I visited the U.S. Mint in Philly on Saturday, July 25, 2009 and found it to be less than I expected but not a waste of time. There was very little hassle getting in as long as you remember to leave your cameras and cell phones in the car or leave them outside with someone in your party. If you have nothing on the list of banned things (cameras, cell phones, knives, guns, explosives) you walk right in past the door guard and through the metal detector. Once inside you go up two escalators to get to the self guided tour through the gallery overlooking the floor of the Mint. The exhibits in the tour are dated and could use some updating. Most of the televisions that are supposed to show videos explaining what you are looking at are broken, so you are somewhat on your own. The windows in the gallery give you a bird's eye view of the operations taking place on the floor of the Mint. One thing to note: if you go on the weekend, do not expect to see anything happening. This is a US Government facility, most of the Mint's employees do not work on weekends. There was not a single person on the Mint floor and none of the machines were producing coins. If you want to see the Mint in action, go during the week. My sons and I are coin collectors, so it was interesting for us even though there was little happening.
Once you walk through the gallery and are finished the tour, you go down another escalator to the main lobby where you entered. There is a gift shop which is fairly nice but expensive. The gift shop does offer some numismatic products such as the current year's proof and mint sets and some specialty sets. I purchased a set of 2009 silver proof quarters while there. I was somewhat disappointed by the limited numismatic offerings in the gift shop.
Overall, most will find it mildly interesting, more so if you visit during the week while something is happening. If you are a coin nut, like me, you will find it very interesting. Kids who are not into coins will likely find it a bit boring. It is, however, worth a visit if you are in Philly.
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