 20 some years since my first trip it was not what I remembered which is actually a good thing.

Gatorland is exactly what the name implies.  Everything gator related can be found within its walls.  As a child I remember big pits filled with gators jumping out of the water to try to grab a snack.  But perspective is interesting how it can change with age and as you get taller.

As you first walk in past the ticket window area there are various boardwalk style pathways that allow you to see different areas with various sizes and ages of gators.  The railings are solid, and secured with fencing to prevent any too close for comfort encounters.  There are also a lot of staff on hand to answer your questions and give you all sorts of information about these creatures.

As with most of the tourist attractions in Florida there are my favorite souvenirs Penny Presses.  This machine was close tot he area with the smaller sized gators.

This set includes images of a Gator head, a Bear, a Flamingo and a Snake.

I was curious how my two girls would take to this place, but they really enjoyed it.  Being new to Florida I figured any safe encounters with gators I’ll chalk up to a learning experience.

Remember that memory I mentioned earlier about gators jumping out of the water to catch a snack?  Well that actually does still happen, but it’s not in the form of a deep pit.  Instead there is a pool of water with some pretty large gators swimming around and as part of a show called Jumparoo they leap out to try to eat pieces of chicken from a wire.

Seeing those large creatures snap up those chicken pieces is really quite a show and my girls were cheering them on throughout the whole show.

One of the extra experiences here is to get your family picture taken with a large snake.  I am not a snake fan so this was not something I was going to do, but nearby was the second penny machine.  I pressed these coins with my eyes always on the snake making sure he didn’t escape from the handler.

This second set of pennies had the following designs: the Gatorland Logo, Gatorland Park, a Gator and a Snake in a tree.  Along the way we found other interesting activities like feeding gators, and a bird aviary.

The gators had already been fed so that wasn’t available when we were in the area, instead we checked out the birds.  Once inside you can buy a popsicle stick covered in birdseed.  Then as you walk inside with all the birds they immediately flock to the stick and start chowing down.  My daughter Hanna didn’t like when they would stand on her hand, but it was still a cute thing to do.

After we finished feeding the birds we made sure none escaped and continued on our pathway and found a little gift shop called the Bayou.  Outside this store was the third and final penny machine to be found inside the park.

The third set of coins is my personal favorite, and are pretty detailed.  Each has a gator as part of the design, but the slogans on these are what make them great.  3000 lbs of Bone Crushing Jaw Power! Oh Snap!, Drop in any time you’re in Florida, Trespassers will be Eaten, and Gator X-ing.  By this time everyone was getting a little hungry so we decided to stop for some lunch.

They have a BBQ style quick service location here with things like chicken fingers, pulled pork sandwiches and if you can believe this Gator nuggets.  We couldn’t resist getting some and trying them.  I really hate to say this but they really do taste like chicken, and my girls didn’t mind them either.

After lunch we checked out a train ride around the park, and also spent some time with a couple large tortoises.  The park also has a nice kids playground and water park-ish area.  Before leaving we had to stop for one last photo-op you can see above.

Other than having gators this place was not at all like I remembered, but was still a lot of fun.  Everyone had a great time, and he entrance fee is pretty reasonable for everything you get to experience.  The penny designs were a nice addition to my ever-growing Florida collection.  These are some really extraordinary reptiles and everyone should learn a little more about them, especially if you like visiting Florida.