Thursday, January 18, 2007

The US Mint, Denver Co

As soon as I realized we would get to be in Denver, I wanted to take the kids to the Mint to see them making our money. I was so excited and got online right away to make our reservations for a tour. We got in at a good time (9am) and were set to enjoy a nice morning in downtown Denver and we would get to see the mint. WOOHOO

Well, have you ever had one of those things that you are so excited about turn out to be just a nightmare? Well, this was one of those things. It started out great, we were up early and I had read the directions online and was ready to tackle driving in downtown Denver. I was able to use the hotel business center to print out our reservation passes and we were set! We drove straight to the mint without missing even one turn. Yeah, I'm proud!!!!

But hmmm, where do you park? Um, let me drive around this block here and see... "oh there's a lot"! But as we sat waiting for a LONG time to enter the lot I realized that they were triple and quadruple parking the cars, so when someone came to get their car, they had to move ALL the cars in that area to get to it. We weren't budging, and we had to check into the mint a minimum of fifteen minutes prior to the tour. So I was able to back out of there and look for another lot, further away. Mind you it was about 6 degrees outside, but hey we were used to it by now. I drove around, nothing.... drove further.... nothing... Got a spot! HAPPY DANCE, everyone out of the car, we have to run.... then I hear a voice.. "you cant park there, that is reserved, something I would have known if it weren't for the four feet of snow blocking any signage. Everyone back into the car... were sooo late by now! But the gentlemen at least pointed me to another spot that I could park in. So we drove over there and parked. I had to prepay five dollars, which I didnt have and so the mad scramble for change in the car began. We got it! So then we filled the darn machine with our change and off we ran, slipping and sliding all the way!!! Im running, yelling, grumpy and stressed at this point. We were freezing cold and we had to run three and a half blocks to get to the gate. Im so darned incontinent at this point that Im practically wetting my pants with every stride! UGH!!!

So we make it there. "Sorry lady but yo have to wait until the 10am tour." Geez, Louise!!!! So luckily there is a gift shop we can go into to keep warm. Now, I may be spoiled, but I am used to the gift shops of governmental tourist spots as being really nice. They usually have marble here and there, nice people in vests to help you, a lot of cool souvenir stuff that you remember from when you were a kid. But this wasnt quite like that. This was literally a trailer parked next to the mint. It has strange stuff to buy and a saleslady who pretty much wanted nothing to do with smiling at us. Im sure she is used to people coming in to keep warm, so I get it. In the 30 minutes that we waited in there, we ended up finding some fun stuff to bring home, and a gift for my brother. Maggie broke a piggy bank by dropping it, which I had to then pay for. But we were warm at least and we would all be happy once we were in the mint and getting to enjoy all the cool things inside.

Finally we had to line up outside the gates, but because we missed our reservation time, we had to wait until everyone who had a 10am reservation was let in, then we could go in. It was just so cold! But finally we got to enter through a LOT of security. The guards got a kick out of my kids simply not knowing how to do the whole security check thing. But I guess they really havent ever done it before. We havent flown in years and they probably dont remember the last time we did. One guard was laughing because GD walked around the metal detector and was marveled by all the machines. It was pretty cool to them!!!

Once inside the fun began!!! fifteen minutes of pointing to machines that you couldnt see what they were doing and a nice lady trying to explain it all. We were surrounded by really cool stuff that it turns out, you REALLY can not touch!!!!

Inside I was just laughing. I thought this is such the example of one of those days filled with good intention that is just such a bust, all you can do is laugh! We did learn some cool facts about coins and GM is now more excited about collecting all the state quarters and the new Presidential gold dollars that start this Presidents Day, so it was all good in the end!

Until we marched back through the cold to our car only to find a ticket on it. Apparently way beneath the snow there was a sign that said it was for monthly parkers only. How a person is to know this I have no idea, especially when the number sticking up out of the snow had a money slot on the big $5.00 per day sign.

What I will do to get my kids to see something cool!!

By the way, no pics because you cant take a camera to the mint. But Im sure you can just imagine how lovely we looked! LOL

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