August 21, 2017

Show Me the Money: Taking a Tour of the U.S. Mint

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If you’ve ever told your kids that money doesn’t grow on trees, then why not show them where money really is made. The U.S. Mint makes every U.S. coin in circulation and has a visitors center and tours Monday through Saturday at the U.S. Mint facilities in Denver and Philadelphia.

In Denver, you and your family can take a guided tour, which starts on the hour between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Make a reservation as early as possible due to a limited number of available tours. Learn about the various stages of the minting process, from creating the original designs to the actual striking of the coins, as well as the history of the Mint. At the gift shop, pick up coin sets and various coin-related souvenirs.

There’s quite a lengthy list of items that are not allowed inside, including purses, strollers, backpacks and food/drinks, so leave these items in your car since there is also no storage area inside the building. You also may not take photos inside the building.

In Philadelphia, you can take a self-guided tour and no reservations are necessary. Here too you can see the coin production process, and also check out exhibits and video stations to learn more about the Mint and its history and current programs. The tour takes about 45 minutes and you must show a government-issued photo ID for security purposes.

You’ll be able to see the coining operations from 40 feet above the factory floor and watch as copper and nickel are fed into the coin presses. In colonial days, coins were made by hand in Philadelphia. Today, one million coins can be produced in just 30 minutes.

In Washington, DC, there are no production operations, but you can stop by the sales kiosk in Union Station (50 Massachusetts Avenue NE) or the sales counter at headquarters (801 9th Street NW) to check out the latest commemorative and annual coins for purchase, as well as collector maps, popular new quarters and a variety of coin jewelry.

While there are U.S. Mint facilities in San Francisco, West Point (NY) and Fort Knox (KY), there are no tours of these facilities due to space and security limitations.

The U.S. Mint has a great section online that’s just for kids called H.I.P. Pocket Change where kids can learn about coins currently in circulation, commemorative coins and how a coin is born. Your kids can also learn more about coin collecting and even find a local coin club in your area.

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