3 Mar
2014
Posted in: travel
By    Comments Off on Souvenirs for Children: Elongated Pennies

Souvenirs for Children: Elongated Pennies

Elongated Penny Souvenir - Craters of the Moon

I’m not a fan of souvenirs when we travel. I don’t require t-shirts, stuffed animals or shot glasses from each spot we visit to remember our travels. My children, however, do like to bring something home from our adventures. Most times they’re happy enough to collect maps, brochures and junior ranger badges from various national parks, but we do have a favorite souvenir.

Souvenir Penny Collecting Book

Three years ago we were traveling in Washington state and staying on San Juan Island. We were wandering the aisles in a gift shop and came upon an elongated penny collector book and elongated penny machine. Squishing a penny was a quick solution to our need for souvenirs. For 51 cents, the kids could each not only have their own souvenir, but could each take part in making their souvenir. Each child picks the design he/she wants for their elongated penny, puts the two quarters and penny in the machine, pushes in the money and turns the crank to squish the penny. We purchased a collector book at the shop, not realizing how much we would actually add to our small collection.

When we returned from Washington, I discovered pennycollector.com, a website dedicated to elongated coin collecting. I had no idea squished pennies were like stamps. There are themed coins to purchase, traders and even limited edition coins. My favorite feature of the website is being able to find locations for elongated penny machines based on where we’re traveling. It’s a scavenger hunt for the kiddos to find the machines in gift shops, visitor centers and museums. They’re always excited to find the machine tucked into a corner or near an entrance/exit. Most of the machines we’ve found are manual and have a hand-crank to squish the pennies but some are push-button automatic.

Souvenir Penny Machine - M&M's World, Las Vegas

We always have a stash of quarters and pennies in our vehicle for traveling and have almost 90 unique designs in the collection now. The collector books take up hardly any room for storage, while still being a memento the kids cherish. We travel by SUV when we vacation, with limited space since there are six of us. Elongated pennies easily fit in a wallet or in the glove compartment.

Opened Souvenir Penny Collecting Book

Our favorite vacation spot for penny collecting is Disneyland.  A map is available at Disneyland City Hall on Main Street, U.S.A. to make finding the machines easier. There are several locations throughout both parks along with a couple of machines that squish quarters, not pennies. The souvenir penny machines at Disneyland have the added bonus of being themed for whichever land they’re located in. Disney-themed elongated pennies and character autographs quenched my kiddos’ need for souvenirs without spending lots of money while we were there.

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